The 10 Worst Sports Award Decisions of the Last 25 Years

Todd KaufmannSenior Writer INovember 15, 2010

The 10 Worst Sports Award Decisions Of Last 25 Years

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    Every year, in every sport, a vote takes place for each sport's MVP, the Heisman trophy, Major League Baseball's Gold Glove and Cy Young awards.

    And every year, there's a debate as to who was left out and who should have really won each award.

    We can talk about the Heisman voting until we're blue in the face and the MVP award has always been one of contention for as long as I can remember.

    Most fans will tell you that the MVP award should only go to a player who plays for a playoff contender, but I'm one who will tell you that one player should not be responsible for carrying an entire team, especially in a sport like baseball.

    While we can argue each of these awards until we can no longer stand each other, I figured that I could put together a list of the 10 award winners that didn't deserve that respective award.

    Here are a list of 10 players who didn't deserve their award and my reasoning for putting them on this list.

10. Matt Leinart (2004 Heisman Winner)

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    The argument against Matt Leinart could be made with one simple point, he had a lot more talent behind him than most other quarterbacks in college football.

    One player who should have been considered, regardless of the fact that he was a freshman at the time, was Oklahoma running back Adrian Peterson.

    Most say that the award shouldn't be given to a freshman, but I would argue that the Heisman award is given to the best college football player in the nation for that given year.

    To tell a freshman that although he is the best, he doesn't deserve the award because he's a freshman is wrong, but tradition apparently means more than what the award really stands for.

    Sorry, Matt, it shouldn't have been your year.

9. Steve Nash (2004 NBA MVP Award)

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    There are a lot of NBA fans who believe Steve Nash didn't deserve either of the NBA MVP awards he won in 2004 and again in 2005.

    For the sake of argument, we'll talk about the one he received in 2004.

    He narrowly edged out Shaquille O'Neal, who was traded from Los Angeles to Miami that year. Shaq was the most dominant force on the court and he was a player no one was able to stop.

    Sure, Nash got his team to the Western Conference Finals, but their trip ended there just like it did the following year.

    Nash was good, but there wasn't any question that O'Neal should have been the one hoisting the trophy that year.

8. Jason White (2003 Heisman Winner)

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    Jason White became the first Oklahoma Sooner to win the Heisman trophy since Billy Sims won it back in 1978.

    But here's the kicker. A week before White was awarded the trophy, his Sooners had lost to Kansas State in the Big 12 title game and followed that up with a loss in the national championship game.

    I'm not taking anything away from White, especially not after coming back from two knee surgeries and doing something a lot of people didn't think he could do. But the Heisman trophy is something that is given to the nation's best player.

    That year, there were a lot of fans who believed wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald should have been the one to hoist it.

    But, thanks to four losses from Pitt, he was kept out of the first-place standing.

7. Roger Clemens (2004 Cy Young Award)

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    In 2004, Roger Clemens was providing us with the same kind of media drama we now face with Brett Favre, just without the pictures and creepy voicemails. Though steroids does make up for some of that.

    Clemens was a member of the Houston Astros and eventually ended up winning the 2004 Cy Young Award that year. Although, I would argue it should have gone to Randy Johnson.

    Unfortunately, the media has turned what should be the best pitcher in each respective league, into the best pitcher on the best team in their respective league.

    It's not what the award was intended for and it's not the way it should be looked at now.

    That year, Randy Johnson won 16 games, had a 2.60 ERA, and had 72 more strikeouts (290) than Clemens (218).

    The only difference between the two players, besides the teams they played for, were the innings pitched. Clemens finished at 214.3 while Johnson had 245.7.

6. John Smoltz (1996 Cy Young Award)

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    Through the 1990's, the Atlanta Braves were one of the most dominant teams in baseball. Not only that, but they had three of the most dominant pitchers ever to grace the pitching mound.

    John Smoltz, Tom Glavine, and Greg Maddux. It's what made the Braves one of the most feared teams during that decade.

    However, John Smoltz's Cy Young Award in 1996 should have gone to someone else,

    There was no question that Smoltz was a dominant pitcher that year. He finished with a 2.94 ERA through 253.7 innings pitched and 276 total strikeouts. Not only that, but he played for a better team than that of the runner-up, Kevin Brown.

    Brown's ERA was even more impressive than that of Smoltz's, finishing with a 1.89 ERA through 233 innings pitched, 23.7 innings fewer than Smoltz.

    Besides the difference in innings pitched and strikeouts, I see no reason Brown couldn't have won the award that year.

5. Tom Glavine (1998 Cy Young Award)

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    Before you think I'm hating on the Atlanta Braves, I'm really not.

    Tom Glavine was one of the best pitchers I've gotten to see with my own eyes. He was fun to watch and he was dominant even later in his career.

    However, early in his career, he was downright untouchable. He was as good as they came.

    But, in 1998, there were two guys chasing him for the Cy Young Award that year that might have deserved it more than Glavine himself, one of those was a teammate.

    Second in the running that year was San Diego Padres' right-hander Kevin Brown. He had lost out on the same award two years earlier and was well on his way to deserving a shot at it again.

    He finished with a 2.38 ERA through 257 innings pitched and 257 strikeouts. Numbers that were, across the board, better than those of Glavine's 2.47 ERA, 229.3 innings pitched, and 157 strikeouts.

    Also in the running that year, was Glavine's teammate, Greg Maddux.

    Maddux's numbers were also better than Glavine's, finishing with a 2.22 ERA through 251 innings pitched and 204 strikeouts.

    Yet Glavine still won the award.

4. Reggie Bush (2005 Heisman Trophy)

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    Reggie Bush has come up, once again, in college football conversations. Not because of himself, though he brought it upon himself this time last year, but because of what Auburn quarterback Cam Newton is going through.

    Seems a lot of people want to liken Newton's problems to Reggie Bush.

    The 2005 season was all about Reggie Bush. He was the most electrifying player when he stepped on the football field. He could do anything he wanted with the ball in his hands and not just out of the backfield.

    He could return punts, he could catch the ball as a receiver, and he could take the handoff and go end to end without being touched.

    But that year, there was one player that most thought deserved it more. Texas quarterback Vince Young.

    Young was one of the best players in the game that year, and he proved as much. He got the last laugh against Bush and the heavily favored USC Trojans in the national championship game.

    When it came out that Bush had accepted illegal benefits as a student at USC, he voluntarily gave back his Heisman trophy.

    Maybe it should have gone to Young in the first place.

3. Peyton Manning (2008 NFL MVP)

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    Peyton Manning is one of the best quarterbacks to play the game today, or maybe this decade.

    When you think of greatness in the NFL, Manning is usually one name that gets brought up by most people.

    However, there's one thing that Manning was not, and that was deserving of the 2008 NFL MVP.

    There were a few more players that should have been considered like Arizona Cardinals' quarterback Kurt Warner, Miami Dolphins' quarterback Chad Pennington, and New Orleans Saints' quarterback Drew Brees.

    Warner led the Cardinals to their first playoff birth since 1988 and first division title since 1975. Pennington took a 1-15 Dolphins team and turned them in a division winning, 11-5, team. Brees led the entire NFL in total yards and was tied for the lead in touchdown passes.

    All three guys had better numbers than Manning, but apparently the NFL has different rules when it comes to their "golden boy."

2. Mark Ingram (2009 Heisman Trophy)

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    I know Alabama fans are going to hate what I'm about to say, but you'll have to forgive one person's opinion as unlikeable as it might be.

    Ingram was a great player during the 2009 college football campaign, finishing with 1,658 yards and 17 touchdowns as the running back for the Alabama Crimson Tide.

    But here's the kicker and here's where I have a problem with him winning this award.

    When the award for the best running back in college football was announced, it didn't go to Mark Ingram. Instead, he would finish second to Stanford running back, and Heisman finalist, Toby Gerhart.

    I heard that announcement and immediately figured that there was no way Ingram wins the Heisman if he wasn't even voted the best running back in the country.

    But, lo and behold, I was wrong.

    So, if you have an answer for me as to how you don't win the award for the best running back in the country but can win the award for the best player in the country, I'm all ears.

1. Derek Jeter (2010 Gold Glove at Shortstop)

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    There are no shortages of arguments against Derek Jeter winning the Gold Glove award at shortstop. It's not an award that he deserved to win because he's not exactly the best defensive shortstop in the game right now.

    The choice that a lot of us baseball fans thought was the most logical was Alexei Ramirez, shortstop for the Chicago White Sox.

    Now, while I respect Jeter and the player he's been for as long as he's been with the New York Yankees, an award shouldn't be given to a player for no other reason than the team he plays for. It's the feeling that a lot of fans are getting as to why Jeter received the award.

    It might make the game take a closer look as to who receives these awards and why. Maybe it will make them take a closer look at the numbers instead of giving it to a well-known name.

    Whatever the case may be, Jeter was in no way deserving of the Gold Glove this past season.