20 Atheletes Who Had a 2010 To Forget
We all know that New Years is a time to reflect on the year that was.
We all remember the heroes of 2010, but the disappointments sting just as much as the elation. Sometimes the image of a famous mistake or a bad injury sticks with sports fans far longer than the thrills of victory.
The following looks at those who will not remember this year so fondly— those who cannot wait for 2011 to hurry up and arrive.
In truth, some of the biggest names in sports had a year of regret.
It may have been off-the-field issues, injuries, a critical error, under-performing in general or a combination of all three.
Nevertheless, it seems clear that these 20 athletes cannot wait for a new year and a new start.
Enjoy and let the debate begin!
Rest Of The Worst
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Others (including non-athletes)
Jim Joyce- Ruining a perfect game is one thing, but that mustache is inexcusable.
Gilbert Arenas- BANG! BANG! I shot away my season.
Urban Meyer- I'd retire too before those SEC vultures begin to circle in a few years.
Texas Longhorns- How about that coach in waiting...wait, what?
Dustin Johnson- He almost won two majors this year but does he really want to become the next Jean Van de Velde?
Andy Roddick- Time's slipping away.
Boston Bruins- Choking away a 3-0 lead is bad, blowing a 3-0 lead in Game 7 is even worse.
20. Kyle Brotzman
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I don't mean to "kick" a guy when he's down, so I will just use a bad pun instead.
Boise State in general had a year to forget. Despite all the hype in the world, they were unable to finish an undefeated season and earn a BCS berth against a BCS conference team.
Their biggest win was also dismissed quickly because the Hokies lost the following week to an FCS cellar dweller this season in James Madison University.
Has there ever been a more disrespected or under-valued one-loss season in college football history? The lovable underdog underwent tremendous scrutiny in 2010, deserved or not.
Oh, also the Broncos became the biggest losers in the conference re-alignment lottery. Without Utah and TCU, the Mountain West Conference will be little better than the WAC is now.
Oops...that's a "wide" array of problems.
19. Bruce Pearl
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Okay so Pearl's a coach and not a player. His year was so ridiculous though it was worth the exception.
Let's check the list.
1. Commit NCAA violations.
2. Admit you knew you were wrong, but still play the victim card.
3. Lose consecutive games to Oakland and Charlotte.
4. Wear those orange suspenders.
18. Thierry Henry
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The French soccer team was an embarrassment in 2010.
After cheating to get in with the hand ball that cost Ireland a spot, France proceeded to leave a mutinous egg in South Africa.
Striker Nicolas Anelka started the mutiny following a pathetic 0-0 draw to open the World Cup, despite having a man advantage for most of the match.
Then team captain Patrice Evra got into a fight and the entire French team quit practice.
Henry may no longer be the most important French player. In fact, he never started in France's matches in South Africa.
This World Cup will undoubtedly be his last trip to the biggest stage in the world and now his final memories will be being a part of the French team soap opera that embarrassed a country.
His reward for such a sad showing is being relegated to a ceremonial figure in the MLS.
Henry, voted the Greatest Arsenal Player of All-Time, announced he is done with international soccer, but this is not the way he wanted to leave.
17. Alexander Ovechkin/Seymon Varlamov
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This is a big two-fer boys and girls.
The Washington Capitals won the Presidents Cup in 2010, they had the best record and Ovechkin was going to add some spice into the rivalry with Crosby.
Instead, he and his Caps were bounced in the first round by the Montreal Canadians. They could not hold on to a 3-1 lead, even with two series-clinching opportunities at home.
Ovechkin was not alone though, Varlamov got burned in these critical games, so much so that it forced coach Bruce Boudreau to play musical chairs with his goalies.
While Ovechkin is an amazing player, he cannot look at 2010 fondly.
Not only did his NHL team lay an egg in the playoffs, his Russian team was shellacked 7-3 by Canada (and Crosby) in the Olympics. Then Russia lost again in the IIHF World Championships.
While the Penguins and Capitals still hate each other, the people who argue Ovechkin is better than Crosby are running out of ammunition. The gap is growing not closing for Alexander the Great.
Maybe 2011 will add a little competitiveness to the rivalry, but 2010 certainly did not.
16. Brandon Roy
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The 2007 Rookie of the Year appeared to have the Trailblazers heading in the right direction.
Portland was becoming a trendy pick to become a player in the Western Conference but center Greg Oden's injuries appear to be contagious.
In April, Roy hurt his knee and was out for the rest of the regular season.
He attempted a comeback in the playoffs, but still showed some rust in a game four victory before Portland was bumped and their season ended.
Rushing back, Roy seems to be in danger of making this knee a long-term issue.
As 2010 comes to a close, the potential superstar is still dealing with pain in his knee. While he bravely continues to sporadically play, he always inevitably appears back on the injured list.
Former NBA player Chris Webber, among others, have openly suggested Roy shut it down for the year so he can heal completely. He could potentially be risking his career by testing this tricky knee.
Whether or not Roy is done for the year, 2010 clearly did not go the way he wanted. It held back the progress of not only this phenom but his team.
15. Ken Griffey Jr.
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Ken Griffey Jr. was going to be the greatest baseball player of all-time.
Then the injury bug took away our superstar and the steroids cloud on everyone else demanded the media spotlight.
Griffey's return to Seattle was supposed to be a ceremonial lap around the bases for the legendary figure.
However, his play was so bad he could not even finish the season for Seattle.
Sure, no one expected the Mariner to be anything like he was in his prime. His fall from grace though was handled so messily it cannot help but make you a little sad.
Griffey was kicked out of the starting line-up. Reports surfaced that he had fallen asleep during a game where they wanted him to pinch hit and a few weeks later he simply said goodbye.
On June 2nd, 2010, Griffey simply walked away and ended his career with a quiet exit.
In many ways, Griffey will probably forget the past 10 years, but 2010 was a rough end to a great player.
14. Chipper Jones
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We all remember that Bobby Cox had a great end to his days as skipper of the Atlanta Braves.
After a hiatus, he was able to bring his young ball club into the playoffs before losing to the eventual World Series champion San Francisco Giants.
What people may forget is that this was going to be a fitting end to Chipper Jones.
Jones, 38 years old, clearly wanted to end his career the same time as his manager. However, a bad injury cost him that opportunity and a perfect exit for one of the best Braves of all-time.
Faced with a tough challenge, Jones has declared he will come back in 2011. His determination not to end his career as a broken man may prove unwise next season.
Worse yet, we will never know how Atlanta would have done with the star in the playoffs.
Brooks Conrad, the goat who made critical errors in the series, including three in Game Three, would most likely not have been playing with Jones healthy, and Atlanta might have forever changed the course of the MLB playoffs.
Oh well, San Francisco will not be asking for any asterisks.
13. Stephen Strasburg
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Strasburg came in with amazing hype.
The young kid from San Diego State wowed people with his heater. He worked his way up the minor leagues, all the time being coddled by the Nationals brass.
They wanted to protect their investment.
So much for that idea.
Strasburg had a fun summer but it ended prematurely when he underwent Tommy John surgery. As a result, the prohibitive favorite in June to win Rookie of the Year is likely not going to throw again for Washington until 2012.
We have all seen pitchers with great promise break down. Nationals manager Jim Riggleman saw first hand the self-destruction of Kerry Wood and Mark Prior.
Could Riggleman really make it three times a charm?
Will Strasburg recover and will 2010 be just a blip on an otherwise great career, or will 2010 really be the highlight of a career that held such promise and burned out so quickly?
12. Allen Iverson
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If I asked you where Allen Iverson would be playing basketball at the end of 2010, your answer would probably not have been Turkey.
Yet the Answer saw an amazing fall from grace this year.
Granted, Iverson's stock had been falling for some time. He refused to be benched by the Memphis Grizzlies and missed most of last season to take care of his family.
Still, to believe that a future NBA Hall of Famer could not get a deal anywhere in the United States is mind boggling.
Even the 76ers, a franchise struggling not only to be successful but to create buzz in a city surrounded by successful teams in other sports.
Iverson is still a celebrity, being selected for the All-Star game this year despite his anemic numbers.
For the 76ers to unceremoniously dump Iverson after he left in February to be with his daughter was an ugly end to a relationship that once defined a city and a generation of basketball fans.
In 2009, Iverson stubbornly refused to accept a reduced role.
In 2010 he learned that he no longer has the clout to call his own shots. His NBA career is over.
At least he may have started a new trend. If aging soccer players come to America to get paid by the MLS, we can apparently do the same with our basketball players.
I'm looking at you Shaq!
11. Tony Romo
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Tony, Tony, Tony.
Romo continues to struggle under the bright spotlight of "Big D."
The Cowboys were one of the most disappointing teams of 2010. A team some picked to host the Superbowl is now battling the Redskins for last place in the NFC East.
While Romo is not battling, he can only watch on the sidelines and see the team rallying and picking up their play for journeyman Jon Kitna.
Romo must be wondering, where was this when I really needed it?
Of course, his costly turnovers and miscues certainly did not help. We knew something was wrong in the season opener when Romo foolishly decided to play aggressively and ended up giving the Redskins a big touchdown before halftime.
Whoever the new coach will be in Dallas, everyone is going to be evaluated, including Romo.
Will he settle in and become the star everyone thought he would be a few years ago or will 2010 be the beginning of the end for the Cowboy quarterback?
Either way, do not expect many plays from this year to be on the highlight reel.
10. Jake Locker
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NFL scouts are a fickle bunch.
Everybody loved Jake Locker early in 2010. They projected him to be a high first round pick and a franchise quarterback who would be making plenty of money in his career.
Well, Locker decided to stay at Washington, which appeared to be heading in the right direction under coach Steve Sarkisian.
Then came Nebraska.
We all know that the Blackshirts are absolutely vicious on opposing quarterbacks.
Still, a future franchise quarterback should be able to surpass 4-of-20 for 71 yards.
Locker's decision to stay an extra year cost him millions of dollars as his draft stock has tumbled.
While his numbers are not that bad, he has been passed by other hot ticket names like Andrew Luck, Ryan Mallett and maybe even Cam Newton.
Worse yet, the Huskies had dreams of a Pac-10 title, but ended up 6-6. That regression is hard to ignore.
Even if Locker makes up that money with a great NFL career, he will look back at 2010 and try to quickly forget it.
9. Derek Jeter
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So, let's see.
First off, Mr. Jeter has one of his worst statistical seasons of all-time.
His batting average was at .270 and his on base percentage was a meager .340.
Jeter finally looked human and although his swing adjustments improved the numbers, his 21-game postseason streak of getting on base was snapped in an important game three against the Texas Rangers in the ALCS.
Jeter failed to deliver in big moments and the Yankees were bumped out of the World Series that almost everyone had penciled them into when the season began.
Then Jeter had to deal with a very public and bitter contract dispute. A franchise he helped lead back to prominence in the 1990s and 2000s suddenly were holding a tough line.
A team that makes a reputation on spending money had become a bit more frugal than Jeter had expected.
Although the contract was worked out, it was a bitter pill to swallow for Jeter and his pride.
Also, Jeter announced his engagement and while Minka Kelly is amazingly beautiful, it ends one of the most impressive girlfriend streaks in human history.
It was a rough year for Mr. Jeter.
8. Yao Ming
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Could 2010 really be the end for Yao Ming?
After sitting out the entire 2009-2010 season, Ming returned to the Houston Rockets with a warning that one more injury could mean an early retirement for the Chinese superstar.
Houston tried to minimize the risk by limiting his minutes, but the result was just frustration for everyone.
Then news came that Ming had a stress fracture in his left leg and would miss the entire season.
With so many injuries, Ming has not played a full season since 2003-04. The pressure to bring Chinese basketball to greatness provided a physically demanding schedule and his body has not held up to the scrutiny.
Clearly this latest injury is a blow not just physically but mentally. Can Ming really find the energy and determination to work through this rehabilitation yet again?
2010 may not be the beginning of his troubles, but it could be the end.
Ming is far from the first big man with talent to have injuries derail a promising career, but it is still a tragedy that things had to end like this.
7. Randy Moss
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So remember that theory that Randy Moss can play when he wants to?
Well Moss clearly wanted to play this year, his contract was expiring and he knew he had to go out and prove his worth.
Instead he decided to moan about New England's lack of love and appreciation for the greatest receiver ever.
They decided to cut him and went from a good team to the best team in the NFL. Even when everyone thought this was going to hurt them in the short term, it may have inspired Tom Brady to play out of his mind en route to a potential MVP season.
Moss fell to the Vikings and was meant to revive the team's sagging hopes.
Instead, he got Brad Childress fired.
Then he became involved in the Jeff Fisher/Vince Young feud, pretended to be someone else and called a radio station and disappeared from the gridiron.
This is about as bad as Moss has ever looked. Three teams in one year and his numbers are about as pathetic as they were back in the Oakland Raider years.
Moss may be talented, but much like Terrell Owens, teams must wonder if he is worth the headache.
While Moss has had some regrettable years, this was different. He had pretended to be reformed but instead of being wiser, time has simply made Moss older.
Good luck getting the money you think you deserve now, Mr. Moss.
6. Reggie Bush
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Anytime you become the first ever Heisman winner to give back your trophy, things are bad.
I mean, even fellow Trojan O.J. Simpson gets to keep his Heisman. Bush will forever be erased from the record books and hidden away by Southern California in its trophy rooms and stadium.
The 2005 season becomes nothing but a memory after the NCAA hammered down legislation that not only diminished the long-term perception of Bush's legacy, but hurt the school that he loved so dearly with postseason sanctions.
Combine that with an injury that cost him most of the NFL season and his break-up with Kim Kardashian and things clearly are not going the way of the young running back.
Fortunately for him, 2011 should bring a postseason run by New Orleans. Hopefully Bush can be part of another triumphant run for the Saints.
5. Donovan McNabb
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Imagine if someone sat Donovan McNabb down on January 1st, 2010 and told him the following.
Well first off, the Eagles are going to trade you after going 11-5 last season.
Oh yeah, not only are you leaving the only NFL home you have ever known, but now you are heading to the unstable, drama-filled NFC East rival Redskins.
Good luck handling a team that won four games last season.
Oh don't worry though, you have two-time Super Bowl champion Mike Shanahan coaching you up.
Except he will throw you under the bus for his son, offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, and replace you with the immortal Rex Grossman.
Yep, you are going to end 2010 as a third-string quarterback and your numbers will be the worst of your career.
Oh did I mention coach Shanahan will question your physical conditioning too?
4. Albert Haynesworth
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Oh wait, you say you heard a thing or two about Haynesworth.
Redskins fans expected for their 100-million dollar man to make headlines in 2010, they just thought it would be for his on-the-field actions.
Instead, Haynesworth's very public spat with new coach Mike Shanahan was a soap opera worthy of day time television.
Haynesworth's 2010 on-the-field performance was like a lunar eclipse. It was few and far between but when it happened everyone noticed.
Everyone remembers the performance Deangelo Hall had against the Bears and quarterback Jay Cutler, but it was Haynesworth and his pressure up the middle that forced some of those lame duck passes.
At the very least, his presence took the Bears out of the running game and helped the Redskins gain one of their biggest wins in a tumultuous 2010 season.
Now Haynesworth is sitting on his rotund derriere seeking arbitration for the money the Redskins are holding out on him.
It is pretty obvious that this season was nothing short of disastrous for Haynesworth.
His relationship with Washington is severed but unless the Redskins can find someone willing to pay the large price tag on his head, this situation could get even uglier.
3. Robert Green
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The Hand of Clod, need we say more?
Robert Green became the villain of the World Cup. His mishandling of the ball cost England a victory over the United States and started a chain reaction of poor play that gave the squad its worst performance in World Cup history.
England was a walking soap opera this season and Green became an unfortunate scapegoat for some of those problems and frustrations.
For Americans, it is often hard to understand just how big a blunder this was but Green knows that no matter what he does he will be defined by this moment.
In fact, he never got the opportunity to avenge that mistake. After being benched in the next game, Green was not named to the England squad after the World Cup.
In truth, despite all his great games, the former Hammer of the Year knows that 2010 cannot end quickly enough.
2. Tiger Woods
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Tiger Woods is a winner.
Since he was 2-years old, he was a better golfer than 99% of the world.
However, a Thanksgiving weekend in 2009 spiraled out of control in 2010.
Forget about all the personal issues he dealt with in 2010. The mistresses, the divorce, the media backlash against the Nike ad and everything else is just icing on the cake to his troubles on the course.
Tiger has never gone a season without a win as a professional until this year.
Even with the greatest major line-up Woods could have dreamt of, he failed to convert.
His playground, the Masters, offered some glimpses of greatness, but ended up being a tease.
At Pebble Beach where he lapped the field in 2000, Woods finished fourth but faltered with a 75 the final day after a dramatic 66 the round before.
At St. Andrews, a place where Woods had won twice, the world was left wondering who on Earth Louis Oosthuizen was?
At those three places alone, Tiger had won seven of his 14 majors.
Instead, Tiger lost every major and even lost a big lead in the final round of a tournament that only featured a few dozen players. His loss in extra holes to Graeme McDowell was the icing on a rather sour cake known as 2010.
Oh yeah, he's not even the top ranked golfer in the world anymore.
2010 has changed our perception of the phenom, making the 18 majors record a much more daunting task than originally thought. One thing seems clear, it can only get better from here.
1. Brett Favre
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So let's recap.
Brett Favre had the best season of his career statistically in the Fall of 2009. Then, marching down the field to send his Vikings to a Super Bowl and give the ultimate revenge to the Packer organization, he throws an absolutely ridiculous interception in the final minutes.
The Saints go on to win in overtime and Favre leaves for another off-season surgery.
Instead of riding off into the sunset, Favre returns after ceaseless begging and whining by his coaches and teammates. He proceeds to lead the ultimate disaster that was the 2010 Minnesota Viking season.
Favre gets hurt and misses his first start in 297 games.
He has to deal with an embarrassing sexting scandal with Jenn Sterger.
Instead of looking like the Favre of old, he simply looked old. A battered, beaten, gray-haired memory of what used to be. Overseeing a team that gambled everything on Randy Moss, fired their head coach and lost all the magic that made 2009 so special.
In truth, it probably took a season like this to end the drama within Favre's own psyche. It was the only way he could leave and not be tempted to return for one more try.
It may not have been the ending to his career Favre deserved, but it was the one he needed.