Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!
It's the End of the Worst. Sports Year. Ever.

Happy New Year, everyone. I would argue that 2007 was the worst year that sports fans have seen in a long time.

In the NFL, there was the Vick story, which was the Story of the Year. Baseball had the Mitchell Report. The NBA had the Donaghy scandal. Yep, pretty close to rock-bottom.

But even the "good" stories were problematic:

The Pats going 16-0 was historic, but by comparison made the rest of the league look totally uncompelling. (And the fantasy season SUUUCKED.)

The Red Sox became the New Yankees, insufferably successful, poised for a decade of dominance -- sweeping away the Cinderella Rockies in the process.

The Spurs are the NBA dynasty no one seems to care about at all; a Finals vs. the league's marquee player led to the worst ratings ever.

Florida became the first school to win football and basketball titles in the same season, becoming as insufferable as the Pats or Red Sox. (Especially those damn Gator fans.)

(That's partially why I picked the Florida hoops starting five as my "Sportsmen of the Year": In a year that was so awful for sports, their teamwork stood out for what makes sports great.)

In 2007, two fan bases had make-the-rest-of-fandom-want-to-retch years: Boston fans and Florida Gators fans.

Everyone else?
Pretty shitty, actually.

Here's the thing: On the playing field, 2008 sizes up about the same as last year:

*The Pats? Should go 19-0 en route to another Super Bowl title.

*The Red Sox? Will be the favorites to win another World Series (Go Tigers!)

*The Spurs? Will be the favorites to win another NBA title, over KG and the rejuvinated Celtics (at least offering temporary relief from Boston sports dominance)

*Florida football? Should enter and exit the 2008 season at No. 1, led by the reigning Heisman winner.

Yeesh. The common factor: Dominance. Dominance is not good for sports, no matter what the Patriots' TV ratings might be. Fans need to believe there's a chance another team (their team, or otherwise) can win. Otherwise, what's the point?

The only thing that will redeem 2008 is that it can't possibly match the all-time OFF-field lows of 2007: Vick, Donaghy, Mitchell. Can it?

What were your favorite sports memories of 2007? And what are your predictions for 2008?

-- D.S.


kway34 said...

You know Ohio State COULD be returning like 440 out of 44 from their two-deep roster as the defending national champions right?

pv845 said...

This is a good article Dan. I have to say that most of it is likely to come true except for the part about UF being the wire to wire No. 1.

OSU could return their entire team, a BCS championship bowl team. KU return 20 out of 22 starters on a BCS bowl team. USC is always loaded. UF won't return that many players and there is no way that Tebow has this type of season again. Oh year. UF isn't in a BCS bowl this year.

sigszilla said...

Actually, you're the only insufferable Florida Gators fan I know of... Gatorfan < insufferable Masshole.

kway34 said...

My earlier post should read 40 out of 44 on the two deep...damn keyboards...

aikehara said...

Uh, how about the Blazers' unexpected 13 game winning streak?

Mike D said...

my 2008 predictions are
the pats not winning the title,

suns over detroit in 6 in the nba

Boston wins back to back, it kills me to say it.

Florida not winning a damn thing .

The cure for cancer( might as well since I'm dreaming)

David Kippe said...

the faith you have in the Celtics is like the faith people are suddenly putting into the Chargers.

Those teams are still coached by Doc Rivers and Norv Turner.

Unknown said...

"Baseball had the Mitchell Report"? This was a good article, but not a single mention of Barry Bonds? Sure, no one ever thinks about him anymore, but for my money he is THE story of the year.

Newman said...

I agree with much of what you wrote about this being a horrible sports year, but this was perhaps the BEST year for college football. Never before, in recent memory, could you not predict what would happen each week.

Magnolia said...

Yeah, it should be noted Gator fans under the age of 30 are insufferable. I was in Atlanta for the Final Four and most older Gator fans had suffered through too many shitty seasons which humbled them enough to appreciate how spectacular their teams are. Most older fans were very humble and respectful. I wish I could say the same for the author of this blog.

I disagree that 2008 will be more of the same:

-Pats WON'T win the Super Bowl. It too much bad karma for them the whole season. I think the intangibles will bite them in the ass come playoff time.

-Red Sox won't win another World Series soon. They won't be the dominant force like the Yankees were in the 90s. There's just too much competition in baseball (Tigers, anyone?)

-Spurs could rattle off another championship, but I think there's more competition this year than last. Besides, it's the NBA, who cares?

-There is no way Florida is going to be #1 beginning of the season next year. USC, LSU, OSU and Oklahoma will seem like better teams for voters next year than Florida for the preseason polls. I'm guessing we'll have another crazy season like this year, though.

James M said...

It may have been a bad year for American sports fans, but people up in Canada could say it wasn't a bad year at all. Ottawa Senators made it back to the Stanley Cup Final (first since 1915 - & third Canadian team in a row to reach the finals), Canada won its third Gold in a row at the World Juniors (going for fourth in the tournament right now), people caught Sid the Kid fever, a small city in the middle of nowhere hosted an excellent Canada Winter Games (Whitehorse, Yukon), Toronto Blue Jays had a promising season looking towards 2008, Toronto Raptors are playing solid basketball once again, Vancouver is gaining momentum towards the 2010 Olympics, Toronto may be hosting NFL games in a year or two, and probably one of the prouder moments for a lot of Canadians is watching the Saskatchewan Roughriders host a home playoff game in the CFl for the first time since 1989 and then go on to win the Grey Cup against their rivals the Winnipeg Bluebombers (think Green Bay vs Chicago in a Superbowl - David vs Goliath as far as population goes).

It wasn't a bad year at all for us up north.

Unknown said...

I agree with you that it was a shitty sports year. As a Colorado sports fan waking up to terrible news on new years day and all my teams sucking, except the Rockies. But I will never forget the Rockies run, haven't had that much fun since the Avalanche stanley cup run in 2001, the Rockies were definetly the highlite of my '07.

Michael W said...

Not to be Oregon-centric, but... :

- Blazers lost. Great run, but if you look at the schedule, most of that run was at home, and most of it was against teams that don't scare anybody. I think they are in for a season miles ahead of expectations after Oden went down, but that 8 seed is still going to be quite a stretch, I think.

- Oregon hung 56 on South Florida in the Sun Bowl. wtf? How sure are we that Dennis Dixon really didn't play? I don't think anybody saw that score coming.

bird said...

Gee, I guess that January 8 and April 2 of 2007 were very good days for the Gator Nation. Yes, I'm one of those insufferable Gator fans (and proud of it!). On the other hand, I live in South Florida, and the less said about 2007 for the Dolphins, Marlins, Heat, Panthers, the better!

Happy New Year, all!

Unknown said...

Calling Florida the first school to hold both the football and basketball championships is somewhat speculative. In 1951 Kentucky won the national championship in basketball, and beat the No. 1 team in the country in football. The computer polls placed UK no. 1, but there wasn't a poll after the bowl games that year.

Wait and see what USC does today in the Rose Bowl. As for Florida, I think they should beat Michigan before they start talking about next year. It's not the Florida football fans that are insufferable, it's the basketball fans.