2011 has brought us some great moments, as well as some sad tragedies. We’ve seen records broken, legends pass away, scandals and who can forget Tebow-Mania. This is the 2011 sports year in review.
Robert Griffin III, 77th Heisman Award Winner:
Griffin III snagged the 2011 Heisman honors and rocked the fashion would with his trendy Superman socks (picture). Will Griffin follow in the footsteps of last year’s winner, Cam Newton? Cam is having a sensational rookie season with the Carolina Panthers.
Monday, December 26th, 2011:
Drew Brees became the sole owner of the most passing yards in an NFL season. Brees knocked off Dan Marino and his record of 5,084 passing yards, a record that has stood firm since 1984.
Sunday, December 4th, 2011:
Carolina Panthers rookie and former Auburn sensation, Cam Newton, took the NFL by storm this season, breaking two records. Cam broke the single-season rushing TD record for a quarterback, previously held by Steve Grogan (12) by packing in three TD’s and bringing his total up to 13 on the season.
Thursday, February 10th, 2011:
Ray Allen of the Boston Celtics sinks his 2,561 three-point bucket to go ahead of Reggie Miller as the all-time leader and undisputed three-point king.
Saturday, July 9th, 2011:
Derek Jeter becomes the 28th MLB player to reach 3,000 career hits. He also becomes just the 2nd to do so with a home run (Wade Boggs). Jeter reaches this accomplishment on a day where he’d go 4-4 batting.
The Bad, the ugly and the downright tragic:
Ndamukong Suh stomps Evan Dietrich-Smith on Thanksgiving day and is ejected and served with a two-game suspension. This vial act falls on the shoulder of the Detroit Lions first winning season since 2000.
Penn State and legendary coach, Joe Paterno, choke on allegations of child molestation filed against former Penn State assistant coach, Jerry Sandusky. Joe Paterno resigned from PSU after 46 years. The child molestation trial rages on.
Tennessee Lady Vols head basketball coach, Pat Summitt, is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in late summer. Summit, an eight-time champion has resumed her coaching career despite her tragic illness.
Legendary home-run king, Barry Bonds, was convicted of one count of obstruction of justice after nearly a decade of trials and investigations. The other counts of perjury were nixed by way of a mistrial.
Peyton Manning misses the entire 2011 NFL season, due to multiple neck surgeries. This injury propels the Indianapolis Colts into a tailspin of losses, as they started the season 0-13 and have had their name linked to Andrew Luck more times than Barry Bonds’ name has been linked to steroids.
Ohio State head football coach, Jim Tressel, resigned after the Ohio State football program as a whole had spent months being dragged through the mud for NCAA allegations. The Buckeyes have also been banned from post-season play in 2012.
Oakland Raiders owner, Al Davis, passed away on October 8th at the age of 82. Davis had owned the Raiders since 1970 and was credited for much of their success over the years.
Former Heavyweight Champion and boxing icon, “Smokin” Joe Frazier, died on November 7th, at the age of 62. Frazier’s Philly style and his epic battles versus Muhammad Ali will forever remind us of the true champion Smokin Joe was.
Weeks after winning National League MVP honors, Ryan Braun tested positive for elevated testosterone levels which generally means PED’s. Braun is fighting the allegation, but could face a 50-game ban to start the 2012 season.
Jamaica’s Usain Bolt is disqualified from the mens 100-Meter final at the IAAF world championship, due to a false start.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. is sentenced to 90 days in jail for a domestic dispute that occurred in 2010 involving his ex-girlfriend. Mayweather dodged some serious felony charges that could have locked the champion up for a couple of decades.
Former HOFer, Lee Roy Selmon, died on September 4th, at the age of 58. Selmon was a former #1 overall pick in the 1976 draft. He collected 78.5 sacks over the course of his career, which he spent the entirety of with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
1984 British Open winner, Seve Ballesteros, passed away on May 7th due to a brain tumor. He was 54 years old.
Former Brooklyn and LA Dodger, Duke Snider, died of natural causes on February 27th. Duke was 84 years old.
American aerial skier, Jeret “Speedy” Peterson, was found dead in his apartment on July 25th after an apparent suicide. Peterson was a silver medal winner at the 2010 winter games in Vancouver. He was 29.
Winner, winner, chicken dinner!
The Dallas Mavericks won their first NBA championship in 2011. This collection of older veteran players cam in as the heavy underdogs and beat out the favored Miami Heat, led by LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, in six games.
The Green Bay Packers came into the 2011 NFL post-season as a Wild Card team and they took full advantage of the “sleeper” label, defeating every opponent on their way to Super Bowl XLV. They defeated the favored Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25 and collected their fourth Super Bowl title.
The St. Louis Cardinals won their 11th World Series in 2011. Propelled by the best player in the game today, Albert Pujols, the Cards were able to knock of the Texas Rangers in 7 games.
The Boston Bruins won their 6th Stanley Cup in 2011 after defeating the Vancouver Canucks in a seven-game series. The Bruins goalie, Tim Thomas, was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as MVP.
Novak Djokovic finally proved his worth, as he knocked off Rafael Nadal int he US Open final. Djokvic had fallen short to make headway with the likes of Nadal and Roger Federer in past years.
Tiger Woods finally won a tournament. Although it wasn’t a major and doesn’t put him any closer to catching Jack Nicklaus, a win is a win, and I’m sure Tiger Isn’t picky at this point.
Tebow-Mania has been in full effect. Tim Tebow started his (real) NFL career off at an astounding 7-1 record. All the Tebow critics were kept at bay, while Skip Bayless looked like a genius for the first time in the history of sports reporting. The Tebow-Train still stands at a whopping 7-3. And his fan-base is about as large as it gets. High School kids getting suspended from school for “Tebowing” in the hallways and NBA stars paying homage via Twitter. And this may just be the tip of the iceberg for Timmy and the Broncos.
Albert Pujols scorned the St. Louis Cardinals in LeBron James fashion and signed with the Anaheim Angles for a reported 10-year, $254 Million. Yes, St. Louis fans burned his jersey in the streets.
The NFL Lockout ended after 127 horrendous days of agony and pain. It was the longest of it’s kind in the NFL and hopefully, but unlikely the last. Sports fans rejoiced as America’s number 1 sport was back in action without missing any games.
The NBA lockout last 149 days, and unlike the NFL it caused it’s players and fans to miss games. The NBA picked up on Christmas day with a 5 game selection that almost made fans forget about the 16 regular season games that were lost as a result of the lockout.
Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers jumped over a Kia to clinch his first victory in the 2011 NBA dunk contest, featured at All-Star weekend. This was a huge exclamation point to Blake’s dunk-happy, first NBA season.
The Detroit Lions clinched a wild card berth in the 2011 NFL playoffs. This will be there first playoff appearance of the 21st century. The Lions, led by Calvin Johnson, Matthew Stafford and Ndamukong Suh, have not tasted the playoffs since 1999.
Carmelo Anthony was traded to the New York Knicks on February 22nd. This move paired Melo with Amar’e Stoudemire and looks to shape the growing trend of big stars in large markets in the NBA.
Deron Williams bolted from Utah in a trade that sent him to the New Jersey Nets. The Nets will make their move to Brooklyn after the 2011-12 NBA season and this is yet another move that solidifies superstars playing in big markets.
U.S. Forward, Abby Wambach, scored a goal via her head to tie the USA with Brazil (2-2) in the Women’s Wold Cup. The USA would go on to win the match after goalie, Hope Solo, did a stunning job of defending the net during penalties. USA went on to win 5-3 over Brazil.
Rutgers defensive tackle, Eric LeGrand, was badly injured when he collided an Army kick returner. LeGrand suffered spinal cord injuries and it was though that he’d spend the rest of his life as a quadriplegic on a respirator, but LeGrand fought back. He started breathing on his own and was even able to lead the Scarlet Knights onto the field in a motorized wheelchair to face West Virginia.
The 10 year anniversary of 9/11 was honored and the victims of this great USA tragedy were celebrated at every level of sports, professional and collegiate alike.
The New Orleans Hornets were finally able to accept a trade without NBA commissioner, David Stern, blocking it. The Hornets sent their all-star point guard, Chris Paul, to the Los Angeles Clippers. The Hornets wouldn’t have been able to retain Paul at seasons end and needed a trade in order to get value in exchange for the point guard.
Written By: ANDY FLINT
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