The 2012 Year-ender

In much the same manner as we do with the Weekender, the staff here wanted to take a crack at our first Year-ender, so we proudly present The Year-Ender 2012! If you see glaring omissions, please feel free to write them in a similar format in the comments and submit them!

2012

The Rising

Alabama Football – After a snoozer of a National Championship victory last year, they lost at the perfect time of year to get back to the title game again. Nick Saban must be doing something right. (Oh, and don’t forget that it’s down in print for generations to come that he was the 2nd choice to the family alma mater in “The Blind Side”. It’s a charmed existence…)

Notre Dame Football – After being mediocre for years and slipping into being an afterthought, Coach Brian Kelly has elevated the Fighting Irish to the cusp of a Championship in his 3rd season and put them back into the spotlight as the team you either love or love to hate.champ

The NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award – Who would have ever thought that the most hotly contested award of the NFL season would be Comeback Player of the Year?! There are guys with no chance this year that probably would have won 7 out of the past 9 years. Check these storylines:

  • Running Back returning from a torn ACL rushes for the 4th most yards in the NFL, has the most yards in a single season of his career, and makes his second Pro Bowl. Oh, he doesn’t even have a shot to win. (Jamaal Charles)
  • Linebacker attempting to become the first player in NFL history to return after tearing the SAME ACL THREE TIMES! (In three years) returns to play an entire season and have over 100 tackles (2nd most of his career), 1 interception, 2 forced fumbles and 1 fumble recovery. Oh, he doesn’t even have a shot either. (Thomas Davis)
  • Quarterback comes back after four neck surgeries that many thought would end his career. Only he has to make his comeback on a new team with new everything after spending his entire career in one place. And all he does is have the 2nd best statistical season of his career, which is already a Hall of Fame career, and lead them to the #1 overall seed in the AFC. He’s got a shot but isn’t guaranteed to win. (Peyton Manning)
  • Running Back returns from tearing his ACL on Christmas Eve of last season to not miss a single game, tally the most yards in the NFL this season and the 2nd best season by a running back in the HISTORY OF THE NFL!! On the 1 year anniversary of his surgery, he ran for 199 yards and ended just 9 yards shy of the all-time record while leading a team that won 3 games last season to a 10 win season and a playoff berth. He’s also got a shot but isn’t guaranteed to win. But you just have to read more about his amazing recovery here. (Adrian Peterson)

Bud Selig – Once derided (look up stories when he added the MLB Wild Card the first time and when the All-Star game ended in a tie), he has been elevated (by his doing as well as his counterparts) to be far and away the most positively viewed commissioner in all of sports. He’s set to ride off into the sunset in the next few years and do it with his head held high. Congrats Bud.

Miserable People – Misery apparently loves company because there are a lot of folks hanging out with the miserable people at the box office! It takes something pretty special to make a musical be a standout star at the movies, and Les Miserables is that special.

Joss Whedon – Long loved by a cult following for his great characters and dialogue, Whedon finally had his breakout success with the masses as he took The Avengers to amazing heights. Of course his fans have a long memory, so when it was announced that he would be bringing a S.H.I.E.L.D. show to television they quickly launched the pre-emptive “Save Our Show” campaign. It’s good to be Joss.avengers

Giants – There aren’t a lot of team names that exist in multiple sports. Getting one of those to hoist the crown in two sports in the same calendar year is pretty special. Now if only the New York Football Giants would have let Kung Fu Panda suit up for a game, or if the boys from SF would have taught Eli how to grow a good beard, it could have been even better.

The Los Angeles Dodgers – No they didn’t make the playoffs, but they went from the misery of being a child in an ugly divorce, to having Magic Johnson and Co. show them the light and now they are spending like the Yankees of old to get back to relevance.

Nate Silver – As a stat geek I enjoyed listening to Silver discuss his approach to projecting all 50 states correctly in the election. The #1 rule was to ignore all information coming out of both parties and the main media networks since the spin was SO thick….

Johnny Football – A redshirt freshman sauntered onto the college football scene and led Texas A&M to be a force in the toughest conference in college football including beating the undefeated reigning national champion in their house. Then he sauntered through the awards season and became the first freshman to win the Heisman trophy. It’s good to be Johnny.

Andy Murray – While he fell short at Wimbledon, Murray was able to take home the gold medal in his home country against arguably the greatest men’s tennis player of all time and then also became the first Brit to win a Grand Slam event in eons. Way to go Andy.

The Hunger Games – Post-apocalyptic teenage gladiator stories have never had it as good as they did in 2012!!hunger

Miguel Cabrera – I’m pretty sure he’s going to enjoy being the answer to “Who is the last person to win a Triple Crown?” for years to come. Oh, and what does he get for next season? A healthy Victor Martinez as more protection in the lineup. Happy New Year Miggy.

The Los Angeles Kings – Who knows…they could be the last NHL Champion ever at the rate the NHL is going. Or they may get to have a 2 year reign as Champion while doing a lot of fishing instead of playing hockey!

The Next Generation – Rookies in the NFL and MLB have sent the message that the future has arrived and it is bright. With Bryce Harper & Mike Trout tearing up MLB and the QB Triumvirate of Robert Griffin III, Andrew Luck, and Russell Wilson served notice as they all led their respective teams to the playoffs behind rookie records. On top of it all, they all five seem to be quality guys on top of being quality athletes. We’re in good hands.socks

The U.S. Women’s Gymnastics Team – You might have forgotten, but this was an Olympic year and the U.S. ladies did us proud and two bonafide stars emerged in Gabby Douglas and McKayla Maroney. And the not impressed face was the gift that kept on giving.

The U.S. Swimming Team – I don’t know that everyone on the team delivered what we expected, but the teams as a whole surely did. The U.S. dominated the pool, gave us our new swimming darling (Missy Franklin) and gave us the coronation of the most decorated Olympian ever (Michael Phelps).

Usain Bolt – His twitter description of himself reads: “The most naturally gifted athlete the world has ever seen”. And really, no one can argue.

Carly Rae Jepsen – She rode lyrical absurdity and a look that really could make her Zooey Deschanel’s doppelganger to pop stardom. I think we all ponder those lyrics in much the same way Kelly Clarkson did at one of her concerts: “You better call me or leave it alone. There ain’t no maybe to it… and it confuses me. ‘Before you came into my life I missed you so bad.’ Who did you miss, ‘cause you didn’t know them?!”

Simultaneous Possession – It’s always special when a little-known rule can become a late night punch-line. But when a little known rule can end a labor dispute?! That rule is having the BEST YEAR EVER!possession

Baltimore/Washington D.C. Sports – After only having the Ravens to cheer for over the past MANY years, the good folks (good is only being used here for those that don’t work on Capitol Hill…we’ll just call those people “folks”) in DC have been gifted by a spectacular year as the Orioles, Nationals, Redskins, and Ravens ALL made it to the postseason. Kudos to you. Now can KC start getting some of that love?! PLEASE?!?!

Google – Launching Google Fiber in Kansas City has struck terror into the hearts of the Cable/Internet providers here and wherever they expand to next. I mean, Time Warner just upgraded my service out of the kindness of their heart, so you KNOW they are scared! Couple that with the success of the Nexus 7 & 10 tablets and the fact that Apple’s maps debacle gave Google more good press than they could have generated on their own, and I’d say the folks at Google have had a pretty good year.

Felix Baumgartner – He broke the speed of sound without a vehicle!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’m giving him the “Accomplishment of 2012” Award.felix

The Royal Family – James Bond is back and made a BILLION dollars at the box office. The Queen got amazing love by “skydiving” at the Olympics…with James Bond! And there is finally a Royal Baby. The Monarchy is back! (Wait…what do you mean James Bond isn’t royalty?! They’ve knighted him before!)

Lebron James – After feeling beat up and abused for some foolish “decision”s he made, Lebron finally got redemption, his first ring, followed it up with a Gold Medal, and most of the ire has melted away. It’s good to be the King.

Serena Williams – At over 30 years of age, folks were starting to report the end of the domination of the Williams sisters. And then Serena woke up and put together one of the most dominant stretches in tennis history and reaffirmed that we have never seen a more punishing women’s tennis player in history. Two Grand Slams and two Gold Medals were a pretty emphatic statement on that front!

Roger Penske – Penske is a name that is synonymous with auto racing, but a NASCAR championship had always eluded him until this season. Brad Keselowski finally filled that void in the trophy case for Roger this year. Kudos to him.

Beards – James Harden, Brian Wilson, Duck Dynasty… we could go on.

Twinkies – If I predicted on New Year’s 2012 that folks would be bidding hundreds of dollars for Twinkies on eBay, you would have called me crazy (but still wouldn’t have called me maybe). Congrats to Twinkies for beating the end of the world, and manipulating supply and demand in a manner that is usually reserved for OPEC.

Calvin Johnson – As a big fan of Calvin, I was a bit worried when he landed on the cover of Madden ’13. Would the Madden Curse take down the man they call Megatron?! When he broke the single season receiving yards record with 1 game still to play I believe the answer was an emphatic… NO! Congrats to the former Yellow Jacket on making us proud. And before you try to make a case that he broke the record with “garbage time” yards, please read this first.megatron

We Are The Fallen

Lance Armstrong – I’m not sure that anyone has fallen farther than from “7 time Tour de France winner and chairman of world renowned cancer fighting organization” to “hey, wasn’t that the biker that was in the movie Dodgeball?!”

Alex Rodriguez – Injuries, getting benched in critical moments for Raul Ibanez and Eric Chavez, and getting shot down by models in the stands that you are hitting on when you should be WATCHING THE GAME! This is your year Alex Rodriguez!

Tim Tebow – Still one of the nicest guys and most willing to do good in all of sports. But this New York debacle was pretty pathetic…

The Mayans – I’m still convinced that they either ran out of room or discovered beer and that was the ultimate end of the Mayan calendar, but their 15 millenia of fame has officially ended.

The American People – …unless the Mayans were referring to the FISCAL end of the world… then, by golly, I think they nailed this.fiscal

The U.S. Ryder Cup Team – Finally a dominating performance. Finally new young stars for America. And then the final day happened…

Hockey Fans – We weep for you. You deserve better than this. Even you Canadians.

Roger Goodell – I feel like Roger Goodell found out the lesson Jafar learned in Aladdin. “Phenomenal Cosmic Powers… Itty bitty living space”. To say that the referee’s strike and the Saints’ bounty-gate were epic failures (following a less than stellar NFL lockout) would still be an understatement. It’s going to take him a while to recover from this. But he shouldn’t dwell on it long… he’s got thousands of lawsuits from former players to occupy his mind.

America…for Liking Honey Boo Boo – Seriously.

American Idol – So another music competition has stolen America’s heart (The Voice) and your answer involved the name: Nicky Minaj. This may just be what jumping the shark looks like in 2013.

Instagram – You may want to use your head a little more before you try to sneak through major changes to your user agreement…enjoy the drop in subscribers!

The Name Sandy – I’m going out on record that there will be a massive drop-off in the use of the name Sandy for babies born in the northeast United States over the next few years.

Hostess – Mismanagement by leaders. Miscalculation by union. Death of an iconic brand. So long… you big collective group of Ding Dongs.ding

Delta Air Lines – Yeah, it’s a personal vendetta…I’m still bitter…and I’m still avoiding flying you when at all possible. So take that!

Well, that’s what we had time for…I’m sure we missed some, but this should at least remind you of all that was 2012. We here at Random Thoughts Illustrated wish you a Happy New Year!!

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Categories: Sports General

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