2011 Tank Awards
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The Tank Awards are a sole property of The Sports E-cyclopedia, and are the opinions of Frank Fleming, and are not an official award. Tank award image designed by Liam Scanlan.
Bill Buckner Choke of the Year:
The Texas Rangers twice they were one strike from winning their first World Series in Game 6 only to allow the St. Louis Cardinals to tie and eventually win the game. The Cardinals would go on to take the series in seven games, making Nolan Ryan really sad.
The Village Idiot Award:
Vancouver rioters who set cars on fire and destroyed property as the Canucks lost to the Bruins in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals. The incident gave the city a black eye, and cost Nathan Kotylak a little bit more, as he was photographed setting a police car on fire. Kotylak was a water polo star who lost his scholarship because of the incident.
One Shall Lead Them Award:
Tim Tebow does not care how you feel about him he does not care that he may not have the best tools, but he is going to be out there and he is going to give it his all, and when the game is close it may be his faith or determination he finds a way to win, as the world starts the Tebowing sensation.
Fat Ass of the Year:
Hey Hey Hey its Fat Albert again, and not only did Albert Haynesworth get fatter he got traded and released, and is still collecting on that seven year $100 million the Redskins gave him. Starting the season in New England, not even Bill Belichick could motivate him before he was released and picked up by Tampa where the second half the entire team stopped
Mascot of the Year:
The Bear, he is the animal who delivers the rules and regulations to Bruins fans at the TD Garden. Listen to him of bear the consequences as he don't play any games and has no patience for those who leave the game early or are busy chatting on the cell phone. And if you try to take the Stanley Cup from him there could be trouble.
Worst Team of the Year:
The Cleveland Cavaliers, first they lost LeBron James, then they lost every game over a nearly two month period. The drama started after LeBron paid his first trip back as the Cavs loss to the Miami Heat, they would lose their next eight games after that for a ten game losing streak. After a win over the Knicks they would set a new record for futility by losing a record 26 games in a row.
Overrated Player of the Year:
Nnamdi Asomugha of the Philadelphia Eagles, from the way he was perused during the NFL's brief free agent period you would have assumed Asomugha was the best cornerback in the last 30 years, but once again he has no impact on his team's playoff chances as he has yet to even sniff the playoffs, the Eagles would have been better off with someone on the trenches.
Bust of the Year:
Philadelphia Eagles, labeled the dream team by back up QB Vince Young before the season, the Eagles were easily the biggest disappointment in the NFL as they struggled from the start of the season. Among the inexcusable losses were a fourth quarter collapse to the 49ers at home and a loss to the Cardinals at home. They can finish 8-8 with a win in the final week, but for a team that was seen a Super Bowl or bust it's a big bust in Philly.
Boston Cup Party:
A year after a meltdown that saw them blow a 3-0 series lead, the Bruins survived three seventh games to win their first Stanley Cup in 39 years, culminating with an upset of the Vancouver Canucks, as the Bruins defense made the Sedin twins vanish when the game was on the line.
Rising Star Award:
Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers who may of had the best rookie season a quarterback ever had, setting a record for passing yards set by Peyton Manning. He also scored the most rushing touchdowns by any quarterback in a single season. If he can get better and the Panthers can add more talent there is no telling how far he will go.
Coach of the Year Award:
Tony LaRussa, who won the World Series and retired the next day. For 30 years LaRussa always seemed to get the most of his teams and somehow pushed the right buttons. He leaves the game with the third most wins all-time along with three World Championships, with the one in 2011 being perhaps to most improbable.
2011 Sports E-Cylopedia Star of the Year
He was called soft, his team was called old and the Dallas Mavericks were viewed as a team that could never succeed in the playoffs. However, this April things changed in Dallas, Dirk Nowitzki whether it was the eye of the tiger or the heart of a lion transformed into a different player than he had ever been before. Nowitzki took over games and at times carried the Mavs on his back as they climbed the playoff later. In the second round the Mavericks made a statement, as they dominated the Los Angeles Lakers in a four game sweep. After pushing aside the Thunder in the Western Conference Finals, Dirk Nowitzki wanted nothing to do with the Western Conference trophy. Than in the NBA Final it was Dirk who made the plays when they counted, again he wanted to shy away from the spotlight as he left the court for a moment with himself to contemplate what may have been one of the most gutsy determined individual playoff runs in NBA history.
Most Annoying Person:
Kris Humphries of the New Jersey Nets who spent the lockout enjoying 72 days of wedded bliss to Kim Kardashian, whose reason for fame will never be known in the logical world. The wedding included a TV special and a reality show and turned the journeyman to the most hated player among his peers in the NBA.
Lance Armstrong Inspirational
Athlete of the Year:
Eric LeGrand, who a year ago was carried off the field with a severe spinal cord injury. However, through hard word LeGrand has become a symbol of hope for the Rutgers football program as he has worked games from the booth and even led the team onto the field.
Weasel of the Year:
To New York Mets Owner Fred Wilpon who began the year with a portion of the team for sale and had a deal worked out with David Einhorn, but after a settlement in the Madoff trustee case decided to back out of the deal leaving Mets fans high and dry with no hope anytime soon.
Best Team of the Year:
The Green Bay Packers who in 2010 were beset by injuries but made the playoffs, went on a run and won their fourth Lombardi trophy and 13th overall NFL Championship, as QB Aaron Rodgers showed he belonged among the NFL elite. How did they follow it up by winning their first 13 games in 2011 and earning home field throughout the playoffs.
Game of the Year:
This is what they dreamed of when they created the Chase for the Championship, two drivers on the last day of the season and who finished better won the Sprint Cup. Despite some weather delays it came down to Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards who battled through the final laps as Stewart won the race and the cup in the closest margin in NASCAR history.
Screw Job of the Year:
Manny Pacquiao has earned the title best pound for pound by beating anyone including many who were much bigger than him. However, against Juan Manuel Marquez struggles. The first fight was a draw, Pacquiao won the second fight, and in November he got another decision in his favor, but most who saw the fight agree Marquez should have gotten the decision. Leave it to boxing.
Pathetic Moment of the Year:
Terrell Owens who held an open workout with Agent Drew Rosenhaus, but had no NFL teams interested. I guess this is the fate of a self centered, egotistical, team cancer who suffers a knee injury and hits the wrong side of 35 in the NFL.
Giant Ego Award :
At one time Commissioner David Stern was the best in his business, as he helped the NBA grow into an international sport. However, 25 years later he has become an over controlling dictator who nearly flushed away an entire season when the league is already losing fans, and then he stops deals without giving a reason all while trying to control the players lives from the boardroom.
For the Troops Award:
To Michigan State and North Carolina who staged a game on Veteran's Day aboard the USS Carl Vinson, the same ship that is believed to have buried Osama Bin Laden at sea six months earlier. The game was a tremendous success and gave stunning pictures of the court on the flight deck during a San Diego sunset.
Money for Nothing Award:
Chicago Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano who puts the mental in temperamental has become such a distraction to the Cubs they sent him home the rest of the year after allowing five homers to the Braves in August. Entering the final year of a five year $91.5 million contract in 2012 the Cubs will have to decide to deal with his mood swings or eat the contract.
Underrated Player of the Year:
J.J. Barrera, before the playoffs began he was just a change of pace of the bench from the veteran Jason Kidd. However, during the playoffs he became the Mavs unsung hero as he was a key in their sweep of the Los Angeles Lakers, as his pesky play frustrated Andrew Bynum into one of the biggest cheap shots in NBA Playoff history. Barrera would continue his strong play and was a big part of the Mavs title run.
Miss You Much Award:
The Indianapolis Colts and Peyton Manning: Coming into 2011, the Colts had made the playoffs nine straight years with Manning leading the way by starting every game. A neck injury and all of a sudden Manning was out for the year, and the Colts were flirting with a winless season by losing their first 13 games, leading some to ponder is Peyton Manning able to win the MVP without playing a game.
Injury added to Insult Award:
Ryan Howard of the Philadelphia Phillies who tore his Achilles while making the final out of Game 5 of the NLDS. The Phillies had been to overwhelming favorite to win the World Series with a pitching straff that was the best in baseball, but lost to the Cardinals in the NLDS as Chris Carpenter outpitched Roy Halladay 1-0 in the series finale.
Surprise Team of the Year:
The St. Louis Cardinals were ten games out of the Wild Card at the end of August as even their most diehard fans were thinking about the off-season. However, a strong finish and a collapse by the Braves had them in the playoffs. From there they upset the Phillies, shocked the Brewers and rallied to beat the Rangers to hand the Gateway City its 11th World Series Championship.
New Hope Award:
In March Japan was decimated by a triple disaster created by a massive earthquake that triggered a tsunami and a nuclear meltdown. In July if only for a minute their women's soccer team made everyone feel good for a moment as they upset Team USA in penalty shots to win the Women's World Cup.
Choose Sides Award:
The NHL All-Star Game, which tossed out the traditional East vs. West, or North America vs. the World, and instead put all the All-Stars in a pool and had two captains, chose players like they did when they played after school on some frozen pond.
Stayed Too Long Award:
Joe Paterno spent 60 years at Penn State, and grabbed the division 1 win record, but there was no chance to celebrate as a sex scandal that the school had covered up more than a decade tarnished his entire legacy. Now 85 the school has distanced itself from the legendary Paterno who have some calling for him to be prosecuted for not reporting former assistant Jerry Sandusky to police.
Jail Bird Award:
Lenny Dykstra who a few years ago was called a financially genius by Jim Kramer has now become man who appears to have his next two decades booked. Charged with both federal and state charges ranging from bankruptcy fraud to running an auto theft ring, makes one hop not a lot of people followed Kramer's advice they day he was giving stock tips from Nails on his TV show.
Make it Stop Award:
The 2011 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament was as exciting as ever, but the title game between UConn and Butler was horrendous as neither team could hit water from inside a boat. In the end Butler came up short again as UConn won the final 51-43.