2013 Tank Awards
Visit Our Sponsors
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.
Choke of the Year:
Toronto Maple Leafs
With the Toronto Maple Leafs leading by three goals in the third period of Game 7 in their first round matchup with the Boston Bruins, fans throughout Toronto gathered to celebrate. However, in the final ten minutes the Leafs suffered a stunning collapse, as the Bruins rallied to tie the game, scoring twice with their goalie pulled. The Bruins would go on to the Stanley Cup Finals, as the Maple Leafs post expansion futility continued.
Windbag of the Award:
At one time Mike Francesca was one of the best sports talk show hosts on the radio. However, five years after his split from Chris Russo, he has become a egotistical bloated jerk to his callers, listeners and other colleagues. When a guest calls in he will not let them answer unless he agrees with them and his defense of Alex Rodriguez with his softball interview has taken what is left of his credibility. Francesca even interrupted another show, because only he could break the news of John Tortorella's firing.
Dictator of the Year:
It is understandable that the NFL Commissioner wants to make the game safer, and with a number of lawsuits already filed it is almost required that the league takes steps to end head shots. However, as he has throughout his tenure Roger Goodell has overstepped his authority. As any commissioner, Goodell has too much power and his nitpicking is starting to take fun away from the game as he has now banned throwback helmets. This means no more yearly visits from Buccaneer Bruce and that is too bad.
In Over His Head Award:
When the Brooklyn Nets named Jason Kidd their head coach it was a bit of a stretch, as the future Hall of Fame Guard had never coached on any level and had just retired from a 20 year career. The Nets hired an experienced assistant in Lawrence Frank to help tutor the neophyte coach. However that experiment failed as Frank was fired, while the Nets struggled badly. In one embarrassing moment of many, Kidd was caught asking a player to bump him so he could spill his drink and get a timeout that the Nets did not have. The ploy did not work and Kidd was fined $50,000.
Mascot of the Year:
He haunts the halls of the Prudential Center banging his drum and trying to rally the New Jersey Devils. He has appeared in commercials for Sportscenter, and grew his mustache out to record breaking levels in November. For those reason, the 2013 Mascot of the year goes to N.J. Devil of the New Jersey Devils.
Worst Team of the Year:
Houston Astros and Houston Texans
Houston had a problem all year, as the Astros in their first season in the American League topped 100 losses for the third straight season, as they posted a 51-111 record, losing their last 15 games. In the NFL the Texans were expected to contend for the Super Bowl and won their first two games, and have not won since, losing 13 straight entering the final week of the season, which led to the firing of Coach Gary Kubiak.
Overrated Player of the Year:
Carmelo Anthony may have won the scoring title last season and helped the New York Knicks have their best season in nearly 20 years, but he continues to fail to reach the expectations of true franchise player. Anthony's scoring ability has more to do with his selfishness than his skill and he rarely makes the players around him better. At the end of this season Carmelo Anthony has an opt out and has already expressed interest in joining the Los Angeles Lakers, while the Knicks struggle with at the bottom of the terrible Eastern Conference. It seems only in Melo's mind he is one of the best players in the NBA.
Bust of the Year:
In its annual NBA Preview this website forecasted the Brooklyn Nets as the 2013/14 NBA Champions. I could not have been more wrong. If it could go wrong it did go wrong for the Nets in the first half of the season, as Kevin Garnett, Paul Piece and Jason Terry have not looked washed up, while injury problems continue to plague Deron Williams and Brook Lopez. In addition, their coach Jason Kidd has looked like he is in way over his head.
Happy Trails Award:
Just before the playoffs began, Longtime Linebacker Ray Lewis announced his retirement. The Ravens then gathered and made sure they would send the future Hall of Famer out with a second Super Bowl ring. Lewis' emotionally leadership guided the Ravens since 1996 and his good bye tour would go through Super Bowl XLVII as the Ravens beat the 49ers at the Superdome, allowing Ray Lewis to do one last squirrel dance at the Ravens victory rally.
Rising Stars Award:
The 2013 NBA Rookie of the Year has continued to be a valuable play maker in his second season as the Portland Trail Blazers have been one of the best teams in the early part of the 2013/14 NBA season. Lillard who was picked with little fanfare with the sixth overall pick from Weber State is averaging 21.5 ppg and is on target to be an All-Star for years to come.
Coach of the Year Award:
Just one year after the Boston Red Sox had their worst season in over 40 years, they went from last place to first place and won their third World Series in ten years. One of the reasons for the quick turnaround was the hiring of Manager John Farrell who had previously been the Red Sox pitching coach. Farrell's return helped Jon Lester and Clay Buccholz each bounce back from disappointing seasons, while Koji Uehara came out of nowhere to become a shutdown closer.
2013 Sports E-Cylopedia Star of the Year
Just two years ago, Peyton Manning's career was all but written off after a series of neck surgeries forced him to miss the entire 2011 season, and led the Indianapolis Colts to release their franchise quarterback as they sought to start anew with Andrew Luck, after a 2-14 season. Manning landed with the Denver Broncos and finished second in MVP voting in 2012 and in 2013 he delivered what may have been the best season of his career. With one game left, Peyton Manning has set a single season record with 51 Touchdown passes, and his 5,211 passing yards have him within 255 yards of setting the single season record of passing. The Broncos meanwhile just need a win in their final game to get home field throughout the playoffs that is why Peyton Manning is the 2013 Star of the Year.
Most Annoying Person:
The biogenesis probe landed a number of top stars a 50 game suspension, but the great whale that Bud Selig seeks is Alex Rodriguez as he got an unprecedented 212 game ban. A-Rod has appealed and his fate won't be known until January, but right or wrong the sorted tale has made him unbearable to even hear anything about. It is true MLB singled out A-Rod but his playing the victim card is a bit much as he paid supporters to stand outside league office to protest and played the drama card when he stormed out of his hearing with arbitrator.
Inspirational Athlete of the Year:
When his leg snapped during the Regional Finals of the NCAA Tournament his Louisville teammates became overwhelmed with tears, as even the Duke players could not look at the bone protruding out his shin. However, Kevin Ware had one request for his Cardinals teammates and that was to win the NCAA Tournament which they did, and one week later Ware was there to cut down the nets. Kevin Ware has since returned to play and hopes to get another chance in the 2014 Tournament.
Snake of the Year:
New England Patriots Tight End Aaron Hernandez had everything, a big contract, talent and young kids wearing his jersey. However, the heart of a killer was too much to overcome as he ended up getting charged with the murder of a close friend. Hernandez did a poor job covering up his crime and may even end up getting charged with two other homicides as the victim Odin Lloyd may have fingered Hernandez to authorities over an unsolved drive by shooting that left two dead in 2012.
Best Team of the Year:
For the second straight season, the Miami Heat are on top of the basketball world, but it was not easy as they needed to survive a seven game battle with the Indiana Pacers and a made a miracle comeback against the San Antonio Spurs in Game 6 just to make to a seventh game where they won the second straight title. However, the true measure of their greatness came during a 27 game winning streak during the dog days of February and March.
Game of the Year:
No Iron Bowl had more drama or more on the line than this year's game with #1 Alabama facing #4 Auburn has the winner would go on to the SEC Championship Game. The Crimson Tide entered the game unbeaten and was seeking a third straight championship game. Late in the 4th Quarter Alabama had a seven point lead when Nick Marshall completed a 39 yard TD pass to Sammie Coates with 32 seconds to tie the game. Bama would try to win the game with one second left, but when Adam Griffith's 57 yard Field Goal was short, Chris Davis returned in 109 yards to give Auburn a dramatic 34-28 win.
Old Rivals Award:
Stanley Cup Finals
For the first time in 34 years two of the Original Six Teams met in the Stanley Cup Finals as the Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins faced off with the Cup on the line. The series was good as advertised as three of the first four games went to overtime. The Blackhawks would win the Stanley Cup in six games, scoring twice in the final two minutes of Game 6 to stun the Bruins in the TD Garden.
No Quit Award:
Down 8-1 in the best of 17 race matchup it appeared as if the America's Cup was already on its way to New Zealand. However, the American Team Oracle rallied to win the final eight races, overcoming an earlier penalty to retain in the Cup at the San Francisco Yacht club.
There is little debate to who the best closer in the history of baseball as most would answer Mariano Rivera. Rivera the New York Yankees closer took a victory tour in 2013 as he announced his retirement in Spring Training, receiving gifts and ovations all season. Mariano Rivera even received the 2013 All Star Game MVP and a five minute ovation as the game was played in Queens.
Money for Nothing Award:
Josh Hamilton's sever addiction problems nearly ended his career before it began. However, when he landed in Texas in 2008 Hamilton became one of the best sluggers in baseball. The Rangers helped provide a cocoon for Josh Hamilton and enabled him to put his problem in the past, but when he became a Free Agent he showed no loyalty and took the money to sign with the Division rival Los Angeles Angels. Hamilton's first year of a five year contract worth $125 million could not go any worse, as he struggled all season and hit just 21 homers with 79 RBI,
Underrated Player of the Year:
The Arizona Cardinals may be the team of misfortune in the 2013 NFL season, as the enter the final week with a 10-5 record, with the playoffs likely out of reach as they need a win and a Saints loss to get it. The Cardinals beat the first place Panthers and Colts at home. Last week they beat the Seahawks and the 12th man in Seattle. Defense has been the story behind the Cardinals turnaround and Cornerback Patrick Peterson has been a big reason why. Playing in Arizona may hurt him from being a household name, but he should be seen as one of the best Defensive Backs in the NFL.
For one reason or another that is yet unknown, second year lineman Jonathan Martin had trouble adjusting to life in the NFL. Making matters worse his Miami Dolphins linemate Richie Incognito was making his life a living hell. Incognito forced him to pay for diners and a trip to Vegas called him vulgar names and eventually made him leave the team. Richie Incognito would eventually get suspended over the bullying scandal as the Dolphins season nearly imploded.
Surprise Team of the Year:
Boston Red Sox
After losing 90 games for the first time since 1966, the Red Sox were expected to improve in 2013, but were not expected to make a run at the playoffs let alone win the World Series. However, the Red Sox signed some solid free agents that though not flashy fit into the teams mold perfectly. Around the time of the Boston Marathon the Red Sox helped the city recover and though most expected they would cool off they never did. The Red Sox would go to win the American League East, and go all the way to the World Series where the beat the St. Louis Cardinals in six games, clinching the title at Fenway Park for the first time since 1986, as ticket sales set records on stub hub.
With two tone helmets and two tone jerseys the Jacksonville Jaguars new uniforms are a real eye sore. Either the helmets should be gold or black one way or another would be fine but the gradient has to go.
There is no doubt that Dez Bryant is one of the best Wide Receivers in the NFL. However, his tantrums have become a big distraction for the Dallas Cowboys, leaving many to ask is he worth the trouble. Twice this year his behavior became the talk of the league, including walking off the field before the game was over in Week 15.
After having one of the worst uniforms in the NHL; the Dallas Stars came up with a complete rebrand that is now one of the best in the NHL. The simple look featuring the colors green, white and black are not overstated and the logo is also simple and dignified.
Comeback of the Year:
Before he even turns 30, Francisco Liriano has had a career full of up and down moments. Following a breakout 12-3 season in 2006 missed an entire season after Tommy John surgery. After struggling to regain his command, Liriano looked like he regained his form in 2010. However, more struggles were to come as he was a pure reclamation project for the Pirates who offered him an incentive laden two year deal. On Tuesday, Liriano who is now the ace of the Pirates will start the Wild Card Game, after completing a solid 16-8 season with a 3.02 ERA and 163 strikeouts.
Visit our Sponsors
Partner of USA TODAY Sports Digital Properties
Chad "Ochocinco" Johnson
Chad Johnson like Dez Bryant was a talented receiver, but eventually his troubles outweighed the good of his play and his NFL career came to an end. Earlier this year the former All-Pro spent a week in jail after slapping his lawyer's backside during a court hearing. He was going to get off with no time before his idiotic act in a South Florid a Courtroom.
Poor Parade Planning Award:
City of MIami
The Heat were victorious once again and the celebration did not captivate the fans in Miami who poorly attended the parade route. However, it nearly turned tragic as LeBron James had to duck two bridges while standing on top of a double decker bus.
Star of the Year
2002 Lance Armstrong
2003 Roger Clemens
2004 Boston Red Sox
2005 Peyton Manning
2006 LaDainian Tomlinson
2007 Tom Brady
2008 Michael Phelps
2009 Jimmie Johnson
2010 Drew Brees
2011 Dirk Nowitzki
2012 Usain Bolt
2013 Peyton Manning