2014 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.
Choke of the Year:
San Jose Sharks
Playoff collapses are the hallmark of the San Jose Sharks, but this year took the cake. The Sharks looked primed for a long playoff run as they jumped out to a 3-0 lead over the Los Angeles Kings, outscoring them 17-8. However, the Kings would win the next four games by at least three goals and won the series in seven games. Adding insult to injury the Kings who are also the arch nemesis of the Sharks would go on to win their second Stanley Cup in three years.
Good Riddence Award:
Long considered one of the worst owners in sports Donald Sterling was forced by the NBA to sell his teams after his mistress recorded him making racial comments. Sterling whose wife Shelly claimed was suffering from Dementia would threaten to sue the league, while making incoherent television interviews. Finally his wife was successful in taking the team and selling for $2 Billion.
Empty Suit Award:
Roger Goodell continued to expose himself as a buffoon, with his handling of the Ray Rice domestic violence case. Initially Rice was given just a two game suspension, but after video inside the elevator was released so was Ray Rice. Goodell then tried to suspend Rice for the rest of the season, but was overruled by an arbitrator. Roger Goodell tried to explain himself in a press conference but instead only tarnished him image more as either being a liar for not seeing the video or dumb for not knowing what happened.
Humble Pie Award:
Johnny Manziel came on the stage at the NFL draft flashing money signs saying he would destroy the league after being selected by the Cleveland Browns. After starting the season watching from the bench, Manziel go his first start in Week 15 against the Cincinnati Bengals. The only one destroyed in the game was Johnny Manziel who was mocked all game by the Bengals as they sacked him three times and had two interceptions in a 30-0 win. In his second start, Johnny Manziel suffered a hamstring injury and proclaimed he will take playing in the NFL more seriously in 2015.
Funniest Injury of the Year:
Playing football can lead to an injury on just about any play, but Joseph Fauria Tight End for the Detroit Lions was hurt at home tending to his puppy. Fauria suffered a sprained ankle that sidelined him six weeks trying to get his Pomeranian and Husky mix puppy Lil Rufio to stop peeing on the carpet.
Worst Team of the Year:
Who is more deserving of a Golden Tank than the team that has brought tanking to a whole new level. The 76ers have won just seven games since January 29th. In between they have suffered a record tying 26 game losing streak in February and March. When the new season began the losing continued with a 17 game losing streak to start the 2014/15 season.
Overrated Player of the Year:
When he first took over the job as quarterback of San Francisco 49ers, Colin Kaepernick was a human highlight reel, as he was able to make a big play with his arm or his speed. However, since he has steadily gone downhill as defenses have caught up to him. This season has been a nightmare for Kaepernick and the 49ers, as they have failed to make the playoffs. Along the way Kaepernick has made huge mistake bad interceptions and an embarrassing fumble on the goal line taking him from star QB to a player who will have to bounce back in 2015 or lose his job.
Bust of the Year:
Prior to the 2013/14 season Josh Smith signed a four year contract with the Detroit Pistons. The Pistons hoped he could be the lynch pin for a return to contention. However, smith never lived up to his contract and the Pistons have continued to struggle near the bottom of the Eastern Conference. The Pistons would eventfully release Josh Smith just two months into his second season in Detroit, buying out the remainder of his contract for $26 million. . In 105 career games with the Pistons, Smith averaged 15.5 points, 6.9 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game.
Rising Stars Award:
When Nathan MacKinnon made his NHL debut he was just one month removed from his 18th birthday. However, the Colorado Avalnche's first overall pick showed right away he belonged in the NHL, leading all rookies in scoring with 63 points. In the playoffs he showed the poise of a veteran recording seven points in his first two playoff games with a goal and six assists in the first two games.
2014 Sports E-Cylopedia Star of the Year & Coach of the Year
In a day of bloated egos and players wanting to make highlight plays, San Antonio Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich has found a way to get his team to but into the team above all philosophy. The San Antonio Spurs are loaded roster, but most of their players like Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili are well past their prime. However, due to Popovich's ability to get his team to share minutes and share the ball the older players are able to stay fresh for the postseason. The Spurs had nine players average more than eight points per game in 2014 on the way to the best record in the NBA. The Spurs have also gone to the finals two straight seasons, and avenged a heartbreaking seven game loss in the 2013 finals by beating the Miami Heat in five games. Getting his team to stay focused and not complain and balanced makes him the star of the year
There is no questioning the talent of the Florida State quarterback, however his maturity and decision making leave plenty to be desired. Winston has been cleared of sexual assault charges, though some have suggested that the Tallahassee Police did a half hearted investigation. During the spring he was charged with shoplifting seafood, and got suspended for vulgar behavior on campus. There has even be word of point shaving. Through it all the Seminoles remained unbeaten but has survived scares in nearly every game.
Inspirational Athlete of the Year:
Lauren Hill dreamed of playing college basketball, but before she had a chance to play for Mount St. Joseph's she was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. Despite the devastating diagnosis, HIll got her chance to play at MSJ on November 2nd and played in three more. Since then Hill has become an honorary coach and is hoping her story raises money for cancer research.
After just one season as coach of the Brooklyn Nets, Jason Kidd tried a power play against General Manager Billy King and ended up with the Milwaukee Bucks. Making the hubris show by Kidd is the fact he did barely a fair job. At first Jason Kidd looked over his head as he spilled the soda to steal a timeout. The Nets did finish strong but only made the second round of the playoffs. Rookie coaches need to prove themselves more before they should ask for a raise and take over the GMs job.
Best Team of the Year:
The Seattle Seahawks went into Super Bowl XLVIII in the Meadowlands facing the Denver Broncos the team with the best offense. The game was over before the smoke cleared from the national anthem as the Seahawks got a safety 12 seconds into the game. The Seahawks dominated the Broncos all game, winning 43-8 to bring the Pacific Northwest its first professional sports championship in 35 years.
Game of the Year:
FIFA World Cup Final
After their 7-1 beat down of host Brazil, Germany still needed to beat Argentina in the finals to take home the World Cup. The finals would be much tougher for Germany as the game was scoreless after a full 90 minutes. Mario Gotze of Germany scored the game's only goal in the 113th minute as Germany won the World Cup for the first time since reunification and third overall.
Legend of the Fall Award:
The San Francisco Giants won their third World Series Championship in five years. The unquestioned star of the Giants World Series run was Madison Bumgarner, who won the Wild Card Game and won twice in the NLCS. In the Fall Classic Bumgarner outdid himself, winning two games against the Royals and pitching the final four innings in Game 7 to get the save, setting a record 52.2 innings in the postseason.
In his final season, New York Yankees Captain Derek Jeter was given a grand farewell tour receiving gifts in each of his last stops across the American League. In his final game at Yankee Stadium, Jeter saved his best for last collecting a walk off single as he was mobbed by teammates.
Money for Nothing Award:
At the start of the year, Jay Cutler signed a seven year contract with the Chicago Bears worth $126 million, with $54 guaranteed. Cutler who has never quite lived up to expectations must have had a gun or dark secrets to get such a deal. Cutler's season has been an unmitigated disaster for the Bears. Through 15 weeks Jay Cutler led the NFL in interceptions, as the Bears were in last place in the NFC North. The Bears would even bench the highest paid quarterback in favor of Jimmy Claussen in Week 16 as criticism came in all directions to Jay Cutler.
Underrated Player of the Year:
It is easy to overlook Julian Edelman who at 5'10" does not cast an imposing shadow on the field. However, next to Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski, Edelman has been the biggest offensive weapon for the New England Patriots. In 2013, Edelman took over the roll left by Wes Welker as the Pats go to third down receiver, keeping many drives alive. Julian Edelman also has surprising speed, becoming the Patriots top return man on punts, and is the NFLs leader in return yards over the last two seasons. However Edelman has yet to make a Pro Bowl roster
After missing nearly two full seasons, the Chicago Bulls hoped to get a healthy Derrick Rose back, especially after a strong appearance for Team USA in the FIBA World Cup. However, Rose has continued to deal with nagging leg injuries, and expressed a lack of desire to play through even the smallest amount of pain, saying he does not want to limp in his mansion when he was 40.
Surprise Team of the Year:
The NCAA Tournament was wide-open this year, and many teams had a chance to win, but not many would have given a chance to the #7 seed Connecticut Huskies. Jim Calhoun was gone and Kevin Ollie was now the man on the sideline. However, the Huskies got hot at the right time and became the first seven seed ever to win NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Does it get any uglier? The Tampa Bay Buccaneers modified one of the best looks into one of the worst with needless stripping and hideous number fonts reminiscent of a digital clock. In addition a ridiculously large helmet decals makes it genuine eyesore.
Getting their name and history back was just first the part for the Hornets, but their teal and purple color scheme returned and it was a much needed upgraded from the Bobcats which changed looks every other year but could not get it to work.
Comeback of the Year:
Four years after ripping out fans in Cleveland hearts by taking his talents to South Beach, LeBron James announced that he would be returning to the Cavaliers. During his stay in Miami, LeBron led the Heat to two titles in four finals appearances. Upon his return to the Cavs, LeBron James was able to get Kevin Love to join him while hoping a new big three can take Cleveland to the promised land.
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Hannibal Lecter Award:
Uruguay striker Luis Suarez who was suspended from all soccer related activity for four months for biting Italy Defender Giorgio Chiellini during a match at the FIFA World Cup in Brazil. It was not the first biting incident involving Suarez who had two similar incidents in the past.
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
2014 Gregg Popovich
Lamest Excuse of the Year:
USA Speed Skating
Traditionally one of the United States best events at the Winter Olympics has been speed skating, with legends like Eric HeidTraditionally one of the United States best events at the Winter Olympics has been speed skating, with legends like Eric Heiden, Bonnie Blair, Dan Jansen and Shani Davis bringing in a cache or medals in the past. However, the Americans went to Sochi and returned empty handed. Davis who looked to repeat his double gold from 2010 and other American skaters blamed their struggles and their track suits, which they claimed slowed them down.
Steve Lyons Award:
In the tradition of the major leaguer who pulled down his pants after sliding into first, Russian Speed skater Olga Graf unzipped her track suit after finishing a bronze medal run in the 3000 meter event at the Sochi Olympics. Graf was not wearing anything under her suit and gave viewers and fans a little peep show before realizing where she was and cover herself up.
ASPCA Gold Medal:
US Freestkye Skier Gus Kenworthy who took silver in the slopestyle came home with five new friends after finding four stray puppies and their mother on the streets in Sochi. Stray Dogs were problematic in the Russian city and most dogs were killed upon being found by city officials.
Best Daft Punk mpersonation:
Russian Police Choir
The Russian Police Choir became an instant internet sensation with their performance of Get Lucky during the Opening Ceremonies at the Sochi Olympics.
Worst Daft Punk mpersonation:
Donald Sterling's mistress V. Stiviano who recorded him making racial comments took to wearing a welder's mask when going out in public after the news became sensationalized by the tabloid media. Stivano who is more than 40 years younger than Sterling was reported to receive cash, cars and apartments totaling more than $2 million from the disgraced Clippers owner.
Mascot of the Year:
Pierre the Pelican
Mascots are often a fun side attraction for children, but when the New Orleans Pelicans unveiled their new mascot Pierre the Pelican little fans were terrified by his appearance. The Pelicans would think quickly and give their mascot a much needed facelift making his appearance more kid friendly.
Make it Stop Award:
Heading into the World Cup, host nation Brazil felt it was their birthright to win the tournament. However, in the semifinals the dream of a record sixth World Cup for Brazil came crashing down with 7-1 loss to Germany, which fans in the stands and across the country watched through uncontrollable sobs.
Sticky Fingers Award:
New York Yankees Pitcher Michael Pineda was pictured with a foreign substance on his hand but since nobody on the Boston Red Sox protested he was able to get away with it. Two weeks later he tried it again facing the Red Sox and this time with the substance on his neck he was caught with pinetar and suspended ten games.
Splash of the Year:
This summer the biggest trend was the ALS ice bucket challenge. The challenge started with former Boston College baseball player Pete Frates, who was diagnosed with ALS also known as Lou Gehrig's disease in 2012. Frates teammates challenged their friend to dunk an ice bucket to raise money and awareness for ALS, the video went viral and soon celebrities, athletes and even politicians were dunking themselves. The ice bucket challenged helped raise $7.6 million, as 1.2 million videos including one from yours truly were posted on facebook.