2007 Tank Awards
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.
You Bet Your Life Award:
NBA Referee Tim Donaghy who was caught in a FBI, gambling sting. Among the charges he would plead guilty; informing gamblers, about classified player injuries, and NBA reports, as he often wagered on games he officiated. While he awaits a possible 25-year Federal prison sentence other states including Arizona are investigating if he fixed games, a charge that would be the NBA's worst nightmare if proven true.
Worst Liar Award:
Boston Red Sox Closer Jonathan Pablepon, who told the team that his dog ate the final out of the World Series, when he took the ball home. Earth to Jonathan the Red Sox want the ball just ask Doug Mientkiewicz, and if the Dog ate your homework excuse did not work in the 4th Grade, why do you think it will work now.
Bill Buckneer Choke of the Year:
The New York Mets, who were in first place from May until the next to last day of the season, blowing a seven game lead with 17 games left, while losing five of six to the awful Washington Nationals in the last two weeks, along the way the Mets bullpen blew lead nightly including two games in which they had four run leads.
The Village Idiot Award:
MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, who looked the other way for a decade as players juiced up, and then acted shock when some of the biggest names in baseball including Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens were on George Mitchell's list. A list that focused only on two sources for performance enhancing drugs and likely barely scratched the surface, for the Comish who will like to pretend that his sport is now clean.
Thug of the Year:
Pacman Jones, who became the first player in NFL history to be suspended an entire season for actions off the field, as the league became fed up with the constant legal troubles of the young Titans star, and suspended following a much publicized arrest at a Vegas Strip Club during NBA All-Star Weekend that left a man paralyzed, after members of Pacman's party fired a gun, during a brawl with bouncers.
The OZ Cellblock B Athlete of the Year:
Michael Vick who went from the most marketable player in the NFL to a 2-year prison sentence, for funding and hosting a god fighting ring in Virginia, while the Falcons won't say never, the likelihood he will ever return to the NFL is slim, maybe now he can sell #7 Mean Machine jerseys with Vick on the back.
Quitter of the Year:
Former Falcons Coach Bobby Petrino, who took the job at the start of the season, because it was thought his system, would help Michael Vick. However, after Vick was lost to the penal system, the Falcons were lost as a team going 3-10, before Petrino went running back to College with Arkansas, leaving behind just a note and allot of angry Falcons, including Owner Arthur Blank, whom Petrino told just hours before quitting he was staying as Coach of the Falcons.
Goon of the Year :
Chris Simon of the Islanders who gave hockey to black eyes first for hitting Ryan Holweg of the Rangers in February over the head with a stick, for which he received a 25-game suspension, then for trying to cut the Penguins Jarkko Ruutu's leg in December with his skate for which he received a 30-game suspension.
Some throwbacks are classy and bring fans back to a bygone era, by showcasing today's players in the uniforms of the past. Some throwback should be thrown back in the garbage bin, the Philadelphia Eagles throwbacks should be thrown away and all of us who saw it should get surgery to remove our short term memory for seeing it.
Mascot of the Year:
Wally the Green Monster, his team won it's second World Series in four years, and he was the star of his own commercial when he saw David Ortiz briefly putting on a Yankees hat, Wally need not worry about Papi in the Bronx, as he has become a very popular member of Red Sox Nation despite looking like he took a wrong turn of Sesame Street.
To NHL teams who resisted the urge for a drastic make over, and kept their uniforms the same as the league shifted to the new RBK Edge jerseys. This includes teams like the New Jersey Devils, who even went into a new Arena without changing.
Worst Team of the Year:
The Miami Dolphins a once proud franchise in shambles. From 1970-2003 the Dolphins had two losing seasons, while posting 10 or more losses three times in the last four years, culminating with this year as it took them 14 games to get their first win, as they have struggled in every aspect of the game even embarrassing themselves off the field as Channing Crowder on a trip to London, confessed to not knowing what language was spoken in England.
Overrated Player of the Year:
David Beckham his arrival to the US, was the biggest English Import since the Beatles, as it was covered live not just on ESPN, but all over the place, as together with wife Victoria, you could not turn on the TV without seeing the Soccer star, who in the end would just play in eight games with the LA Galaxy, fighting off an injury, as soccer remained boring.
Bust of the Year:
Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks, who blitzed through the NBA with a franchise best 67-15 record, with Nowitzki winning the NBA MVP. However, in the playoffs it was over before it ever began as they were eliminated in the first round in six games by a Golden State Warriors team making its first playoff appearance in 13 years.
The Finally Award:
To Navy Football who ended a 44-year losing streak to Notre Dame, with a dramatic 46-44 win in triple overtime. Over the years in which Notre Dame beat the Midshipman 43 straight times, only a handful of games were even close, as the Irish became a National Power, while Navy was unable to get top football stars to honor the military commitment that comes with playing at the service academies.
How is HE Still Here? Award:
Knicks, President/GM/Coach Isiah Thomas, on the court the Knicks are one of the worst teams in the NBA, a virtual laughing stock with fans chanting fire Isiah. Worst off the Knicks are in Salary Cap Hell because of Isiah's passion for signing overpriced, overrated washed up players. Meanwhile because of a sexual harassment case involving Thomas and former Knicks employee that cost his bosses $11 Million. He even lost the locker after Stephon Marburry was not benched for going AWOL. When Marburry argued with Isiah he allegedly blackmailed his coach, one must wonder is Isiah blackmailing Cablevision, who owns the Knicks.
Encore of the Year & Ironman of the Year:
Brett Favre who after looking like he was washed up in the past few seasons, found the fountain of youth, and led the Packers to a division title, while breaking Dan Marino's career record for Touchdown Passes, Completions, and yards passing, while earning the SI Sportsman of the Year, all while continuing his incredible streak of starting games.
Rising Star Award:
Prince Fielder, who at the age 23 became the youngest player to hit 50 home runs in a season, while leading the Brewers into the thick of the pennant race all season. Along the way he was a MVP candidate, while winning the NL Hank Aaron Award the first of what will likely be many awards won by this young slugger.
Coach of the Year & Success at Last Award:
Tony Dungy of the Indianapolis Colts, who along with protégé Lovie Smith of the Chicago Bears became the first black head coaches in the Super Bowl. Only it was Dungy who emerged victories erasing the thought that he and QB Peyton Manning could not win the big game, as the Colts beat the Bears on a glorious rainy night in Miami.
Lance Armstrong Inspirational
Athlete of the Year:
Kevin Everett of the Buffalo Bills, who left the field on opening day numb from the neck down after suffering a severe spinal chord injury. Given little chance to walk again, Everett with the help of some bold moves from the Bills medical staff proved them all wrong, walking back into Ralph Wilson Stadium just three months later before the Bills final home game.
2007 Sports E-Cyclopedia Star of the Year:
Tom Brady of the New England Patriots; who is on the verge of great individual accomplishments, as his team is on the verge of history as the second unbeaten team in NFL history. With one game to go in the NFL season the Patriots are 15-0, while Brady is one Touchdown pass away from tying Peyton Manning's single season record. A QB rating of 117.2 he has thrown 48 TD passes, against just 8 interceptions while racking up 4,450 yards passing as the Patriots have not just one every game they have won them relatively easily. One notable exception was in Week 13 against the Ravens, where Brady needed a game winning touchdown in the final minute to keep the Pats roll continuing. He is all but assured of taking home the NFL MVP for the first time in his career to go along with the two Super Bowl MVPs and three Super Bowl rings he has already won.
Most Painful TV Moment of the Year:
Steve Nash of the Phoenix Suns, who desperately tried to get back on the court in the final seconds of Game 1 against the San Antonio Spurs after getting accidently cut by Tony Parker. The cut caused Nash's nose to fill with blood, and trainers could not get it to stop as Nash washed helplessly with blood pouring everywhere and a camera on close up the entire time.
Leon team player Award:
When his jersey sales slacked he changed his number, when his team could not acquire another star at the trade deadline he publically blasted the front office, calling his teammate Andre Bynum overrated. Then he demanded a trade, and retracted the demand, before demanding to be traded again, and sulking in the preseason, then saying he would block any deal that got the Lakers too much in return, and that was just the last 15 months of Kobe Bryant's life in LA.
Most Annoying Person:
Suzyn Waldman whose bizarre reaction to the signing of Roger Clemens sounded like a mixture of Meg Ryan from When Harry Met Sally and an annoying Game Show contestant winning a new car. One must onl;y wonder how she sounded when the Rocket was exposed for being a juicer, maybe she will break down in tears like when the Yankees were eliminated.
Game of the Year:
The one game tiebreaker for the NL Wild Card between the Colorado Rockies and San Diego Padres turned into an instant classic as the game went back and forth into extra innings tied 6-6. Finally in the 13th inning the Padres broke through with two runs. However, the Rockies who won 13 of 14 games just to force a tie refused to quit scoring three runs off all-time save record holder Trevor Hoffman, with Matt Holliday just getting his hand past Michael Barrett's tag to win the game 9-8.
Surprise Team of the Year:
Florida Gators football program who entered last January's BCS Championship Game a decided underdog against unbeaten Ohio State, but emerged as Champions, becoming the first program to win the NCAA Division 1 Basketball and Football Championship in the same year, as the 1-2 punch of Senior Chris Leak and Freshman Tim Tebow, who would later become the first sophomore to win a Heisman proved too strong in a 41-14 win.
Trip Down Memory Lane Award:
Ten years after #42 was retired through out MLB for Jackie Robinson, it was seen on the backs of baseball's current stars again, as entire teams wore the #42 in honor of Jackie Robinson on a few select dates early in the season.
Stayed too long award:
Roger Clemens of the New York Yankees, who came back again at the age of 45 showed, that this year may have been one year too many, as posted a subpar 6-6 record with a 4.18 ERA as his legs broke down at the end of the season, all while being named in the Mitchell Report, and tarnishing his legendary career that included 354 wins and seven Cy Young Awards.
Moises Alou, who showed the apple does not fall far from the tree, as he and teammate Pedro Martinez helped raise money for Hurricane Relief for the Dominican Republican following Hurricane Noel, which left more then 25,000 people displaced in October.
Bug Bite of the Year :
The New York Yankees, who with a payroll greater then some nations' Gross Domestic Product, were done in by tiny insects called Canadian Soldiers, as Joba Chamberlain, despite being sprayed with Off threw two wild pitches allowing the tying run to score as the Indians went on to beat the Yankees in four games in the ALDS.
Ugh of the year :
Notre Dame Fighting Irish football program who did not have a whole lot of fight this year as their offense was down right offensive, with two shutouts, as they scored 14 or less points in half their 12 games while starting 0-5 for the first time, ever as they got off to a 1-9 start before winning their final two games to finish with an all-time worst 3-9 record for the once proud Notre Dame program.
Flogging of the Year:
The Texas Rangers, who beat the Baltimore Orioles 30-3 in the first game of an August 22nd Double Header at Camden Yards, setting a modern day record for the biggest blow out in baseball history. For Orioles Manager Dave Trembley it came just one day after he was given a contract extension.
Comeback of the Year:
Rick Ankiel of the St. Louis Cardinals. When we lost saw Ankiel he was a pitcher with a hopeless case of Steve Blass syndrome. However, he did not give up on his MLB dream making it back up through the entire Cardinals system in the low minors as an outfielder, hitting 11 homers in 47 games, although being named in the Mitchell Report shows he did have some help along the way.
Weasel of the Year:
Alabama Coach Nick Saban, who left the Miami Dolphins high and dry to return to the NCAA, after spending the final weeks of the season denying daily he was looking for another job elsewhere. Then in the midst of a satisfyingly disappointing 6-6 season compared one of his team's losses to September 11th.
The Boooooooooooooring Award:
To the NBA Finals, which made the Boston Red Sox World Series sweep look competitive as the San Antonio Spurs easily dispatched an overmatched Cleveland Cavaliers team that was essentially just LeBron James and a bunch of stiffs. Too bad the NBA fumbled the best series which was the Spurs second round match against the Phoenix Suns.
Best Team of the Year:
Florida Gators Men Basketball Program who became the first team in 15 years to win back-to-back NCAA tournaments waltzing through the single elimination tournament and into the Final Four, where they took a cue for their football brothers and broke the hearts of the Ohio State Buckeyes 84-75.
Break up of the Year:
Joe Torre and the New York Yankees, for 12 years the Yankees knew nothing but success under Joe, making the postseason every year. However, they have not won a World Series since 2000, and that failure was too much for the Sons of Steinbrenner, who gave their manager an insulting contract offer with the hopes he would turn it down and leave, which he did.
Winter Wonderland Award :
The city of Cleveland who saw the opening weekend series with the Mariners wiped out by a freak April snowstorm, forcing the Indians to play three home games in Milwaukee against the Angels, as they played a several one game series against the Mariners through out the years. Then a December blizzard helped the Browns get closer to the playoffs as they blanked the Bills 8-0, in near white out conditions.
Ultimate Walkoff Award :
Jim Thome of the Chicago White Sox who became the third player of the season to reach 500 career home runs on September 16th, however did in a way only done in people's dreams, as it was a 2-run Walk off homer in the bottom of the 9th of the Angels Dustin Moseley.
Topsy Turvy Award :
The entire season of NCAA Football in the Bowl Subdivision that saw the top spot become a revolving door, as there were stunning upsets on a weekly basis, as 11-top five teams lost to unranked opponents, with 1 & 2 both losing in the same weekend three different times, leaving in its wake only one unbeaten team Hawaii, that is not even in the BCS Title game, because of a light schedule.
Screw Job of the Year :
The NBA for awarding the Spurs Robert Horry for his cheap shot by suspending Amare Stoudamire of and Boris Diaw of the Suns for leaving the bench when the saw teammate Steve Nash in trouble at the end of their win in Game 4 of their second round playoff match up that ended up being the most important series of the NBA Playoffs.
The Nevermind Award :
To Billy Donovan who announced he was leaving the University of Florida to take a job with the NBA's Orlando Magic, only to change his mind 48 hours later and head back to the comfortable situation he had with the Gators in Gainesville, of course now he's locked in since he is not allowed to coach in the NBA for five years.
The Thrill and Angony Award :
To the Cleveland Browns who saw the Baltimore Ravens take a 3-point lead in the final minute only to drive down the field and set Phil Dawson up for long field goal to tie the game. Dawson's kick hit the upright then hit the support beam and bounced out. At first it was ruled no good, then after second thought correctly reversed as the Browns would win the game in overtime.
Couple of the Year:
To Boise State RB Ian Johnson and Cheerleader Chrissy Popadics. After scoring the game winning two point conversion in Boise State's dramatic upset of Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl, Johnson dropped on one knee and proposed to the Cheerleader live on National Television, capping one of the wildest games in Bowl history.
New Coke Awful Product of the Year:
To RBK Edge jerseys that all NHL teams began wearing this year, marketed as being lighter and water resistant players have quickly grown to hate them as teams begin to look to go back to the traditional jersey material beginning with the Washington Capitals who voted unanimously to send the RBK Egde to the return bin.
Comeback of the Year:
The Williams Sisters. In 2006 Venus and Serena were non factors on the tennis tour as neither played in a single Grand Slam Final. However, in 2007 each one a title and made it deep into the Grand Slam tournaments proving they have many wins left in their rackets.
California Dreaming Award:
To the Anaheim Ducks, who dropped the Mighty and became Champions brining the Stanley Cup to the Golden State for the first time ever. When last seen the Stanley Cup was hanging ten by the Santa Monica Pier, its too bad more people in Southern California noticed.
Best New Palace Award:
To the Prudential Center in Newark, the new home of the New Jersey Devils is truly a jewel with two levels of luxury boxes, wide open concourses, steep sightlines that keep the action always in sight and great concession stands all through out the arena, that has finally brought new life to the Garden State's Largest City.
The Everybody Hates Me Award:
To Barry Bonds who set the all-time home run record in August off Mike Basick of the Washington Nationals with only his home fans in San Francisco cheering, as nobody really wanted to see Hank Aaron's record fall to a man who was to the surprise of no one indicted for perjury and on the Mitchell Report, meanwhile his record baseball will be branded like his record with an asterisk.