2008 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.
Edna Mahan Award:
Marion Jones who was stripped of her 2000 gold medals, her dignity and freedom, as she was sentenced to six months in a federal prison for lying to a grand jury and check fraud. At least she could use her running skills to hide from Big Bertha in the Prison Yard.
Bill Buckner Choke of the Year:
The New York Mets bullpen, which turned every game down the stretch into adventure, as they single handily created a second straight September collapse, with a 4.25 ERA, as the Mets lost 13 games in which they held a lead in the 8th inning or later, blowing several game in which they had four run leads or larger.
The Village Idiot Award:
Philadelphia Eagles QB Donovan McNabb, who stated shock at his team playing the Cincinnati Bengals to a 13-13 tie in November, as he stated he did not know NFL games could end in a tie. Too bad for him the referee announces before every overtime that a game can end in a tie, maybe he was doing a Chunky Soup Commercial.
Justice At Last Award:
To O.J. Simpson, who 13 years to the date after getting away with murdering his wife, and Ronald Goldman, was found guilty of armed robbery and kidnapping trying to retrieve his own memorabilia he was forced to part with because of the civil judgment. Simpsons, would later receive a 9-33 year prison sentence, making him 70 at his first parole date.
The Straight Shooter Award:
Plaxico Burress for potentially blowing and landing a three year prison sentence for carrying a loaded weapon into a New York Nightclub. With New York's strict gun laws, Burress kept the gun handed inside the band of his sweat pants, which led to the player who caught game winning TD in Super Bowl XLII season to end as he shot himself in the leg, causing unwanted trouble for teammate Antonio Pierce who chauffeured him around, and a New York doctor who is in trouble for not reporting the shooting to police.
Sore Loser of the Year:
Angel Matos of Cuba, who kicked a referee in the face after he was disqualified in a bronze medal match in Taekwondo at the Olympics. Matos, was banned for life by the World Taekwondo Federation following the incident, and kicked out of the Olympic Village.
Goon of the Year :
Sean Avery of the Dallas Stars whose crude comments about former Girlfriend Elisha Cuthbert earned him a six game suspension, and a one way ticket out of Dallas, as the pest end up turning into a locker cancer for the Stars who are the NHL's most disappointing team in the first half of the season.
Oklahoma City Thunder could they have chosen an uglier logo? The name itself is not bad, though it created nightmares in the Warriors marketing department as they needed to change their mascot. However, the logo is not the worst part as their road uniforms have less creativity then the original D-League uniforms and resemble something from a youth basketball camp.
Mascot of the Year:
Phillie Phanatic who got to be the center of attention on a float during the Phillies victory parade down Broad Street, as the City of Brotherly Love celebrated for the first time since 1983.
To Tampa Bay Rays who ended a decade of looking like a semiprofessional team and playing terrible baseball by debuting a more traditional look as they went from the Worst team in baseball in 2007 to the 2008 World Series.
Worst Team of the Year:
The Detroit Lions, what else can you say? Matt Millen may have been finally and mercifully fired, but his legacy lives on as the Lions are poised one game away from being the first team to go 0-16 in NFL history. When you add it all up they are a woeful 31-96 since 2001, with no hope for the near future of getting any better.
Overrated Player of the Year:
Dale Earnhardt Jr. heading into this year his struggles were explained for being on a bad team, but now on one of the best teams in NASCAR, Dale Jr. still can't win. Lets face facts his name was Dale Smith Jr. would he have as many commercials or as many fans, he will never be his father, and he will be lucky just to equal the non-existent career of Kyle Petty.
Bust of the Year:
The Chicago Cubs, who led the NL Central all season and posted one of their best seasons in years, only to break their fans hearts again in October, as they were swept in the NLDS for the second year in a row, stretching their drought without a championship to a full 100 years.
The Dynasty Award:
To Jimmie Johnson who continued to own the chase for the cup, by winning his third straight NASCAR Championship now called the Sprint Cup. Johnson, took an early lead in the chase and never looked back as he finished the NASCAR season and became just the second racer to win stock car's most prestigious points title three year in a row.
Out of the Shadow Award:
Rafael Nadal who proved he was not a once surface wonder, and solved Roger Federer's dominance on grass by beating the previous number one ranked player in a row in a classic five set final for the ages at the All England Club.
Rising Star Award:
New Orleans Hornets Guard Chris Paul, who led the Hornets back to the Crescent City and into the NBA's elite teams by becoming the premiere playmaker in the league in just his third season. At just 23 Paul has the potential to be a star for years to come in the NBA.
Coach of the Year Award:
Tom Coughlin of the New York Giants who a year ago was on the edge of getting fired, and seemingly hated by his own team and the media proved his methods were working as he led the Giants on their miracle Super Bowl run.
2008 Sports E-Cyclopedia Star of the Year:
Michael Phelps, who else could be the star of 08, but the star of the 08 Olympics, who for the first 8 days grabbed the entire world's attention beginning 08/08/08 in China, whose lucky number is 8. The key number there is eight, Phelps came to China with the goal of winning a record 8 gold medals and left mission accomplished setting the pool in Beijing on fire. Night after night, Michael Phelps races became appointment television, as they aired live 10-12 in the morning in China, which set them up perfectly in primetime in the USA. At times it was pure dominance as he set World and Olympic records in nearly every event, and at times it was dramatic as he was part of the dramatic comeback in 4X100 freestyle relay against France, and nobody will ever forget him edging Serbia's Milorad Cavic in 100 m butterfly. However by winning all eight gold medals Phelps also set career records for gold medals, and perhaps established himself as the greatest Olympian of all-time.
Leon team player Award:
Manny Ramirez, who sulked and faked a leg injury while protesting his contract situation with the Boston Red Sox. Manny also stopped hustling and refused to play forcing the team to trade him to the Los Angeles Dodgers, where he would come alive and become the best player in baseball in the final two months of the season.
Most Annoying Person:
Bill Simmons aka Sports Guy. When his blogs began on ESPN.com they were somewhat amusing, he was clearly a Boston fan but it had some insight. However, after nearly a decade a Beantown shoved in your face and the fact that ESPN dosen't think sports exist outside of Boston makes him the clear winner of this award.
Game of the Year:
Super Bowl XLII, rarely does the Super Bowl truly in fact live up to the title super, but this year it was an instant classic. The story line of the Patriots pursuit of perfection against the 10-6 Giants on a miracle run was enough to draw 96 million television viewers. What they saw was a nail biter and a dramatic finish as the Giants scored the winning TD with 39 seconds left to pull of the biggest upset since Super Bowl III.
Surprise Team of the Year:
New York Giants, when the Giants started the 2007 season, fans feared the worst, as some called for Coach Tom Coughlin to be fired, with QB Eli Manning being labeled a bust. At home they were 3-5, and entered the playoffs with moderate expectations. However, the Giants who were 7-3 on the road, upset the Buccaneers, Cowboys, and Packers on the way to Super Bowl XLII, where they would shock the world by ending the New England Patriots unbeaten season.
Last Link Award:
To the Los Angeles Dodgers who after 60 years in Vero Beach are leaving their longtime spring training home known as Dodgertown. In the process they left behind their last links to Jackie Robinson and the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Stayed too long award:
Moises Alou of the New York Mets who spent most of the season on the Disabled List with a variety of injuries doing basic things, such as stretching in the field and running the bases.
To the NFC Western Division, where only the Arizona Cardinals among the worst teams in the league, and by default they are the champions, with an 8-7 record entering the final week of the season. As for the rest of the division, the Seahawks are 4-11, the Rams are 2-13, and the 49ers are 6-9. Those Cardinals enjoy a 5-0 record against the soft underbelly divisional rivals.
Comeback of the Year:
Kansas Jayhawks, who overcame a nine point deficit with two minutes to play to beat Memphis 75-68 in overtime at the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament Championship in San Antonio. Kansas had tied the game in dramatic fashion on a three point shot by Mario Chalmers with 2.1 seconds left in regulation.
Weasel of the Year:
To Roger Clemens whose pants were actually on fire as he testified he did not use steroids before congress, after his name appeared in the Mitchell Report. Clemens' denials if any thing hurt his case and tarnished his entire career of 354 wins and seven Cy Young Awards.
Best Team of the Year:
Detroit Red Wings what else can be said about a team, that is as reliable as an old 57 Chevy. Year in and year out the Red Wings are among the best teams in the NHL's Western Conference. 2007/08 being no exception they led almost wire-to-wire and went on to win their fourth Stanley Cup in 11 years by beating the Penguins in six games.
Snowman Award :
Shaun Ellis of the New York Jets who after getting pelted by snowballs thrown by Seattle Seahawks fans, picked up a large chunk of ice and threw it into the stands following a lifeless 13-3 loss by his team.
Marathon of the Year:
2008 MLB All-Star Game which lasted a record tying 15 innings before the American League won again, with Justin Morneau of the Minnesota Twins just sliding under the tag of Atlanta Braves Catcher Brian McCann's tag, as Yankee Stadium enjoyed one last great moment before closing its doors.
Play for the Ages:
Facing third down in the waning moments of Super Bowl XLII Giants QB Eli Manning escape a sack and found David Tyree down the field for a 32-yard first down completion. The catch itself was even more spectacular as Tyree fought off Rodney Harrison and pinned the ball to his helmet for as the Gants drove down for the winning score.
Screw Job of the Year :
Ed Hochuli the NFL's bulked up referee who in a Week 2 game was named the Broncos Most Valuable Player, as he single handily helped them beat the Chargers in a key AFC Western Division Battle. First he was unable to get the replay to work, and then he blew a whistle to fast allowing Jay Cutler a chance to throw a winning TD pass.
The Nevermind Award :
Brett Favre who announced his retirement in March and decided to return as training camp start throwing the Packers camp in the chaos before he was traded to the New York Jets, all the while creating a two week ESPN created soap opera.
Daredevil Award :
To legendary Chinese Gymnast Lin Ning who lit the Olympic Cauldron at the close of the opening ceremonies in Beijing, after circling the entire length of the stadium suspended by just a a few wires.
The Back where it belongs award:
To the Boston Celtics, who ended 22 years of wondering in the wilderness and once again reigned supreme as NBA Champions, for a record 17th time. The once dominant franchise in the NBA had been an also ran only year earlier where they posted a 25-57 record, before landing Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen in off season trades, and immediately regaining that old Celtic Pride.
Father of the Year:
Isiah Thomas, who after overdosing on sleeping pills, blamed his teenage daughter, a cartoon dad Peter Griffin, Thomas claimed it was his daughter who was rushed to a hospital in November, despite reports claming a middle aged man being taken out of Thomas' home. Thomas said, the whole family had been depressed over his dismissal as coach and General Manager of the Knicks, making them the only ones in New York to be upset about the firing.
Money for Nothing Award:
Stephon Marburry who is the symbol of Isiah's legacy with the Knicks as he is getting $21 million from the Knicks, without playing. When asked to enter a game Marburry refused and was sent away, where he continued to haunt his former mates, whom he claimed shot him in the head, by sitting courtside and rooting on their opponents.
Painful Moment of the Year:
Richard Zednik of the Florida Panthers who was accidentally cut in the throat by a teammates skate during a February game against the Buffalo Sabres. Zednik was rushed into surgery and survived an injury that had eerie similarities to Clint Milarchuk's horrific 1989 injury which also happened in Buffalo.
Lance Armstrong Inspirational
Athlete of the Year:
Tiger Woods who battled torn knee ligaments and a stress fracture over a hill rugged terrain at Torrey Pines Golf Course to beat Rocco Meddiate to win the US Open in an 18-hole playoff after battling through injuries during the four day tournament.
Blazing Speed Award:
To Jamaica's Usain Bolt who ruled the track like Michael Phelps had ruled the pool winning the 100 and 200 races in World Record time, with his closest competitors far behind.
To Philadelphia Phillies who ended the City of Brotherly Love's 25 years of frustration by beating the Tampa Bay Rays in the staggered World Series, which was delayed and staggered by freezing temperatures and rain in Philadelphia.
Too Much Information award:
Jason Giambi of the New York Yankees, who at times this year played with a porn star style mustache and confessed to occasionally wearing a golden thong when he tried to get out of a hitting slump.