In my previous article, which was part one of a two-part series, I discussed the best in sports for the year 2011, naming my best team, best athlete, best rookie, best transaction, best game, and best play. This week, I decided to flip the script and name the worst in sports for the year 2011. So, without any further ado, here’s my list:
· Worst Team: Indianapolis Colts
This was actually a little more difficult than you might think, with the Houston Astros finishing a close second. They were horrendous and may not get any better for a few years with the losses of their two top players in Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn during this past season. However, it is clear that they are building for the future. On the other hand, when it comes to the Colts, it is unclear what their future holds. Will Peyton Manning play in the NFL again and if so, will he ever be the same? Or will Heisman runner-up Andrew Luck enter the fold and take over (given that the Colts have won their past two games, making them 2-13, there is now a chance that they will not receive the number one pick in April’s draft)? It remains to be seen what they will do and while Manning is the one who makes this team go, even if he does come back, I can’t see them being that much better than they are right now unless they make several roster changes. I’ll admit that there are some other teams who have really just flat-out stunk this season (from the NFL alone I can think of the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Minnesota Vikings, and the St. Louis Rams). However, to me, the Colts are the obvious choice as the worst team in sports for the year 2011. As bad as those other teams have been, I still think they have been more competitive than Indianapolis. Plus, given how good the Colts have been for so many years – again, this has mostly been due to the play of Mr. Manning – it has been very disappointing to see them struggle so mightily. Not that I like the Colts at all, but still, they shouldn’t have been this bad.
· Worst Athlete: Ryan Braun
I was going to choose someone who struggled on their field of play this year – be it LeBron James during crunch time of the NBA Finals or Tiger Woods during, well, anytime – but I ended up going with Braun, who was the National League Most Valuable Player, having been an integral part of the Milwaukee Brewers’ run to an NL Central crown. Earlier this month, it was revealed that Braun tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs, something that he was informed about back in October. While Braun maintains his innocence, all signs point to his failed drug test being legit. With that said, I hope he is proven innocent because he is one of the game’s bright young stars, and all baseball needs is to have another black mark in its history books.
· Worst Rookie: Blaine Gabbert
This guy has been one of the biggest reasons for the dismal season that the Jacksonville Jaguars have experienced. I understand that his receiving options are far from the best, but you can’t blame his inaccuracy on them. The fact that he has barely managed to complete 50% of his passes while throwing 11 touchdowns and 10 interceptions prior to last Saturday’s game against the Tennessee Titans proves that he has struggled to do what quarterbacks are usually paid to do: throw the football. If he were a Tim Tebow or a Cam Newton, with the added ability to run the ball, then he might get a pass, but instead, as is often the case with his receivers, he gets no such thing.
· Worst Transaction: Donovan McNabb is traded to the Minnesota Vikings
Oh, how the mighty have fallen. It seems like forever since McNabb was leading the Philadelphia Eagles to the Super Bowl. Of course, it has been quite a while, with the Eagles’ Super Bowl appearance coming way back in 2004. Still, McNabb has continued to be one of the top passers in the league for most of the past decade. And while things could seemingly get no worse (he had the worst season he has ever had as a full-time starter last year after signing with the Washington Redskins). Not that he was awful this season, completing 60.3% of his passes for 1,026 yards, four touchdowns, and two interceptions. He just wasn’t the savior that many in Minnesota believed he would be. They thought he would bring resurgence, but following a 1-5 start, he was benched in favor of rookie Christian Ponder, which has turned out to be a great move for the Vikings. While they have only won one game since Ponder took over, they have apparently found their quarterback of the future. As for McNabb, well, he asked for and was granted his release on December 1st. From savior to the pine to the unemployment line, it has been an extremely disappointing year for McNabb.
· Worst Game: LSU vs. Alabama (November 5th)
I’m usually all for watching the number one team in the country take on the number two team in the country. And I was excited about this game for the entire two-week period leading up to it (as both teams had byes the week before). Billed as the “Game of the Century,” it was hyped to no end. However, soon after it began, it was plain to see that either both teams had completely forgotten how to put the ball in the end zone or they just weren’t cut out to be given such a title. Whatever the case, I don’t feel like talking about this game at all. I believe I explained it enough in a previous article, so if you want to read more about it, go to the following link:
By the way, who else absolutely cannot wait for the national championship game?
· Worst Play: Chipper Jones loses a ball in the lights (September 19th)
I chose this because it hits close to home. When your favorite player on your favorite team loses a ball in the lights and then the next guy hits a two-run home run to beat you, you pretty much want to pick up your television and toss it across the room. This play pretty much describes the entire final month of the season for the Atlanta Braves, who went from a comfortable lead in the National League Wild Card race to missing the playoffs altogether, capping off one of the worst collapses in sports history. At least we can take some solace in the fact that the Boston Red Sox were right there with us.