- Concussions in NFL
The NFL is finally acknowledging that they need to do something about the number of concussions that are occurring in the league. They recently passed a rule that makes it illegal for a player to come back and play on the same day that the injury occurred. This is not nearly enough. The players need to be protected with stricter rules or else they will be expected to return to the practice field too soon after their injuries. They should be forced to sit out a week of contact in practice and the next game. They should be cleared by an outside physician before returning to play.
The league is recognizing the problem, but now the onus is on them to ensure that appropriate measures are taken to reduce future risks. Research into new helmet technology and even possible weight limits being imposed onto linemen are some proposals that are being proposed, and it’s a great start. No one is expecting immediate results, but this new rule is a far cry from where the NFL needs to be headed.
What is not needed is new rules that rule out helmet to helmet hits. The idea of running backs not being able to lower their heads into an on-coming defender is being proposed. This is ludicrous. If the league tries to alter the natural instincts of the runners there will be even more injuries – though not to the head – to the players. Football is a contact sport and should be treated as such.
2) Kobe wins one on his own
2009 marks the year that Kobe Bryant finally stepped out of Shaq’s massive shadow and proved himself as the superstar he was always expected to be. While O’Neal has yet to win (or even go to) an NBA championship without a dominant guard on his side (see Penny Hardaway, Kobe Bryant, and Dwayne Wade), Kobe has proven that he can win without the strong supporting cast. I am not trying to discount the contributions of Pau Gasol or Derrick Fisher, but Kobe took out the Orlando Magic by imposing his will on them over the six game set.
His statistics (32.4ppg, 7.4apg, 5.6rpg, 43.8min/g) were unbelievable, but didn’t tell the whole story. He took over games when it mattered and owned the series the way MJ did in his prime. Great players step up on the big stage, and no one can doubt now that Bryant – with his 4th NBA Title – is among the greatest to ever play the game.
3) Home Run Drought (for individual players, as it relates to PED….only 5 players with 40+ HR, none in the AL)
I am not saying that PEDs are as rampant in MLB as some would claim. I am also not going to say conclusively that the league drug-testing policy is working at all. I will say, though that homeruns are in decline since 2006. The MLB total for HRs in 2006 was a whopping 5,386, but only 4,655 in 2009 This number is down from 4,878 during the 2008 season. The trend raises some questions about what has been happening since steroid use has become a topic of debate.
No individual player has eclipsed the 50HR mark in the past two seasons, and only 6 players have amassed 40 or more in a single season (Ryan Howard has done this twice). In the 2009 season, no American League player reached 40HR. This dip in power may be seen as a good thing by many fans of the game, and a sign that the leagues new drug policy is working. However, I think it raises the more disturbing question of how rampant PED use was over the past decade. How many records were obtained legitimately? Which career totals are now tainted? Is there any way that MLB can fully recover from the devastation that PEDs have caused over the past few years?
Worst Decision of the Year – Tiger Woods (does that require more explanation?)
Tiger Woods has a beautiful life. He is rich beyond any athlete in the history of professional sports. He has a gorgeous wife and two children. He is arguably the single most dominant golfer in history and one of the most renowned athletes in the world. His endorsements bring him more money than his golf earning. And the media loves him despite not knowing much about his personal life. What could he possibly do to make 2009 the most memorable year of his career?
A sex scandal would be a start. Throw in possible drug use, a body count (as in women he supposedly slept with) that has passed double digits, his wife – allegedly – assaulting his car window with a golf club, and many of his sponsors dropping him from the payroll, and you have the biggest sports story of the year.
Woods went from icon to villain within a week of this story breaking and his endorsements couldn’t bail on him quick enough. All because he let his mistresses leave voicemail and text messages on a phone that wasn’t password locked. Get a password Tiger! Easily the worst decision of 2009.
Best UFC Fight of 2009 – Sanchez v. Guida @ TUF Season 9 Finale
- There was almost no technical skill on display as these two men brawled on June 20, 2009. What was on display was three rounds on non-stop ferocity and fist-flailing action. Though the fight was highlighted by one high kick that Sanchez implanted into Guida’s skull, the fight had more action than the entire rest of the card. Nothing even came close to this one in terms of intensity and violence. Forget 2009, this was possibly the most entertaining fight in the history of the UFC.
Walk of Shame Award – Tebow #5 at the Heisman
I can’t remember the last time I saw five Heisman finalists invited to the presentation ceremony. I can’t remember the last time I felt sorry for someone who was one of the five best college football players in the country. That all changed when Tim Tebow showed up at the Heisman award ceremony.
A mere two years ago he hoisted the most coveted individual award in college football, but this season he finished 5th. Yet, because his name is Tim Tebow, he was asked to be on hand despite the fact that he didn’t finish in the top four in voting. While he was easily the biggest name of all the finalists (Colt McCoy was the only returning nominee), he should have been spared his dignity when they knew he wasn’t going to come close to winning.
I laughed when the Gators lost to the Tide and the camera kept showing Tebow in tears on the sideline, but this was a bit much even for me. He has represented the NCAA better than anyone in recent memory, and they slapped him in face so that they could get better ratings. He can be proud of what he accomplished at Florida, both with the team and as an individual, but it was embarrassing to be forced to sit there when no other 5th place finalist has ever had to do the same.
Best Movie – The Hangover
What makes a good movie? Is it non-stop laughter, guns and violence, nudity, profanity, wild animals, awesome cameos, true love, and masturbating babies? Well, The Hangover has all of these things in abundance (well, there was only one baby…but still). From the opening scene to the final credit, this movie was more entertaining than any comedy I have seen in a few years. If Zach Galifianakis doesn’t win an award for supporting actor I give up on Hollywood (more than I already have). If Bradley Cooper doesn’t end up with more job offers than Ben Stiller and the Wilson brothers combined, I give up on humanity. If anyone did not enjoy this movie then I have a quote from The Hangover co-star Ed Helms to direct to you, “You are literally too stupid to insult.”