It is not an easy task to put together a list, such as the Greatest Sports Moments of 2012, specifically because so many things happen in any given year that it’s all but impossible to universally gauge which one event or person is greater than another. But since we’re just a couple dudes who like to make fun of stuff and almost always ignore actual sports news, it’s really quite easy.
With that said, here’s a quick breakdown of how our team of fact checkers and sports analyst number crunchers determine which people, places and things were the most important and influential in 2012...
1) Did that person or event suck?
2) If so, did it really suck or did it just suck according to standard blogger definitions?
3) On the other hand, was that person or event awesome?
4) Was that person or event an attractive female?
5) Did it involve Tim Tebow or ESPN’s love affair with him?
6) At any point, did this person or event cause you to say some variation of the phrase, “This f*cking guy/team/city”?
7) Was a meme born of this person’s or event’s success and/or mistake?
8) When we look back on it, do we feel stupid for promoting it?
9) Was that person or event a really attractive female?
10) Seriously. We really like attractive females.
Basically, this list is sort of like my FilmDrunk Worst Movies of 2012 feature, except it’s more positive, and while you’ll still yell at me for forgetting something, there’s less of a chance that you’ll call me a hater and/or tell me that I’m being too negative. I mean, you still can if you want, but I’ll probably cry.
That said, here are With Leather’s Biggest, Most Incredible, Unbelievable, Shouted About Sports Moments Of 2012… right after a quick side note.
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A lot of really terrible events happen during any given year, and 2012 was certainly no exception. While we pray to Jeebus and all of the other gods across the great religious buffet in the sky that we won’t experience any more awful events in the final two weeks of this year, we never feel comfortable about sandwiching them between posts about Kate Upton and WWE Raw either.
So if you came here to demand reasons as to why we aren’t talking about the Penn State football scandal, Javon Belcher’s murder/suicide, Junior Seau’s suicide, Pat Summitt’s battle with Alzheimer’s, Jerry Brown’s death, people destroying their cities after sporting events, or anything else that made us sad this year, it’s because we try to make people happy. That’s what we’re good at.
With THAT said, here are With Leather’s Biggest, Most Incredible, Unbelievable, Shouted About Sports Moments Of 2012… right after one more quick side note.
Obviously a lot of stuff happens in one year and I can’t squeeze all of it into one post without having to write 19,000 words and that’s a lot of variations of the word “breasts”. Here are some of the people and events that were intriguing enough to make our honorable mentions list for 2012:
Robert Griffin III’s “Blackness” – Rob Parker and his race-baiting don't deserve the Mountain Dew backwash that I’ve spilled on my filthy old college sweater three times while writing this. Nor does he deserve one flake of the Cheetos dust that is caked on my keyboard. At least more than I just gave him.
Miguel Cabrera’s Triple Crown – While it was certainly awesome to watch a Major League Baseball player accomplish something that I didn’t think I’d ever see in my lifetime, I’m still exhausted from people arguing about whether or not he deserved MVP. That was seriously the dumbest argument of the year.
Angels and Dodgers are the New Yankees and Red Sox – That Left Coast pissing contest is really going to be something to watch these next few years. Maybe the Angels will even learn that they need pitchers other than Jered Weaver.
Frank McCourt’s Bailout – Speaking of the Dodgers, it was so nice to see that yet another wealthy American could blow his fortune and run a sports franchise into the ground, and still walk away with a ton of money once the league helps him sell it. At least Bud Selig had enough scruples to stop McCourt from using all of the Dodgers’ TV money on his divorce.
Peyton Manning’s Free Agency – As someone who has been blessed by Manning’s re-rise to prominence in fantasy football, this wasn’t really as big of a deal. After all, the Indianapolis Colts are having a great season, so there’s no loser. Except the teams that didn’t get Manning, of course.
Hope Solo has Bad Taste in Men – Jerramy Stevens. Seriously. She’s a few years away from Celebrity Boxing against Tonya Harding.
Alex Smith Got a Raw Deal – But his concussion also opened the door for Colin Kaepernick and his pet tortoise, so this is a wash.
So Long Big East – I would have added conference realignment to the Top 20, but I’m so confused and am terrified to learn what is actually happening.
A Freshman Won the Heisman Trophy - Johnny Manziel scored something like 50 touchdowns this season. Cool. How many people called him Johnny Manzier? Not enough. Not enough.
Okay, so how about that list of With Leather’s Biggest, Most Incredible, Unbelievable, Shouted About Sports Moments Of 2012? Right after this gallery of nude pics of Emma Stone. Wait, what? You just want the list? Fine. Geez.
When I was drafting my fantasy basketball team in our Supreme Awesome Sports Bloggers (and Burnsy) League, I definitely organized my draft list by “Guys Most Likely to Freak Out and Punch a Bro in the Nuts” and I was elated to grab Nicolas Batum in the 5th round, because that dude makes triple doubles with his testicle slaughter.
Batum, of course, played enforcer for France in the 2012 Summer Olympics, where he took out his entire team’s frustrations on Spain’s Juan Carlos Navarro’s cajones. Batum and the Frenchies had accused Navarro of flopping and the entire Spanish team of tanking against Brazil so they could avoid Team USA.
Didn’t matter, bitches! U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!
Normally I wouldn’t even mention the four-letter network in something about the “best” or “biggest” moments of the year, but the Worldwide Leader cared more this year about being in the news than it did reporting it. It started with Skip Bayless and the First Take team increasing their trolling efforts to full blown ogre by disguising their work as an “open debate format”.
Thankfully, the watchdogs at Deadspin made ESPN’s baffling behavior tolerable, from Lynn Hoppes’ loose interpretations of plagiarism to the unabashed and unapologetic worship of Tim Tebow. Nothing changed, of course, but at least Deadspin made it fun. As did the guy who made the airbrushed Bayless shirt.
Filed under "Things We Wouldn't Do Unless You Made Kate Upton Strip Down and Hold a Bag of Diamonds in Front of Us", daredevil Felix Baumgartner, in cooperation with his nice endorsement deal with Red Bull, became a household name when he climbed to the ceiling of Earth just to jump 24 miles back to the ground. We all watched on YouTube with white knuckles and goosebumps as Baumgartner broke the sound barrier while reaching speeds as high as Mach 1.24, whatever that means.
I still think about it every time I have a panic attack climbing a ladder to change a light bulb. But we're all daredevils in our own right, I guess.
When the Boston Red Sox hired Bobby Valentine, I was like, “Why?” What on Earth could have possibly made them think that the clown prince of coaching was a good choice to repair the clubhouse mess in the wake of Terry Francona’s departure?
Look, I love laughing at other teams’ misfortunes, and I certainly enjoyed watching Valentine suffer and suck air on the field like that fish in the Faith No More “Epic” video as his own fans openly cheered for the sky to open and Cthulhu to scream down and shove lightning into his butt until he powered all of Peabody through 2015, but it was just painful after a while. So nobody hire that dude again.
Jeremy Lin was a fun story for what he was - a squeaky clean kid from Harvard who suddenly stepped in and lifted the New York Knicks on his shoulders while Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire failed to find chemistry or health. But stories like that die quickly in New York City, because that town is, of course, the very heart of this planet's evil, and we can't have happy stories there. The Knicks knew that. That's why they let Lin leave to sign with the Houston Rockets.
Well, that and because Anthony didn't want him. But if you want proof of how evil of a place NYC is, just look at how readily and happily they destroyed Lin for leaving. "How dare you not want to play professional sports in New York," Satan shouted as he sucked the soul out of a newborn child and fed it into David Stern's mouth like a baby bird.
Man, this was a divisive little story, eh? One of my blogging associates argued with me that this would qualify under my sad news rule and I disagreed for the most part. Sure, it sucks that Lance Armstrong had to walk away from his own charity and is trying to save face through this ridiculous scandal of the International Cycling Union, or Union Cycliste Internationale as I have been corrected on every time, basically nuking his entire image.
I don't hate the guy, by any means, because he's definitely inspired so many people and has helped raise a ton of money for charity. But how can you read that he gave up defending himself against the UCI and ever take his inspirational scene in Dodgeball seriously again? Welcome to the era of the antihero.
After all of the hate and through so many attempts to assassinate the character of LeBron James and how the Miami Heat put together their super team, they won. They won the NBA Finals and they won the battle with their haters. Will they win the eleventy billion titles that James and Dwyane Wade promised us when they threw their little soiree after they teamed up? Probably. It's the NBA, where unfair happens. But I'll be content as long as we keep getting treasures like this...
As we enter Day 328,765,387,268,567,852 of the NHL Lockout, I feel bad for my friends who are fans of the world's 12th most popular sport. Sure, Gary Bettman hates NHL fans and thinks the players are completely worthless, and sure, the owners agree with him and want to be as greedy as humanly possible, even if it means losing some of the game's great stars and any chance at ever being back on ESPN. But the rich have to get richer somehow, people.
We may not have hockey this season, and that sucks, because I always look forward to pretending that I know anything about the NHL beyond the phrases "Ice Girls" and "The St. Louis Blues have been eliminated from the playoffs". But it will be back, friends. In the meantime, if you want to really hate how a professional sport is run, check out the NBA to see which major market team Kevin Love will be traded to this season.
If for any reason at all, we wanted the NFL's Bountygate ordeal to be over because OH MY GOD STOP ADDING -GATE TO CONTROVERSIES BECAUSE WATERGATE HAPPENED 40 YEARS AGO AND WE CAN THINK OF BETTER THINGS! Also, the entire situation was a humiliating mess for the NFL, commissioner Roger Goodell, New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson, coach Sean Payton, Jonathan Vilma, and I guess Gregg Williams, but nobody really ggives a ccrap about that gguy.
Perhaps an example needed to be made of a team for employing bounty systems, because paying players to intentionally hurt players is wrong. But this sh*t got out of hand. And if Payton ends up with the Dallas Cowboys as a result, I fear for Goodell's future on this or any other planet.
UGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGH... *deep breath*
UGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGH. Thank you for winning gold medals for America, Ryan. Now please go away until the next time we need you to swim.
It takes a very special kind of friend to let a bro bang his babe in a room that may or may not have a hidden camera, but that's what you can expect when you call a man named "Bubba the Love Sponge" your best pal. That said, I still have not watched more than :14 of the Hulk Hogan sex tape, because as a person living on a budget, I appreciate the money that I spend on food and view violent regurgitation as a fiscal waste. Nobody should ever want to watch, nor should they be exposed to, a 60-year old man hyperventilating through intercourse.
Additionally, I would like to submit this list of male professional wrestlers who should not make sex tapes:
I'm looking forward to when we finally become big enough blogging stars that VH1 invites me to appear on "Hey, Remember the 10's?" so I can be that guy who says, "Hey, remember replacement refs? Whatever happened to those guys?" And then I'll completely retell the story of how Golden Tate tricked the NFL's scab refs into thinking he caught a hail Mary pass to give the Seattle Seahawks the win, when it was really an interception. OR WAS IT? Because maybe Tate really did catch the ball. Just kidding, he didn't. And then I'll tack on my signature comedy catch phrase, "CHEEEEEEEEESE FRIES".
But seriously, I miss the replacement refs. They were so much fun to hate before we had to go back to hating regular referees.
While it's no Bartman or hardly even an Electric Slide, I'd say that the "McKayla is Not Impressed" face was arguably the meme of the year, especially since Burnsying (forgetting to wear pants) never really caught on. A lot of people initially saw McKayla Maroney's facial quirk after she failed to win gold in the vault finals - settling instead for a stupid, worthless silver medal - was a sign of disrespect to the gold medal winner, that girl whose name no one will ever remember.
But this is America, fam. We celebrate people for being pissed off all the time, so why should a 16-year old world class athlete be any different?
(Close Runner-Up for Meme of the Year: Pooping Olympic Divers. That was f*cking journalism, folks.)
In a college football season that saw a freshman win the Heisman Trophy, new SEC teams writing adorable "Thanks for having us" songs, Nick Saban's daughter allegedly beating the crap out of one of her sorority sisters and a grown man being sentenced for teabagging a fan of a rival team, it's safe to say that 2012 will forever be one of the stranger seasons on record. Of course, it's only fitting that it would be topped off with the return of Notre Dame football to the top of the rankings, as we're now left to choose if we want a team that sweeps scandal under the rug to win a title or if we'd rather have business as usual with Saban, Alabama and the SEC.
Seasons like this are why we need the Lingerie League to be more prominent.
While ESPN devoted thousands of hours to coverage of New York Jets backup QB Tim Tebow this year, other networks pretended to scorn ESPN only to blow Tebow in their own special ways, and the virgins of New York rallied around their ultimate icon, most of us NFL fans couldn't even stand the site of his face by Week 1. It's not necessarily his fault, because he's obviously a good dude and he doesn't entirely bring it on himself, but for some reason there were untold millions of people out there who just couldn't get enough of the vanilla ice cream of professional sports, as if he was about to suddenly erupt into a wild orgy outside the gates of hell.
Tebow's stats with two weeks left in the NFL's regular season: 6/8 passing for 39 yards, o TD/0 INT. And he still hasn't accepted his free lap dance from Rick's Cabaret.
Wayne Gretzky is one of the greatest NHL players of all-time, if not the greatest. And he did a pretty damn fine job in procreating, too. Even if it is likely to shave about 10 years off his life, as evidenced by him demanding that his daughter, the lovely Paulina Gretzky (celebrating her 24th birthday today), remove all of her scandalous pictures from her Twitter account earlier this year. Thank God for Instagram.
You would have thought that LeBron James' "Decision" would have been a blueprint for professional athletes, or at least NBA players, looking to escape the dismal situations on their smaller market teams. You would have thought that it would have shown them that keeping quiet and showing some humility and respect to the fans would have been the smart way to go. Dwight Howard apparently missed that entire program and just decided to not only completely trash his reputation, but also make James look like an angel in the process.
But that's come and gone, and Howard has moved on to helping Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers win another NBA title. And eventually, Howard will fulfill his ultimate destiny...
Ronda Rousey had already won our hearts and respect as the brash, trash-talking women's champion of Strikeforce, but now she's broken through to the biggest octagon of them all as the first-ever women's champion of the UFC. It's a considerable feat, because UFC President Dana White famously said that he'd never have women fighters in the UFC, but then dudes were all like, "Sup, Ronda Rousey?" and then White's eyeballs turned into dollar signs. I hope he saw a doctor for that.
Also: Ronda Rousey > Rhonda Robistelli
Probably my favorite thing of 2012 in general. Especially once a Deadspin commenter gave us the reverse Lakers Bros.
This was simply the greatest example of on-the-ball camera work, not only in the NBA but sports in general. So it clearly must have taken something purely magnificent and heaven-sent to top these fantastic bros...
Sure, we may have been called perverts by the HuffPo and Daily Mail for unleashing amateur track phenom Michelle Jenneke's dancing ways on the world during the summer. And sure, she hung out with other bloggers and pretends like we don't exist. But damn it, if we only do one thing right in our lifetimes, we hope that it's helping to turn this girl into a star. Especially since, you know, she's a good athlete, too. People tend to think that's important. I guess we agree.