Nothing proved that to us more this year than the sports world. Evidence and examples of dumb could be found everywhere from the January to December, and with 2012 being a leap year, we’ll even get an extra day of dumb. How fitting.
That’s not to say the sports year didn’t see its share of awesomeness. We had stories that inspired, stories that touched us and stories that reminded us that, hey, sports are pretty freaking awesome. We should never take that for granted, because a world without sports would be the very definition of dumb — not to mention unlivable.
For better or worse, though, we take that for granted. Some of us are incredibly negative, myself included, and we love to harp on the negative. As a society, we love to examine and critique the negativity, even with so many incredible things outside of our realm of doom and gloom.
And if you like criticizing others, questioning their decisions, the 2012 sports year was a year you absolutely ate up.
It truly was the year of dumb in sports, so let’s take a look at some of the dumbest with the first, and probably the last edition of The Dumb-ys.
The NHL, the NHLPA, Gary Bettman, Don Fehr, that stupid podium
The NHL had experienced something of a groundswell of success in the last few years. Some of the league’s biggest and most fervent markets, like Chicago, Boston and Los Angeles raised the Stanley Cup. The league finally got a fairly strong TV deal. Momentum was on the NHL’s side, but there was one thing looming in the back of every puckhead’s mind. That, of course, was the forthcoming expiration of the collective bargaining agreement. It came and went with no new deal, and here we sit at the end of 2012, and we haven’t seen hockey since June. We’re in the middle of a third lockout in 20 years, with the league and its players seemingly intent on destroying any sort of goodwill, momentum and interest it had built up since the last lockout, which came less than a decade ago. That’s unfathomable. Seriously. Are they trying to kill the league? The owners, with the help of Gary Bettman, imposed the lockout, so they get some blame. But so, too, do the players — or Donald Fehr at the least — for depriving of us of hockey. The league is now on the verge of cancelling its second season in less than 10 years. Again, that is absurd. Dumb with a capital D. How bad is it? We’re turning to (supposedly) Robert Luongo for comic relief. Take it away, BobLu.
HEY GARY! I miss getting lit up like a Christmas tree, can we please start the season already???—
Strombone (@strombone1) December 20, 2012
The New York Jets
This one is awesomely dumb. Remember when the Jets acquired Tim Tebow? There were so many people who rushed to criticize the Jets for the move. You know why they did that? Because it was a dumb move. Very rarely do we see moves as utterly incompetent from the beginning and it turns out to be truly dumb. The Jets accomplished that, of course. There is a dysfunction from the top of the organization on down to the bottom. Naturally, things have blown up in the team’s face, with the Jets set to miss the playoff and Greg McElroy ready to start for the team in Week 16. That one we didn’t see coming. New York was a circus to begin with, and they brought in the biggest circus attraction, which didn’t work out. Go figure. It is the ultimate “I told you so” circumstance. However, if Woody Johnson‘s plan the entire time was to attract attention, he has certainly done that. That would be brilliantly dumb. You gotta think (hope) they made this deal for on-field reasons too, which is why they are part of the year of dumb. The only thing that would make this better (now that the insufferable Fireman Ed has called it quits) would be if Brett Favre was somehow the Jets’ starting quarterback to open the 2013 season. This needs to happen.
Anyone on TV yelling at us
I swear to Tebow, if I have to listen to Skip Bayless scream about the quarterback situation for the Jets — a bad football team — for another minute, my head is going to explode. Thanks to the guys on ESPN’s First Take for giving sports media a bad name. Credit those people for catching lightning in a bottle with the Tebow storyline, which they took and ran with it. But shame on them for trying to extend that story into the summer — stakeouts at Jets camp, anyone? — and continuing it even as the Jets fell apart. The vision of Bayless screaming at whoever was across the table from him (anyone from the insufferable Stephen A. Smith to Lil Wayne) is just the worst. But he wasn’t alone in his jackassery on First Take. No, not by a long shot. Rob Parker earned his Dumb-y late in the year. Looking to follow Bayless’ lead as a lightning rod for controversy, Parker went after Robert Griffin III, calling the African-American quarterback a “cornball brother,” insinuating the QB wasn’t black enough. Forget the fact that Parker has no business questioning how “black” someone is, especially on TV, but Griffin has been nothing short of admirable since he stepped onto the big stage. He’s a guy who will never put a Dumb-y in his trophy case, but the same can’t be said for Bayless or Parker. Then again, I’m compiling a list of dumb things in sports, so something about stones in a glass house…
The seven-time Tour de France winner* isn’t dumb for cheating or even because he was caught. He’s dumb for just kind of being a jerk about everything. The alleged details of his cheating, in which he pretty much bullied his teammates and friends, were eye-opening. But what was really appalling was the way Armstrong reacted upon having his titles stripped. He’s yet to show any remorse and he’s basically acting like nothing ever happened. Everyone knows what happened, though, and you guessed it — it was dumb.
Here we have a fat, 39-year-old starting pitcher having his best season since his Cy Young season of 2005. Of course he was using performance-enhancing drugs. Colon was one of a handful of players nabbed for PED use this season, but he was probably the least surprising. Again, he was fat, old and coming off a shady medical procedure. You know what? Maybe this one should be us, for not suspecting something much, much sooner.
We’re going to look back on the first few weeks of the 2012 NFL season and won’t be able to wrap our heads around the fact that the league actually let incompetent, unqualified replacement referees oversee real-life tackle football games. The league got a look at how bad the replacements were during the preseason, but no deal could be struck with the real refs. So, the league decided that it could enter the season with the replacements. Entering the regular season with referees who weren’t good enough to find work in the Lingerie Football League? Hey, what could go wrong? Well, the answer to that question was “just about everything.” The new guys flat-out sucked. They were clueless. The game was too fast and the moments were too big. It all came to a head in Week 3 when the Packers were screwed out of a win on a last-second play in Seattle. Things got so bad that when the real refs did return a week later, they were treated like heroes coming back from war. People were begging for Walt Coleman to return. Walt Coleman! It was better than the alternative, though, so we were happy. Maybe we should remember that the next time Ed Hochuli takes 18 minutes to explain a pass interference call. And we should never, ever forget the dumbness that was the replacement referee era (or error, am I right?).
Dwight Howard, the Magic, the Lakers and that whole debacle
Dwight Howard is a nincompoop, but he’s a shining example that if you’re a 7-foot nincompoop in a league that values tall nincompoops that can play on both ends of the floor, you can act like a petulant child and still get your way. It’s the best. Here’s a guy who essentially quit on his team and acted like a spoiled brat. He changed his mind over and over, all before deciding that he would sign on to say with the Magic for at least one more year. Then, he changed his mind again, and decided he wanted out of Orlando after all. The Magic, knowing they had no choice and showing signs of nincompoop-ness themselves, relented. They sent Howard to Los Angeles to be insufferable with Kobe Bryant and the Lakers. For good measure, the Lakers added an aging Steve Nash to the fray, too. Things didn’t start well in LaLa Land, and Mike Brown was somehow blamed for it all. The Lakers brought in Mike D’Antoni, not Phil Jackson, and now there are issues with Pau Gasol. There’s dumb everywhere you look! Best of all, it’s only a matter of time before Howard acts up again. So much dumb.
Just … just watch this.
So there you have it. There are undoubtedly even more examples of dumb in the 2012 sports year, but that list should suffice. Here’s hoping 2013 is a little lighter on dumb, but don’t count on it.