It is about that time of year when it is de rigueur to list the “Dozen Most Memorable Sports Moments of 2017” or something like that. As I went through my memory bank to create such a list, I could only come up with 10 memorable moments and they divided themselves into two categories. I came up with 5 “on-field” events that are memorable and 5 others that were equally memorable but did not have anything to do with any actual games.
Here are my 5 On-Field Events of 2017 that are most memorable:
- Clemson beat Alabama in the CFP for the national championship with a great last-minute TD drive.
- The Patriots came back from a 28-3 deficit in the 3rd quarter to beat the Falcons in the Super Bowl.
- Mississippi St. beat UConn in the Women’s basketball tournament snapping UConn’s 111-game winning streak.
- Serena Williams won the Australian Open while pregnant.
- The Astros beat the Dodgers in a most exciting World Series.
Here are my 5 Off-Field Events of 2017 that are most memorable.
- The FBI investigations into alleged fraud and payoffs in college basketball recruiting that led to the arrests of several assistant coaches.
- The NFL’s National Anthem protests.
- The Mayweather/McGregor promotional tour proving that their “fight” was nothing more than a moneygrab.
- Charles Oakley being led out of MSG by security because he and Knicks’ owner James Dolan are having a feud.
- Jerry Richardson deciding to sell the Panthers in the wake of revelations about his behaviors in the workplace.
Feel free to add to these lists. They were not given unto me atop a mountain…
I think everyone who has read these rants for even a short while knows that I have no time for any of the All-Star Games. Were I the Sports Czar, all of them would be canceled immediately. The NFL’s Pro Bowl is particularly untoward simply because even the players selected to the game do not want to be there. A significant fraction of them opt out of participating. Nevertheless, when I scanned the list of players selected for this year’s iteration, I was moved to go and find out what the Pro Bowl selection process was.
It turns out that fan voting counts for one-third of the Pro Bowl voting process. I had not known that and learning of that component to the selection process makes me even more skeptical of the final list. The other two-thirds of the vote is based on players’ votes and coaches’ votes as to who should make the teams. As I suspected, newspaper copy editors around the country have no say whatsoever as to who makes the teams and who does not. The reason for my suspicion is the selection of Kyle Juszczyk to the squad for the second year in a row.
Shea Patterson was a 5-star recruit and the top-ranked QB graduating from high school in 2016. He enrolled at Ole Miss and was slated to play behind Chad Kelly there, but Kelly suffered an injury in mid-season making Patterson the starter as a freshman. He played at Ole Miss for a season-and-a-half and then transferred to Michigan. The reason for the transfer is that Ole Miss has been hit with a bowl-ban and recruiting limitations based on a variety of shenanigans there. Rather than go through the sordid history, you can read a summary of the issues and events in this CBSSports.com report.
Due to the bowl-ban, it appears that Patterson need not sit out a season at Michigan as would be the case if he transferred there simply to enjoy the winters in Ann Arbor. This means that Michigan – and coach Jim Harbaugh – ought to have better QB production next year. The Wolverines were merely mediocre at QB this year and last year; the rest of the Michigan squads were solid. Patterson represents the high potential QB that Harbaugh’s teams have not had at Michigan; recall when Harbaugh had Andrew Luck at QB at Stanford, the team excelled.
So, next season ought to be very interesting for the Michigan fans and for those who may have had some doubts about Jim Harbaugh’s coaching legend. He has been at Michigan for 3 years and has played Michigan’s 2 biggest rivals – Ohio State and Michigan State – a total of 6 times. In those games, Michigan is 1-5; now it would appear as if Michigan has an upgrade at the QB position.
Of course, here in Curmudgeon Central, skepticism is commonplace; if there is a fly in the ointment, the objective here is to find it and shine a light on it. So, here goes:
- About that 5-star rating coming out of high school and the label as the top-ranked QB in the country that year, consider the case of Baker Mayfield who merely won this year’s Heisman Trophy.
- When Mayfield graduated from high school he was not even offered a scholarship at a single Division 1-A school; Mayfield was a walk-on at Texas Tech.
- When Mayfield transferred to Oklahoma, he was a walk-on there too and had to earn a scholarship there.
I think the 2018 season for Michigan football will be interesting from several vantage points…
Finally, here is a comment from Brad Dickson of the Omaha World-Herald that highlights the intersection of sports and politics:
“Former pro wrestler The Rock, aka Dwayne Johnson, may run for president in 2024. Jesse Ventura also made the leap from wrestling to politics. Why is it never the other way around? Orrin Hatch announces he’s stepping down to compete at Wrestlemania XXIII?”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………