Blogging The ESPYs – Part 2

A couple of additions to part 1 based on e-mails.

Best Game: Buffalo Sabres/New York Rangers, Game 6. The game where the Rangers led 1-0 through the entire game until the Sabres tied it at 1 with about nine seconds left and proceeded to win it in overtime. Bears/Cardinals “THEY WERE WHAT WE THOUGHT THEY WERE” game… high comedy.

Best Moment: Twins take the AL Central on the last day of the season.

Best Championship Performance: someone told me that LeBron’s performance nomination was based on the Eastern Conference Championship.

And just a note. The * I put in best baseball player was meant to denote that I was using 2006 statistics. I just forgot to put the note in.

Moving on.

Best Coach Or Manager

The field was Tony Dungy (Colts), Billy Donovan (Florida Gators), Jim Leyland (Detroit Tigers), Gregg Popovich (Spurs), and Pat Summitt (Lady Vols).

Not on the list… National League Manager of the Year Joe Girardi who took a team full of rookies with a $14 million payroll and kept them in contention until late August. Eric Mangini who took a squad expected to win six games and brought them to a wildcard berth. Ron Gardenhire who managed the Twins to a comeback and took the AL Central from the wire-to-wire Tigers on the last day of the season. Don Nelson who almost coached Avery Johnson out of a job by upsetting the Western Conference one-seed.

And this is before we even get in to who actually won. Tony Dungy. Really? Guy who had the best quarterback and receiver in the league Tony Dungy? Not the guy who repeated in the NCAA Tournament, or the guy who led a team to a 25-game improvement and a World Series berth for the first time since 1984? Not the guy who just won his fourth ring with his team? But Tony Dungy, who has been paired with the best quarterback in the league since 2002 and just finally GOT to the Super Bowl, much less won it. And he’s better than all those other guys? Really?

I file Tony Dungy under the Pat Riley and Phil Jackson rule. Both guys happened to be at the helm when the greatest players of the time were on their teams. This doesn’t make them awesome coaches… it makes them guys in the right place at the right time.

Best Team

The Colts. Not the team that won the NCAA Tournament two years in a row. Not the team that just won its fourth NBA title. The Colts. There is no universe where these two awards make sense. Only in the universe where the fans voting don’t actually watch sports. Shockingly, the Colts were there to accept the award. This is where the non-ESPN sports fan, and the cynical, look at the ESPY awards and roll their eyes. Of the nominees, Tony Dungy is the least deserving men’s coach on the list of nominees and even less deserving than the other guys I listed. As for best team: this Colt team has gone 89-39 (.695 Winning %) since Peyton Manning’s pitiful 3-13 rookie season. In that stretch, they’ve won 1 title. Look at every single other nominee. Billy Donovan’s Florida team, in the last two years, went 68-11 (.860) with 2 Conference Titles and 2 National Championships. The Spurs, in the time that Manning’s been in the league, have gone 503-203 (.712) with four championships. And somewhere in all of this, the Colts are the best team? Do you want the list of arguments for why the Colts should have won this title? Peyton Manning makes a lot of commercials, Sportscenter loves him, and he was there. That’s it.

Best Record Breaking Performance

The List: LaDainian Tomlinson’s 28 rushing touchdowns, Bob Knight’s 880 career wins, and two other things that probably garnered .002% of the vote. The winner was LaDainian Tomlinson (the nickname stealing whore) who broke Shaun Alexander’s 27 rushing touchdowns in a season… which Alexander shared with Priest Holmes who took the title from Emmitt Smith in 2003. So, in case you’re keep track at home, the winner of this category broke a record that had for exactly three seasons. Maybe my opinion is tainted on this because I feel career records are far, far more impressive than single-season records. Career records show extended periods of awesome instead of one season where everything breaks right for you.

I also dislike Nickname-Stealer with every fiber of myself.

Best Male Athlete

I don’t watch tennis religiously… I don’t know anyone that does. I do watch finals, which means I usually get to watch Tennis Cyborg Roger Federer beat the bejesus out of some guy who shouldn’t even be on the court with him. And, because Federer had more important things to do last Wednesday, they decided to give the ESPY award for best male athlete to LDT.

It’s mind-numbing things like this that makes the ESPYs kind of a joke. Ladainian Tomlinson is a better athlete than Federer? Tomlinson is a really good running back. Federer might be the best tennis player I’ve ever seen. Tomlinson isn’t even the best running back I’ve ever watched… but because Federer doesn’t show up at these events, he doesn’t win these awards. It’s ridiculous. Federer is the best player in his game in any game right now… and it’s a grueling game where four to five hours of on-going activity is the norm. He’s the best athlete in any major sport, hands down, and the fact ESPN could even suggest otherwise is asinine. Tomlinson is an excellent back who had an awesome season and will get into Canton because everyone gets into Canton. Federer will be remembered as one of the greatest tennis players ever.

So with apologies to my un-named friend, I still can’t stand the ESPYs. They’re the MTV movie awards of sports.

And no, that’s not a good thing.