First things first – the most important health news you will receive – EVER. You’re welcome.
LATE ADD - Thursday NFL Pick:
Colts (-3) over JAGUARS
Coach Caldwell wants to rest his players and the players want to go for the undefeated season. Something tells me the Colts will blow up the Jags early in an attempt to put the game away before Caldwell can take them out.
As we begin to wrap up 2009, instead of listing off the top movies or songs or albums or something of the year, I decided to take a little trip back in time. So hop in the Delorean with Marty McFly, fire it up with one-point-twenty-one jiggawatts of power and let’s set the destination to January 1, 2009. Let’s look at things we were pretty certain of at that time, and how they ended up playing out during the year. And next week I’ll come up with the things we believe at the end of 2009.
Belief #1: Brett Favre is retired and going to (finally) disappear into the vast farmland of Mississippi. After trying to force his way to the Vikings, Brett ended up with one poor season in New York hampered by a torn bicep, and it appeared pretty obvious to everyone that his tank had run dry and that he would finally hang up the cleats for good.
End of Year Reality #1: Favre did in fact retire in February 2009, blubbering like a little baby and telling ESPN that “there is no chance” he’ll play football again. Yet we all saw the ridiculous circus that ensued, with Favre denying that the Vikings had reached out to him, then eventually having his driver, Coach Brad Childress, pick him up from the airport. Favre is now among the favorites to win the league MVP, leading Minnesota to an 11-2 record. While some may have predicted the return to the game, very few people expected him to play as well as he has. Level of Surprise: Kim Kardashian Sex Tape (intriguing, but not really surprising)
Belief #2: The Arizona Cardinals were lucky to sneak into the playoffs by winning a terrible division, and would quickly be eliminated by the 11-5 Atlanta Falcons. The Cardinals won the putrid NFC West early and coasted the final weeks of the season. They looked like easy prey for Matt Ryan, Michael Turner and the Falcons.
End of the Year Reality #2: The Cards got hot in the playoffs, squeaked by Falcons, flattened the Panthers on the road, and beat the Eagles in Phoenix to advance to the Super Bowl. Suddenly the Cards offense was among the most dangerous in the league and their defense was playing as well as any team in the league. The end result was they were a few seconds, inches and an amazing Santonio Holmes tip toe in the endzone from being the Super Bowl champs. Kurt Warner was making you seriously consider him as a potential Hall-of-Famer, completing a comeback that could only be rivaled by the turnaround his wife made from resembling Annie Lennox of the Eurythmics (look her up kids) to being kind of a sneaky snicky. Level of Surprise: Carrie Prejean Sex Tape (we knew she had it in her)
Belief #3: Tiger Woods was coming off knee surgery, primed to continue his assault on Jack Nicklaus’s record 18 majors. He won the 2008 US Open on one leg, so there was no doubt that he would be able to rehab quickly and continue to dominate the PGA Tour. And as if his professional life didn’t seem good enough, he had a Swedish model for a wife with one beautiful kid and a baby due in a few months.
End of the Year Reality #3: He won 7 events on the tour and took home his second FedEx Cup championship. For almost 11 months, the year had gone exactly how you would have expected for Tiger. However, there was a reason he was so big on privacy, as his entire empire eventually collapsed around him due to his “transgressions” with a harem of women, concerns over his extreme gambling habits and most recently potential ties to a Canadian doctor with hook-ups for HGH. He has become the butt of numerous jokes using the slogans of many of the products he endorsed:
“Is it in you? It’s in every skank in town!” (Gatorade)
“Just Do It! Literally!” (Nike)
“Go On Be A Tiger – In the Bedroom!” (Accenture)
“The Best a Man Can Get – A Perkins Waitress, Really?” (Gillette)
He’s taken an indefinite leave from golf as his wife has moved out with the kids and she is parading in public without her wedding ring. His endorsements are drying up and he’s not speaking to his celebrity friends. No one ever could have predicted this. Level of Surprise: Tiger Woods Scandal (his own level at the very highest of surprises)
Belief #4: In December 2008, the Yankees signed C.C. Sabathia and A.J. Burnett to fix their pitching woes and help them pass the Red Sox and Rays for the AL East title. As of January 1, they were just in talks with Mark Teixeira, to join them. With a rotation of CC, AJ, Pettite, Wang, and Joba, they were expected to pitch their way to the title.
End of Year Reality #4: That’s exactly what happened. The team added Teixeira to bolster the offense, and in the playoffs they switched to a 3-man rotation, relying solely on Sabathia, Burnett & Pettite through the playoffs. Despite Alex Rodriguez admitting to using steroids and missing the early part of the season to recover from hip surgery, he started dating Kate Hudson, settled down and became clutch. Level of Surprise: Liberace and Clay Aiken playing for the other team (duh)
Belief #5: Tim Tebow and the Florida Gators were preparing to take on the Oklahoma Sooners for the national championship in Miami. Tebow was as powerful and unstoppable as the Most Interesting Man in the World from the Dos Equis commercials. The question was not whether he would win the championship, it was whether he would come back for his senior season, win another Heisman Trophy and a win a third championship.
End of the Year Reality #5: Tebow and the Gators did win the championship on January 8th and Tebow did come back for his senior season. Yet everything changed when Taylor Wyndham of Kentucky came free late in a blow out game and knocked Tebow unconscious, sending him to the hospital with a severe concussion. Suddenly he was human, there was renewed concern about his ability to play quarterback at the next level and it became clear that he was a great leader, but not among the best players in the country. He came back to play in two weeks and still was a finalist for the Heisman (finishing 5th), but the team lost their chance at a National Championship, and the aura of Tebow was broken. Level of Surprise: Jessica Simpson broke up with another boyfriend (inevitable at some point)
Belief #6: Michael Jackson had disappeared from the public radar and had become a reclusive star. There were rumors of financial trouble when he sold his Neverland ranch, and rumors of failing health when he was seen in a wheelchair. However, there was no reason to believe there would be any news around him.
End of the Year Reality #6: Michael came out in February and announced he would be doing 10 “curtain call” concerts in London. At 50 years old, he began preparing himself to put on the shows. Unfortunately, on June 25th Michael Jackson went into cardiac arrest and died, surrounded by questions regarding his personal doctor and the care and prescriptions he was receiving. The public outcry of emotion and tributes to the King of Pop continued for several months and included him posthumously collecting a handful of American Music Awards. Level of Surprise: Betty Draper finding out about Don’s secret life (no one’s rooting for it, but it was going to happen at some point)
Bonus Belief: Obama was about to take office, walk on water, bring together both parties, stop the war, solve the economic woes and fix world hunger in his spare time. The expectations were through the roof for a young politician coming out of the dirty political pool that is Chicago and Illinois.
End of Year Bonus Reality: We’re still waiting. Other than having “Cash for _______” programs, he has more rounds of golf played than problems solved. Obviously most of these problems are not quick-fixes, but we’ve seen his approval rating sink faster than Jay Leno’s ratings. I think his only campaign promise that he kept was when he said he wanted a playoff in college football, and the Senate subcommittee actually voted on it. (sorry to get political, but it is what it is) Level of Surprise: Michael Jordan's Hall of Fame Speech (suddenly falling off the pedestal)