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Sports fans should give thanks

The grid: Be grateful for world-class athletes ... and their shameful screwups

On the field



Second chances

Thanks to Michael Vick’s second shot at football and life. Love him, hate him or never forgive him, Vick has been the NFL’s most compelling storyline. Rewind that Redskins-Eagles tape and it’s clear why Andy Reid gave him a shot. Vick’s play is straight out of Tecmo Super Bowl.

The Chase format
Thanks to NASCAR for giving us the best playoff in any major sport this year. And a thanks to Jimmie Johnson for being the most dominating athlete of the year. We can’t decide what was better, the final race at Homestead, or all the head games and strategies leading up to it.

Alex Ovechkin
Thanks to the most underappreciated athlete playing in ’Merica. He lights the lamp like Edison, dances in public like nobody’s watching, and recently, made out with two chicks during a magazine interview. Now go watch hockey.


Off the field




Mobile technology

Thanks to the nerds who created texting, we got sexting ... from aging athletes who had no idea the messages stick around forever. We’d also like to thank braniacs like Jenn Sterger and the long list of plastic porn stars who saved hilariously awkward voicemails from Brett Favre and Tiger Woods.

Phone interviews

Thanks to this lost art, which has been overshadowed by Skyping and video chatting. Some things are just better left up to the imagination, such as Dennis Rodman’s interview earlier this week with a Miami radio station. Rodman was in his bedroom, with a busy girl ... just go take a listen.

Twitter
Thanks to this social media network, loud-mouth athletes can tweet everything from injury updates to what they ate for dinner to good ol’ trash talk. Chad Ochocinco launched his own brand of condoms on Twitter and Darnell Dockett wrote this gem: “Vick doing so good, he got dogs cheering for him.”


Out of your mind



Cecil Newton
Thanks to Cam Newton’s father, who will ultimately be responsible for the end of the BCS. The pressure his son now faces will cost Auburn the Iron Bowl on Friday, which will push Boise State into the title game, which will force the NCAA to blow up the BCS and adopt a playoff system.

Restless fans
Thanks to them, we have classic YouTube clips from the first half of the NFL?season — from a lap dance at Jerry World that you won’t even see on a good night in Vegas to a fist fight at New Meadowlands Stadium when the lights went out. So we?guess a thanks to alcohol is in order, too.

Medical marijuana

Thanks to California’s legalized drug of choice, which made the MLB playoffs must-see TV. Smoke wafted in the bleachers during San Francisco’s improbable run to a World Series. Closer Brian Wilson: “I don’t know what it is. Maybe the electricity of the crowd, maybe the smell of Prop 19.


On the mike



“Dancing with the Stars”
Thanks to this guilty pleasure for adding Erin Andrews as a contestant. Sure, we liked watching her, but the bigger benefit was her blowing up outside the sports blogosphere and into the mainstream. She got too big for ESPN’s sidelines, and because of that we were introduced to Jenn Brown.

No more Joe Morgan
Thanks to ESPN for finally canning the blowhard announcer, who provided about as much insight as a Tim Wakefield knuckleball. Actually, that’s an insult to Wakefield.


Behind your back



Brent Barry’s wife
Thanks to Tony Parker, Eva Longoria and Erin Barry. With the real “Big 3” tanking in Miami, this alleged sexting debacle has given the NBA a new, unlikely “Big 3.” For once, the Spurs are actually interesting. It’ll be fun to follow this now that both couples have filed for divorce. metro


 
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