What shall we call Charlotte’s NBA franchise?

So the greatest basketball player of all time is now the majority owner of the Charlotte Bobcats? This is a welcome change for NBA fans in my home town, since Charlotte basketball fans have had the displeasure of two seriously sub-par ownership groups.

George Shinn brought the expansion Charlotte Hornets to town and enjoyed a pretty nice honeymoon of about ten years before his habit of not paying for good players, coupled with his public extramarital exploits, with the cherry on top of demands for a new arena (the latter being the only excusable negative) made him “public enemy #1″ in the Queen City. Shinn and co-owner Ray Woolridge (who became the public face of the ownership as things went downhill) took their team and the Hornets name to New Orleans in 2002, leaving behind an ash heap of burned (and very angry) fans.
Continue reading “What shall we call Charlotte’s NBA franchise?”

Are the Minnesota Vikings’ fans the most tortured in sports?

There is a good case to be made that, after last night’s loss in the NFC Championship Game, the Minnesota Vikings propelled their own fan base into the pole position for the most tortured fans in sports. Examine the evidence and judge for yourselves.

The franchise was borne from expansion in the NFL in 1960. This was a day and age when expansion teams took several years to even be competitive. In that respect, the Vikings were a little behind the Dallas Cowboys, also borne in 1960. The Cowboys made it to the ‘66 and ‘67 NFL title games but lost to the Packers. However, Minnesota fans finally had cause to rejoice in 1968, the first year of the post-Lombardi Packers.

Minnesota won the Central Division title but lost in the first round to the superior Baltimore Colts. It set them up, however, for bigger and better things in 1969. They lost a close game on the road to the New York Giants in the opening week, but then racked up a 12-game win streak, the longest such streak in 35 years. Behind the “Purple People Eaters” defense of Carl Eller, Alan Page, Gary Larsen, and Jim Marshall, the Vikings imposed their will on opponents. Quarterback Joe Kapp’s ability to run and throw kept opponents off balance. Continue reading “Are the Minnesota Vikings’ fans the most tortured in sports?”

Ranking the 2000s college football champs

Now that the crystal football is making its way to Tuscaloosa, it is time to determine who ruled the ‘Aughts in college football. Here are my rankings of college football’s National Champions in the 2000s.

1. 2001 Miami Hurricanes – The debate starts and ends here. This team was absolutely loaded from top to bottom, as Larry Coker’s first team inherited a massive amount of talent from the just departed Butch Davis. Their starting lineup included Ken Dorsey, Clinton Portis, Najeh Davenport, Jeremy Shockey, Andre Johnson, Bryant McKinnie, Jerome McDougal, William Joseph, Jonathan Vilma, Mike Rumph, Philip Buchanon, and oh yeah, Ed Reed. For some reason they got dropped at one point from #1 to #2 in the polls and promptly responded by trouncing #14 Florida State 49-27 in Tallahassee. The closest they came to losing was a 26-24 road victory over a very game Virginia Tech squad. Their Rose Bowl triumph over Nebraska (which really shouldn’t have been there) was not nearly as close as the 37-14 score would indicate. The next couple of teams on this list were very good, too, but this one is the undisputed champ of the decade… and I hate to say it, because I can’t stand “the U.” Continue reading “Ranking the 2000s college football champs”