The best in pro sports in 2005

Steroids, Terrell Owen’s loud mouth, and natural disasters affecting not only landscapes but sports as well – this year has been one of the most electrifying and surprising seasons to date.

The New England Patriots won the Super Bowl, the Chicago White Sox won the World Series and the San Antonio Spurs won the NBA Championships. These are almost the boring pre-cursors to the drama that was in store for the 2005 season.

The most exciting and widespread drama this year was the Terrell Owens indefinite suspension from the Philadelphia Eagles. From the end of the Super Bowl TO made it known that he wanted more money from the Eagles. In a city of blue-collar workers and brotherly love, TO’s complaints where ignored.

After insulting his quarterback, coach and getting in a fight with a teammate, the Eagles had had enough. They asked him to apologize, TO refused and in turn was suspended indefinitely for the year. Only after his suspension did words of remorse come from the all-pro receiver.

There are two things that could have changed the outcome of this situation. If Philly had given TO the money that he wanted at the beginning of the season then maybe the loud mouth receiver might have kept his lips sealed. Or the Eagles could have continued to ignore the situation, let the receiver’s impressive and consistent play on the field perpetuate, letting the off-field problems grow and then dealt with them in the off-season. Both these would result in the franchise losing power to the player and not solving the situation in the locker room.

The New Orleans Saints became homeless after Hurricane Katrina ravaged the southern bayou. The Saints practices were moved to San Antonio and all home games where played either in Texas or at LSU’s stadium in Baton Rouge. Although the locals have been very supportive of the team, it is obvious that they miss home. There are still questions on whether it is monetarily safe to put the Saints back in New Orleans. The probable answers will come as the season ends, permanently moving the Saints to a major city like San Antonio or Los Angeles.

The Patriots have cemented their dynasty in football history with the third Super Bowl win in four-years. They used a steadfast defense and a quarterback unwilling to lose led the team to a record setting season. However, after losing two extremely talented coordinators, the Super Bowl Champs are having an off-season and could be coming back down to earth after a phenomenal four years.

Since Jose Canseco’s book came out, steroids have been the proverbial needle in the arm of Major League Baseball. After months of discussion on different policies to implement for the next year, the issue was finally decided. The first policy agreed upon between MLB and the Players Union back in march was a 10-day suspension for a first-time offender, 30 days for a second, 60 for a third and one year for a fourth.

This policy was never strict enough for baseball’s Commissioner Bud Selig or the United States Congress who lobbied last month for a change. The policy was amended to 50 games on a first positive test for steroids, 100 games for a second and permanent ban for a third.

No player’s future will be changed more then Rafael Palmeiro. While Palmeiro’s season included accumulating his 3,000th hit and his 500th home run, it was a failed drug test that may taint his Hall of Fame career. Palmeiro, 41, continues to deny he took steroids on purpose. There are still many questions as to the finding of stanozolol in his system during a May drug test

The surprise Chicago White Sox asserted themselves and swept the Houston Astros in four games. Although the World Series was over before it even started, the rest of the playoffs one of the most exciting in the past 10 years. Including a huge blown call that helped the Sox win the game when AJ Pierzynski ran to first-base after the ump never made an obvious strike-out call.

In NBA the Lakers Kobe Bryant and former coach Phil Jackson are reunited to bring a championship back to Los Angeles. Armed with the impressive triangle offense, and a young team, Los Angeles hopes to be a force in the west in years to come. However, if Bryant’s team of himself doesn’t match well with Jackson’s game plan it will be interesting to see who leaves this time around.

LeBron James also has made his presence known. After an amazing second year it seems that King James has happily taken to his throne and plans a long and healthy reign. He scored an impressive 27.2 points per game last year and led the Cleveland Cavaliers to a winning season. This year the King has reservations for the post-season, which the team barely missed last year in a tough central division. The Cavs are 9-4 and look unstoppable with James at the helm.

The San Antonio Spurs are the NBA champs, with a stifling defense and surprisingly effective offense. Tim Duncan, the quiet leader, helped push the Spurs to a win in the Finals over the Detroit Pistons in June. Manu Ginobili along with Tony Parker was fantastic down the stretch.

The year has been full of many ups and even more downs, leaving many questions still unanswered. Where will the Saints be next year? Who will take next year’s Super Bowl with the Patriots struggling? What will be baseball’s next big controversy be over? Will the Spurs continue to dominate? All these questions and more will be answered soon enough. So stay glued to your couch and count on an excellent 2006 season in football, baseball and basketball.