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Top 10 Sports Stories of 2012 | Sports News

Posted on: January 4, 2013

Top Sports Stories of 2012: From the rise of Linsanity to the fall of Lance Armstrong we count down the biggest stories of the year

The Jerry Sandusky Scandal

The Jerry Sandusky Scandal

Matt Rourke

  • Top sports stories of 2012: 1. The Jerry Sandusky Scandal

It was the scandal that shocked and horrified the nation. Jerry Sandusky, the long-time defensive coordinator under the legendary Joe Paterno at proud Penn State, is found guilty of 45 counts of sexual abuse of minors. Sandusky, who used his youth charity Second Mile to hand-pick his victims, will spend the rest of his life behind bars. The resulting scandal led to Paterno’s firing (JoePa died in January from lung cancer), and crippling sanctions against the Nittany Lions football program for turning a blind eye to the abuse.

The King gets a ring

The King gets a ring

RHONA WISE/EPA

  • Top sports stories of 2012: 2. The King gets a ring

Nobody received more scrutiny than LeBron James before the 2012 season – and perhaps no one is more celebrated for getting the monkey off his back than the King. In a lockout shortened season, James played at a ridiculously high level through 66 games and all through the playoffs, bouncing his nemesis Celtics in the Eastern Conference finals and taking down Kevin Durant – his likely rival for years to come – in the NBA Finals. After all the All-Star Games and MVP award, King James finally earned the jewelry to fit his nickname.

Linsanity

Linsanity

ANDREW GOMBERT/EPA

  • Top sports stories of 2012: 3. Linsanity!

No single player across any sport owned 2012 more – or for a shorter time – than Jeremy Lin. The Harvard grad is the ultimate underdog story. Undrafted out of college, Lin was sleeping on teammate Landry Field’s couch. His journey and a pun-able last name (check the DN back pages, why don’t you) led to a media frenzy when the struggling Knicks finally gave him a shot. A memorable 38-point performance against Kobe Bryant and the Lakers, game-winning shots left and right and overall enthusiasm in resurrecting the downtrodden Knicks endears him to fans and the media alike. We will all remember where we were when ‘Linsanity’ hit.

NFL's uses replacement refs

NFL’s uses replacement refs

Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

  • Top sports stories of 2012: 4. NFL’s uses replacement refs

Come NFL playoff time, if the Seahawks get in or get a home game and the Packers are left out or have to travel, everyone will point to the Sept. 24 game between Green Bay and Seattle. That’s because replacement officials called what appeared to be a clear game-ending interception by Green Bay into a game-winning touchdown for Golden Tate and the Seahawks. The NFL used replacement officials as it locked out its refs to start the 2012 season. After Seattle won 14-12 – which gave us the lasting image of one replacement ref signaling TD and one right next to him signaling an INT – the NFL reaches an agreeement with the real zebras.

  • Top sports stories of 2012: 5. BountyGate scandal in New Orleans

Sean Payton and Gregg Williams were above reproach before 2012, but that’s when the details of what became known as ‘BountyGate’ came out. A full-on investigation by the NFL revealed details of what the league said was players paying teammates for injuring opponents. At the center of it all is a playoff game against the Vikings and Brett Favre, of which the future Hall of Fame QB was knocked out. The findings from the league resulted in a year ban for Saints head coach Payton and GM Mickey Loomis and an indefinite ban for Williams, the Saints defensive coordinator. Players fought and appealed and battled and Jonathan Vilma, whose alleged money was on the table, is back on the field.

  • Top sports stories of 2012: 6. Lance Armstrong’s fall from grace

If there were any supporters of Lance Armstrong left in 2012, it seems they must have deserted him by now. The cyclist abandoned his fight against doping chargers, which resulted in a lifetime ban from cycling (and loss of seven Tour de France titles). In perhaps the biggest and final insult, Armstrong’s foundation, Livestrong, drops his name and all association with the disgraced cyclist.

  • Top sports stories of 2012: 7. Phelps swims into Olympic history

Michael Phelps takes his place among the all-time greats with his 18th gold medal – 22 total in his careeer – at the London Olympics. He indicates he won’t be back for the 2016 Summer Games in Rio De Janeiro, but whispers have begun that we may not have seen the last of him.

  • Top sports stories of 2012: 8. Super Giants pluck Pats… again!

Eli Manning and the Giants survive a thriller to beat the favored Patriots in the Super Bowl – no this isn’t 2007. The Giants did it again in February of 2012, besting Belichick’s Brady Bunch again in Super Bowl XLVII.

  • Top sports stories of 2012: 9. The rise and fall of Tebow

So your 23-year-old quarterback comes off the bench, breathes life into your franchise and leads you to a playoff victory by torching the Steelers with a long touchdown pass in overtime to win. So of course you give him away for a couple of draft picks, right? Doesn’t seem to make sense, but not much does in the world of Tim Tebow. The undisputed king of the 2011-12 season is banished to the Jets, where is forced to backup Mark Sanchez and play personal punt protector. His lack of playing time gets him to ask Gang Green for a trade or release, and Jets brass seems like they will oblige. The only certainty for Tebow seems to be uncertainty.

  • Top sports stories of 2012: 10. Mets finally get no-no in year of pitcher

It was the year of the pitcher – three perfect games happened in 2012, one each from the Giants’ Matt Cain, the White Sox Phil Humber and Mariners ace Felix Hernandez – so it was no surprise the Mets finally broke their no-hitter hex. On June 1, the lefty tossed the first no-no in the franchise’s 50-year history (even though he got a little help from the umpires, but we’ll let that slide).

(SOURCE:New York Daily News)

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