Column: 18th annual TYAACOD Awards

Published 11:56 am Wednesday, January 5, 2005

By Staff
For the 18th straight year it is time to rip open the envelopes and take a look at the "Three Yards and a Cloud of Dust Awards," which have come to be known as the TYAACODs (pronounced Ty Cod).
Hopefully this humorous look at the best and worst of 2004 in the world of sports can put a little smile on your face.
The envelopes please…
This is a tough call because sportsman is such a broad term. As usual I disagree with Sports Illustrated which selected Tom Brady of the New England Patriots. Not that Brady is not a great guy, plus he is a Michigan man, but once again I select Lance Armstrong. Armstrong was the class of the Tour de France once again and despite allegations of doping, remains a role model for all of us. Plus, he's still dating Sheryl Crow.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. wins his first Daytona 500. His father, the late, great Dale Earnhardt needed 20 tries to capture NASCAR's biggest race. I expect Junior to win several Daytona 500s before his career is finished.
This one was easy. The Detroit Pistons and Indiana Pacers' brawl at the Palace of Auburn Hills. The Pistons and Pacers are not the only ones to blame here. The shoddy security and the behavior of the fans that night left me with a bad taste in my mouth for professional basketball.
I'm not sure he deserves this, but National Basketball Association commissioner David Stern has been all but stripped of his power by our legal system to deal with the actions of the likes of Ron Artest and Jermaine O'Neal. Stern's swift and powerful punishment was a good thing for all of sports, but as usual, the player's union stepped in, got the courts involved and more or less struck down Stern's ability to govern his sport.
Michael Vick and LeBron James are everywhere. You can hardly turn on the television without seeing one of them in a commercial hawking something. Unfortunately, I really think Vick is the most overrated player in professional football. Forget that the Sporting News called Brian Urlacher the most overrated player. What has Vick accomplished? He isn't even the best quarterback in the National Football League. Win a championship and then we can talk!
Here is a salute to some of the champions of 2004. They include LSU and USC (college football), New England (professional football), Connecticut (men's and women's college basketball), Detroit Pistons (NBA), Seattle (WNBA), Boston Red Sox (baseball) and Tampa Bay Lightning (hockey).
NASCAR's new playoff format may have provided the closest finish in its history, but for me it was a made-for-television event. Not only do I not like champion Kurt Busch, but I do not like the 10-race format. NASCAR is trying too hard in my estimation to win new fans. Tinkering with a proven system is not the way to do it.
The Boston Red Sox have finally won the World Series. Now maybe the rest of us can get on with our lives. Then again, Chicago's Cubs still have not won a title, so I suppose the whining will go on until they do. There are a lot of teams that haven't won a championship in what seems like forever. Yet, all we get is Boston and Chicago thrown up in our faces. At least one of those two teams can be wiped from the slate.
Tiger Woods is not the best golfer in the world any more. I said it before and I will say it again. I do not believe Woods will ever break Jack Nicklaus' record of 18 career majors. Woods did not win a single major this year and it appears that the rest of the field is closing the distance between themselves and Tiger. He is still one of the greatest golfers I have ever seen, but I remain strong in my conviction that he will not be the best of all time.