A year full of sports blunders
National: Former NBA bad boy Dennis Rodman announces he will coach a topless women's basketball team for New York's Headquarters Gentleman's Club. “I don't know too many men that don't like a good-looking woman running up and down around the court,” Rodman says. No word on whether he's signed up ex-wife Carmen Electra as the team's center(fold).
Local: The Steelers issue a press release announcing the retirement of offensive coordinator Bruce Arians. That comes as news to Arians. Eight days later, he resurfaces with the Indianapolis Colts in the same capacity and later becomes the team's interim head coach.
National: The Super Bowl is not kind to Gisele Bundchen and Charles Barkley. After watching significant other Tom Brady and the Patriots lose to the Giants, 21-17, Bundchen is caught cursing his teammates dropped passes. “My husband cannot (expletive) throw the ball and catch the ball at the same time. I can't believe they dropped the ball so many times,” she says. As for Sir Charles, he wagers $100,000 on the Patriots to win the big game.
Local: The merry-go-round continues on the Pitt football coaching staff. New coach Paul Chryst loses assistants Eddie Faulkner and Bob Bostad just weeks after hiring them. Faulkner goes to Wisconsin, Chryst's former home. Bostad heads to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
National: A coach and referee receive lifetime bans from a Nashville-area school for brawling during a basketball game. Not a high school or middle-school game. A second-grade game. Upon being ejected, the coach grabs the referee. The ref, a middle-school teacher, pushes the coach away, takes a full swing and punches him in the face.
Local: Hours before the season opener in Orlando, the Pittsburgh Power's 24-man roster is fired during a pregame meal at an Olive Garden. It comes after the Arena Football League union votes to go on strike. Some of the players re-sign and play in the game. Others are forced to pay their way back to Pittsburgh.
National: Arkansas football coach Bobby Petrino gets into a motorcycle accident that results in four broken ribs, a cracked vertebra in his neck and an eventual spot in the unemployment line. Petrino, 51 and a married father of four, tries to hide the presence of his mistress, 25-year-old Jessica Dorrell, on the motorcycle. Ten days later – and two weeks after giving Dorrell a role in the Arkansas athletic department – Petrino is fired.
Local: A New Orleans newspaper reports that Pitt basketball coach Jamie Dixon is in Atlanta to discuss the vacant LSU job with school officials. Dixon, however, is in his Pitt office all day and attends a Penguins game that night.
National: Four weeks after pocketing $32 million for a unanimous decision over Miguel Cotto, undefeated boxer Floyd Mayweather begins serving a 90-day jail sentence for a conviction on a domestic violence charge. Scheduled to be jailed earlier in the year, Mayweather has his date postponed by a Nevada judge so he can fight Cotto.
Local: Less than two years after giving Stetson Allie a $2.25 million bonus because of his 100 mph fastball, the Pirates acquiesce to his wishes to be a third baseman. This after Allie walked 37 batters, hit 10 more and threw 10 wild pitches in 26 2⁄3 innings as a pro. He bats .213 with 3 homers and 19 RBI in 42 games.
National: During a heated radio interview with Jim Rome, NBA commissioner David Stern asks the host, “Have you stopped beating your wife yet?” The retort is in response to Rome saying the New Orleans Hornets winning the draft lottery was fixed.
Local: Steelers wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders is sacked as a spokesman for an anti-littering campaign when it is revealed he received a $300 littering citation in November 2010.
National: Four badminton teams from three nations — China, South Korea and Indonesia — are kicked out of the women's tournament at the London Games for trying to lose on purpose in round-robin play order to get easier matchups in the knockout round.
Local: The Pirates fail to sign first-round draft pick Mark Appel, who returns for his senior season at Stanford rather than take an above-slot bonus of $3.8 million. Appel, the eighth overall pick, is the only first-rounder not to sign.
National: Five weeks after marrying his long-time girlfriend, the receiver formerly known as Chad Ochocinco is arrested and jailed for head-butting her following an argument. The Miami Dolphins cut Ochocinco, who recently tried to shed his bad-boy image by legally changing his surname back to Johnson.
Local: The Steelers abruptly fire special teams coach Al Everest two days before the third preseason game. Assistant Amos Jones is promoted, yet special-teams gaffes are a constant throughout the regular season.
National: Three weeks into the season, the much-maligned NFL replacement refs affect the outcome of a game, triggering an outcry to end the labor dispute. An official signals a game-ending touchdown catch for Seahawks receiver Golden Tate, although replays clearly show Packers defensive back M.D. Jennings holding the ball on his chest.
Local: Once 16 games over .500, the Pirates fall below .500 on Sept. 20 and finish with their 20th consecutive losing season. Loss No. 81 is a no-hitter courtesy of Homer Bailey, the first time the Pirates have been no-hit since 1971.
National: Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez, benched for poor hitting during the playoffs, uses his free time on the pine to flirt with a woman in the stands at Yankee Stadium. A-Rod has a batboy send her a ball with a note asking for her phone number. Turns out A-Rod still has great eyesight: she's a 33-year-old Australian bikini model.
Local: A 5-0 start has talks of a national title surrounding the West Virginia football team. That is, until the Mountaineers are thumped, 49-14, by unranked Texas Tech, sending them into a five-game spiral.
National: The San Antonio Spurs are fined $250,000 after coach Gregg Popovich sends four stars — including Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili — home rather than have them play a game at the defending NBA champion Miami Heat. Popovich, who is not fined or suspended, sends the players home because the game is at the end of a six-game, 10-day road trip.
Local: After conducting a month-long investigation into his organization to determine the cause of back-to-back epic collapses, Pirates owner Bob Nutting announces that no front-office changes will be forthcoming.
National: Toronto Raptors player Amir Johnson is ejected for getting into a tug-of-war with referee David Jones over who would hold the ball after a free throw. After being tossed, Johnson throws his mouth guard at Jones and has to be restrained by teammates as he's hustled from the court.
Local: Informed by coach Mike Tomlin that he will be inactive against the San Diego Chargers, Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall fails to show up for the game and is suspended. Upon returning, Mendenhall doesn't apologize to the team and makes jokes about his suspension with reporters.
FIVE FREAK INJURIES
1. Stephen Garcia, newly signed QB of the Montreal Alouettes of the CFL, flashes the peace sign as he steps off the team bus and somehow injures his two fingers, landing him on the one-game injured list.
2. Lakers guard Steve Blake injures his left foot, sustaining a puncture wound, when he steps on a spike strip in a parking lot.
3. Mets outfielder Lucas Duda breaks his right wrist in October while moving furniture in his Southern California apartment.
4. Golfer Graeme McDowell, playing at an event in China, bruises his hand when he slams it in a hotel door while sleepwalking.
5. Philadelphia 76ers center Andrew Bynum aggravates a knee injury while bowling.