So Much Mockery, But Only One Can Stand Alone At The Top [FanIQ Athlete Of The Year]
Danica Patrick What a year. It began without posing for the SI Swimsuit Issue, and ended with a speeding ticket. In between, there was a catfight, a stomp down pit road, hitting a man in pit lane, multiple incidents of innuendo, and throwing fits in races that don't count. Oh, and she finally found time to win a race.
Plaxico Burress At one time, Plax was your average wide receiver malcontent. Then he shot himself in the leg. Endless coverage followed.
Kimbo Slice The former street fighter was the first MMA fighter to really go mainstream. The hardcore fans probably wish he hadn't been. His first TV fight, he won but didn't look that great. The second, he was knocked out and exposed as a fraud, despite evidence the fight was manipulated to make him look good. He ended the year by failing at announcing too.
Leryn Franco The javelin thrower from Paraguay was immediately crowned Hottest Olympian for 2008, despite not being any good at the javelin. Afterward, she returned to her natural career: modeling (and possibly shagging a tennis player).
Alicia Sacramone She wasn't the most successful Olympian, but we loved her anyway for, uh, reasons. Plus, who didn't feel for her after that ridiculous interview with NBC. Naturally, she's going the reality TV route to extend her 15 minutes.
The Detroit Lions 0-16 watch began in earnest after the still inexplicable, yet hilarious play of Dan Orlovsky running out of his own end zone. Every week, we chronicled the quest, and last Sunday, the Lions did it. Their poor fans, however, were less than thrilled.
Pacman Jones Another year of absurdity from Pacman. After being traded to Dallas, he was reinstated, which he found out about at Hooters. Two months later, Pacman gets into a fight with his own bodyguard and is suspended again. He was later reinstated because Roger Goodell's an idiot. At least Lil Wayne knows to kick Pacman out permanently.
Caitlin Davis Apparently drawing penises and swastikas will get your fired from your cheerleading job. Who knew? Your boyfriend sending angry emails to bloggers won't help either.
Stephon Marbury The crazy life of Steph continued. First, he got a tattoo of the logo of his shoe line on his head. He watched a presidential debate at a homeless shelter. Then, the season began and he was benched, causing him to refuse to play under any circumstances. At least he still wants to watch the Knicks.
Felix Pie Two words: Twisted. Testicle.
Michael Vick Even while in jail, Vick continues to entertain as stories of how he blew all his money slowly come out.
All of these people were fine possibilities, but in the end it can only be one, and that person is...
Michael Phelps First, there was the whole 8 gold medal thing. Great. Then came the aftermath, and Phelps hooking up with swimming babe Stephanie Rice. Then the Miss California Runner-Up. Then hanging with strippers, and taking one home for Thanksgiving. Then being stalked at the airport. Overall, it's a lesson in how to go from national hero to overexposed dbag in about 4 months. It's the obvious choice, but can anyone deny this was the year of Phelps. Hopefully it's the last time Phelps wins anything for quite some time.
As an award, we present a recommendation that Phelps go away for a while, so that when the 2012 Olympics rolls around, he isn't as big a villain as he would be if his name were Mikhail Phelpski.
Do you have a different choice for FanIQ Athlete of the Year? Did we miss any potential nominees? Have at it in the comments.