My NFL Week 17 picks are upcoming, but real quick ...
A programming note: We handed out the 2015 Sheky Awards this week. Along with the glorious distinction the annual fete provides its nominees (fruit, alphabet letters, uniforms, et al.), there's also the perennial unpleasantness known as the Sonic Award, recognizing the sports town whose teams caused the most pain and suffering for its fans over the past calendar year. Created in 2008, the award's name comes from Seattle's departed NBA franchise (which had a rookie named Kevin Durant). The Sonics' exit punctuated what remains the most apocalyptic sports year for one city on record.
Before we get to the 2015 Sonic, here's a look at the past seven "winners" ...
2008: SEATTLE (Seahawks 4-12, head coach Mike Holmgren departs; Mariners 61-101, fire GM Bill Bavasi/manager John McLaren and release 1B Richie Sexson during the season; Sonics 20-62, depart for OKC with ROY Kevin Durant; University of Washington football 0-12; UW basketball 16-17.)
2009: CLEVELAND (Browns 5-11; Cavaliers 66-16, get No. 1 seed in Eastern Conference, but lose to Orlando in conference finals; Indians 65-97; Ohio State basketball 22-11, No. 8 seed in NCAA tourney, but lose to No. 9 Siena.)
2010: CLEVELAND (Browns 5-11; Cavaliers 61-21, get No. 1 seed in Eastern Conference, but lose to Boston in second round; LeBron James leaves Cavs for Miami; Indians 69-93; Ohio State football 12-1, but eventually forced to vacate wins for NCAA violations; Ohio State basketball 29-8, No. 2 seed in NCAA tourney, but upset by No. 6 Tennessee.)
2011: WASHINGTON D.C. ('Skins 5-11; Nationals 80-81, Stephen Strasburg misses most of season after Tommy John surgery; Wizards 23-59; Capitals 107 points, get No. 1 seed in Eastern Conference, but swept in second round by Tampa Bay; Georgetown basketball 21-11, get No. 6 seed in NCAA tourney, upset by No. 11 VCU.)
2012: PITTSBURGH (Steelers 8-8, miss playoffs; Penguins 108 points, humiliated in Round 1 of playoffs by archrival Philadelphia; Pirates 79-83, collapse in second half of season -- again -- record 20th straight losing season; Pitt basketball 22-17, misses NCAA tourney; Pitt football 6-7.)
2013: NEW YORK (Giants 7-9, Eli Manningthrows 27 INTs; Jets 8-8; Yankees 85-77, lose 2B Robinson Cano/OF Curtis Granderson to free agency, Mariano Rivera retires, Alex Rodriguez suspended through 2014; Mets 74-88, Johan Santana misses entire 2013 season with shoulder injury, Matt Harvey will miss 2014 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery; Knicks 54-28, lose in second round of playoffs to Indiana; Nets 49-33, lose in first round to Chicago; two NBA teams start a combined 19-42 in 2013-14 season; Rangers 56 points, lose in second round of Stanley Cup Playoffs; Islanders 55 points, lose in first round of Stanley Cup Playoffs; Devils 48 points, miss playoffs; three NHL teams start a combined 50-56-17 in 2013-14; St John's basketball 17-16.)
2014: PHILADELPHIA (Eagles 10-6, 22nd-ranked scoring defense, missed playoffs; Phillies 73-89, last place in NL East behind three other teams with losing records; Flyers 94 points, sixth place in conference, captain Claude Giroux arrested for groping a police officer; Sixers 19-63, second from last in Eastern Conference, drafted Joel Embiid, who has yet to play a game; Villanova upset in second round of NCAA tourney by underdog rival UConn)
Unfortunately -- but inevitably -- the 2015 field is littered with worthy nominees ... as you let me know on Thursday:
Let's not make a rush to judgment.
Right on all counts. Moving on ...
Well, there were some other towns that suffered ...
But I have no definitive information ...
Not with the return of LeBronigal Son! (Congratulations, Cleveland: You're not even a Sonic finalist this year!)
Hmm... It's very difficult to give it to a sports town with just two pro teams, but IU & PU are close enough to Indy. However, Hoosiers getting to a bowl game is rare enough to disqualify the state capital.
However, the Badgers made that Final Four run.
Interesting point about Meek Mill.
Yeah, let's not overcomplicated it.
Yes, yes it is! Let's make it official:
The 2015 Sonic Award once again goes to ... PHILADELPHIA!
Really, how could it not be? Each of the city's four professional teams regressed after a collectively shameful 2014. Chip Kelly's less-than-brilliant third season was his last in the City of Brotherly Love ... but grossly-overpaid DeMarco Murray remains while former stars ply their trades in other cities. The Phillies were the MLB's worst team and they dealt away World Series' heroes Cole Hamels and Chase Utley. The Flyers -- who haven't won a Stanley Cup since 1975 -- didn't even get into the tourney last spring. The Sixers have again (intentionally) taken up residency in the NBA's basement in order to stockpile young talent ... but really, how many titles would the team need to win to offset their willful tanking? The Temple Owls football team was the lone bright spot, but even that feels tarnished by the alleged grotesquery of its most famous sweatered alum.
Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, Miami and Atlanta fans suffered from various indignities and upsets, but Philadelphia earned its second-straight Sonic the hard way (aka: abject suckitude). Sorry, Philly fans.
Let's get to the games ...
WARNING: Do NOT continue reading if you don't want to know the final scores of the Week 17 games.
(7-9 last week, 148-92 on the season)
One quick note:Check out all the playoff scenarios for Week 17 here. That stuff looms large for a few of the games below ...
B. Browner: Atrocious
J. Jones: 180 yds, TD
C. Johnson: 150 yds, 2 TDs
M. Forte: 150 yds/scrimmage, 2 TDs
WAS: 130 rush yds
K. Moore: 240 yds, 2 TDs, INT
M. Bryant: 2 TDs
G. Barnidge: 75 yds, TD
B. Marshall/E. Decker: TD rec
T. Taylor: 250 yds/pass; 60 yds/rush
A. Robinson: 100 yds, TD
D. Hopkins: 110 yds, 2 TDs
D. Walker: 80 yds, TD
F. Gore: 80 yds, TD
R. Gronkowski: 2 TDs
D. Parker: 50-yd TD rec
O. Beckham: 200 yds, 3 TDs
M. Evans: 20-yd TD rec
C. Newton: MVP
P. Rivers: 320 yds, 2 INTs
B. Osweiler: 280 yds, 2 TDs
D. Carr: 2 TDs, 2 INTs
A. Smith: TD pass; TD run
SEA D: 2 INTs
M. Floyd: 90 yds, TD
J. Fisher: 8-8 forever
B. Gabbert: 200 yds, TD, INT
S. Diggs: 50-yd TD rec
A. Rodgers: 380 yds, 3 TDs
Enjoy Week 17, everybody! I hope your team wins (unless they're playing my team).