Steve Harvey has been married three times, so we all knew he wasn’t a genius. But if you’re like 99 percent of Americans, you’ll never forget where you were when he botched the Miss Universe pageant: you were somewhere, not watching the Miss Universe pageant.
Of course, one of the “joys” of the social media age is that when anything remotely controversial happens, it starts multiplying in our phones like a gremlin dipped in water. Within seconds of turning them on, we’re completely immersed in the latest “Biggest Story In The World” that none of us will care about three days later.
So there I was the other night, heading home from “The Comic Strip Live,” when it began raining memes in my phone. Within seconds came the speculation on why it happened. One report said the teleprompter had the wrong name, another had Harvey reading the paper and not the prompter. There’s even been talk of a cue card on a grassy knoll (when he read Miss Colombia’s name and his head went back and to the left, back and to the left).
As a dad who’s spent the past month waking up at 3 a.m. to move the Elf on the Shelf, I’m too tired to get caught up in the speculation. Nor do I want to condemn the man, because we all make mistakes. If you don’t believe me, ask the folks who bankrolled Jeb Bush. (Sorry Jeb, I wanted that to be a Pataki joke, but I couldn’t find anyone who had donated.)
Instead, I have chosen to honor Harvey with a list of the five biggest sports mistakes for the year 2015. Some were made by players and coaches, others by fans. But if there’s anything to be learned, it’s that Harvey was hardly alone in screwing the pooch this year.
5. People Who Bet Ronda Rousey Would Defeat Holly Holm in UFC 193
The Vegas oddsmakers had Ronda at -2000, which means you needed to bet $2,000 on her just to make $100. Consequently, if you bet $100 with a bookmaker, you would owe $2,000 when she lost. That kick in the face she took doesn’t sound half as painful as checking your bank balance the next day.
Holm went off at +900, which means if you bet $100 on her, you walked away from the window with $900 (and a prostitution offer from someone who had bet Rousey).
4.ESPN Gives A Courage Award to Caitlyn Jenner
Bob Costas said it best on the “Dan Patrick Show” when he called this a “crass exploitation play.” It would be hard to argue with him, because ESPN milked this to the moon and back in an effort to juice ratings for a show that nobody takes seriously.
I’m happy, as we all should be, for any transgender person who feels more accepted in society because Caitlyn did her thing. But calling this act “courageous” implies there was any degree of risk involved.
Bruce Jenner had tons of fame, tons of money, and the full support of his family (not to mention a new reality show deal already in his pocket). On top of that, there was no way in hell anyone was going to criticize him publicly, for fear of being stampeded by the social media mob and losing one’s job in the process.
If this award saves one person an ounce of torment, then I fully support it. But if you ask me, the real courage award should go to whoever gets on the road when Caitlyn is driving. As we go to press, she has as many kills as she does ESPYS. #FACT
3. The 4.4 Million People Who Bought the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao Fight on Pay-Per-View
The financial success of this fight is the ultimate testament to the prisoner-of-the-moment world of today’s sports coverage. Everyone knew going in that both of these guys were five years past their prime, but there’s nothing sports fans love more than the week’s catchy story line.
You know, like when a no-name QB replaces Peyton Manning for two games and the experts decide he’s the new face of the franchise? Fast-forward two more games, and the same experts are outlining scenarios in which the Broncos miss the playoffs?
People had been waiting the better part of a decade to see this fight, and that was more than enough to convince them to call up their cable providers. And call they did, to the tune of $440 million Pay-Per-View bucks.
What did they get to show for it? Pacquiao hugged Floyd so much I thought he’d fail a post-fight drug test for Ecstasy. Fight of the century, my ass. Floyd has had more competitive matches with his wife.
2. Pete Carroll Throws It at the Goal Line with 25 Seconds Left In Super Bowl 49
Second and goal from the half-inch line. According to the box score, your running back is averaging “whatever he wants” per carry. Not only do the Seahawks do the unthinkable and throw it, but they do so out of a passing formation, making no attempt to disguise the play!
Someday, a civil suit against the NFL will cite this moment as proof that coaches had also sustained concussion damage.
Patriots 28. Seahawks 24. Fans of fair play 0.
1. New York Giants’ Jason Pierre Paul Blows Off a Finger and a Half on the Fourth of July
Setting off fireworks is never a great idea. But when you’re two days from signing a $14.8 million contract, you can times it by ten. (If only you weren’t a football star who never went to class.) I’m a Giants fan, and I love JPP, but this was weapons-grade stupidity. It can’t be blamed on a spur-of-the-moment lapse in judgement because he was shooting them off all day, as evidenced by the deleted footage from his Twitter account.
When he finally returned to the team in late October, JPP signed a $1.5 million deal and not the $14.8 that was originally on the table. He’s a lock to land a fireworks-safety endorsement, but going by what we’ve seen on the field (1 sack, 13 tackles) it’s highly doubtful he’ll ever see the big football money again.
On the plus side, I did hear that Miss Universe is looking for a host.
Happy holidays, everybody.