The biggest sports let-downs of 2012 left sports fans shaking their heads in disappointment as their favorite athletes, teams and even leagues committed epic fails. For as many top athletes of 2012 who dazzled and awed there were just as many who disappointed and dismayed.
Perhaps the easiest sports let-downs to point out are those teams who were clinically upset in the biggest games of the season. The New England Patriots did just that when they renewed their ritual of failing miserably in the Super Bowl against the New York Giants with another loss in 2012. Similar disappointment came via the 2012 Boston Red Sox who celebrated their 100th season at Fenway Park with a horrible losing season and from golfer Adam Scott who blew a huge lead late in the British Open to give Ernie Els the win.
But not all of the biggest sports disappointments of 2012 came on the field as there was plenty of off-field drama too. The New Orleans Saints 2012 season will forever be tainted after their bounty scandal as will the seasons for the Penn State Nittany Lions NCAA Football team after the school's involvement in the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.
We also learned some lessons on how not to do things care of these sports fails. Want to completely upset fans and cause outrage? Hire replacement referees to open your NFL season and anger nearly every football fan not in the city of Seattle. Take the 2012-13 NHL lockout as one example of how not to increase a fan base in a waning sport or follow a page from NBC's playbook on how not to broadcast the Olympics in a world of social media and live streaming Internet video.Not every team can win every game and your favorite athletes are sure to lose once in a while but as these top 2012 sports let-downs prove, there's a big difference between simply losing and becoming a complete embarrassment that's sure to be discussed for years to come.
Penn State Child Sex Abuse NCAA Sanctions
In the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal, the NCAA issued severe sanctions to the Penn State Nittany Lions football team including a reduction of scholarships and post-season bowl ban. Those on both sides of the issue were let down by the decision with some upset by the severity of the sanctions and others disappointed that the sanctions were not worse.
2012 NFL Replacement Referees
Just a year removed from the labor conflict between the NFL and the NFL players, the 2012 NFL season opened with replacement officials calling the games and channeling their best Mr. Magoo in the process. Among the casualties included an epic fail in a game between the Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers on Monday Night Football that gave Seattle a highly controversial win.
Pacquiao vs. Bradley
To anyone watching the Manny Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley fight, most would agree that Manny Pacquiao completely dominated the match however the judges thought differently and gave Bradley a split decision win.
2012-13 NHL Season
As if the two other somewhat recent NHL lockouts were not enough to drive that sport into irrelevance, the National Hockey League locked out its players at the beginning of the 2012-13 NHL season while the players and league reached a labor deal.