Monday, January 2, 2012

The Best/Worst of 2011 #5: Dream Teams

2011 was a bad year for Dream Teams. Okay, this actually is a bit of a conceptual spill-over from 2010, when the Miami Heat became one of the most polarizing franchises in sports history by adding LeBron James and Chris Bosh to its roster.
"This is gonna work, right guys? Right?"
Part of what rankled people was the megalomaniacal aspect of how the Heat came together; not just LeBron’s “The Decision,” but the fact that the introduction press conference for James and Bosh played out more like a post-Finals celebration, and the fact that LeBron guaranteed an absurd number of championships for the team.

What happened was Schadenfreude at its finest. The Heat made it all the way to the NBA finals, but lost. Along the way, one of their Big Three was exposed as a poser (Bosh), and another decided to disappear in crunchmoments (James).

Then, a Football team called the Philadelphia Eagles came along. The Eagles took full advantage of the melee free agency period that followed the NFL lockout to sign a number of talented players (Nnamdi Asomugha! Ronnie Brown! Cullen Jenkins!) to their roster. The team also gave a huge contract extension to quarterback Michael Vick, and yeah, at his best, Vick is one of the more exciting players in the league, but… he comes with a certain amount of baggage, you know? 
"Baggage? What bagga-- oh."
At any rate, backup quarterback Vince Young (himself a new addition) declared the team a “Dream Team,” to the delight of few. The Eagles were listed as Super Bowl favorites, meaning that Vegas bookmakers have started to branch into open trolling.

And what happened? Well, the team massively underperformed. The Eagles finished with an 8-8 record, and were eliminated from playoff contention in the second-to-last week of the season. Michael Vick turned out to share DNA with Samuel Jackson’s character in Unbreakable, and was frequently injured.
"Boy, am I glad I'm in a profession in which injured performers are cared for, instead of... well... not."
Both the Heat and the Eagles were among the Best stories to follow in their respective sports. The teams themselves were (and are) fun to watch. But, and this is an important but, the hubris with which they conducted themselves, and their failure to live up to that hubris, land them squarely in the Worst.

Of course, this is just referring to sports teams-- one wonders what we would find if we expanded our horizons into other areas where dream teams were assembled...
Never mind.
Tomorrow, we reveal #4, a group that is making Kabletown very, very unhappy.

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