It’s that time of the year again folks, the holidays are here, the snowflakes are falling, and when the year is almost over and you know what that means, everyone will be releasing their own list of the best and worst moments of the year. 

Barbara Walters recently had her annual “Top Ten Fascinating people of the Year” special and that gave me an idea for this piece. Since the holidays are here and the year is about over, I decide to come up with my own list of some sports figures, that made headlines this year, and I decided to steal a play from Santa’s playbook and name my list in the form of “Naughty or Nice.” In this list, you’ll see which sports figures, who I believe, have been either naughty or nice for the year 2012.

There were lots of people to choose from, but don’t worry, I was able to pick out some of them and determined if they been bad or good for the year. Now, without further introduction, here’s my list of sports figures, who made my naughty or nice list of 2012.

                                                                Nice List              

Giants head coach Tom Coughlin: It’s amazing that not too long ago, Coughlin was on the hot seat and was kind of a Grinch, when his players would complain about his strict rules and guidelines. Now, Coughlin is not only a two time super bowl champion, with a big heart, he’s well respected and has been an real inspiration to his players and to everyone else in the NFL, he might be the best coach we’ve seen in football in years.

Tiger Woods: 2012 was the year that Woods finally returned to his winning ways, as he not only won a few times, but was in contention in some of the majors. It seemed like that not only Woods’s image approved dramatically this year, it looked like Woods had moved on from his scandal, in 09, and from his ugly divorce with Elin. Congrats to Tiger on winning again and having a great year, hope for a better 2013.         

Dale Earnhardt Jr: Nascar’s most popular driver finally got that big monkey off his back and was able to get back into the winning circle, for the first time in awhile. 2012 was a big year for Earnhardt Jr, as he not only won a Sprint cup race and was more competitive, he was in contention for the Sprint Cup Championship. Sadly though, an injury took him out of a couple of races and was no longer in contention for the championship. Overall, Dale Jr had a great year and was able to win again and he could have a more productive year, when next season comes around.  

Lebron James: After years of being compared to Micheal Jordan and people wondering when will he win that championship, James was finally able to not only get over the biggest obstacle in his carreer, he was able to shave off years of pressure and frustration. This year, James won his first NBA championship and finals MVP and by doing that, he was able to quiet some of the critic’s and doubters, that thought he would never get a championship ring.  Ever since becoming a NBA champion, everything has gone right for James, he’s in commercials, no longer has that pressure on him, and his team has a chance to win another tittle this season, what a great year for king James.  

Ohio St & Penn St fans: What a crazy and controversial year for these schools, both of them got punished by the NCAA, cause of their scandals, and both were placed under a bowl ban, Ohio St for one year and Penn St for four years. Even though the sanctions against these schools were  justifiable and well deserved, you gotta feel bad both of the fan bases, they didn’t do anything wrong and they were just caught up in the mess, that their university created.  Even though both fan bases haven’t had much to cheer about this year, there was one bright spot for both of them to be proud of, their football teams had great seasons. Ohio St was able to go unde,,feated for the season, while Penn St had an amazing 8-4 season. You have to give credit for both fan bases, they didn’t give up, they kept believing, and they continued to support their school, even under the worse of times.

Micheal Phelps: Phelps had another great year and was able to produce another remarkable Olympic outing, this time at the 2012 London Games. He was able to not only win more gold metals and once again become one of the biggest headlines from the games, he may have slifty himself as the greatest Olympic swimmer of all-time. It’s good to be Phelps these days, starring in Subway commercials, being in great shape, and being reconized as the best in your sport and hopefully, the London Games were not the last time we’ll see him compete in the Olympics. 

                                                          Naughty List 

Cowboys defensive player Josh Brent: About a month ago, I never have heard of this player, I couldn’t tell you what team he was on or what position he plays. Now, a month later, he’s been the biggest headline for the last couple of weeks all for the wrong reasons. As you know by now, on Dec 8th, Josh Brent was driving late in the night and then got into an accident, that killed practice squad teammate Jerry Brown. It was later reported that Brent was driving, while intoxicated, and he was eventually charged with intoxicated manslaughter and was released on bond. I don’t understand how anyone could be so careless and not do the right thing, especially when it involves possible drunk driving. What makes me so angry about this situation is that Brent was released on bond so easily,while other people would’ve been in jail right away and probably for life, for something like this. I hope Brent feels bad about what happen and realize how stupid it was for him to do somthing like this and hopefully, he’ll learn something from this and try to make the right decision next time.  

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman: I think we can all agree that it’s not surprising that Bettman is involved in another labor lockout situation, this is his 3rd one, since he became commissioner of the league 20 years ago. Base on what’s been going on in recent weeks, this could be 04-05 all over again, when that season was cancelled, due to the last lockout they had. I don’t understand why this labor situation has not been solved yet, did they learned anything from their last labor dispute? The NHL can’t afford to lose another season, cause of labor issues, they’ll lose of that momentum they’ll been gathering from the last couple of years. If the season is indeed cancelled, a lot of blame could head towards Bettman’s way and it will be deserving so.     

Lance Armstrong: Throughout the years, Armstrong has done many great things and has been a great role model and inspiration to look up and it always been hard for me to imagine him nothing more than that. 2012 was a really bad year for Armstrong, as we found out that he may have not only used steroids, but may have lied about it. To this day, I still can’t get my mind around the fact that Armstrong may be a steroid user and may have lied about it the whole time. I never would’ve imagine that in a millions years that Armstrong would be guilty of any wrong doing or his cycling career being tainted in anyway. It’s amazing that in one year that Armstrong went from the greatest athlete ever known to most questionable one of all-time.

Sports fans: I can’t remember a year where fan behavoir was so noticeable, so aggressive, and at times, reckless, it’s probably was one of the biggest headlines and issues of the year. We saw so many incidents, involving sports fan using such reckless behavoir, and some of the things that fans have said or done this year was not only unacceptable, it was just plain ugly. These incidents began happening way back in January, when niners fans tweeted nasty messages and death threats to niners WR Kyle Williams, who fumbled a couple of times in the NFC championship game between the 49ers and Giants. One incident took place this past fall, when Atlanta Braves fans threw stuff onto the field, after a questionable call was made in the 7th inning, of the Braves-Cardinals wild card game. This year was not only a bad showing of fan behavior, it was also a bad showing of sportsmanship and respect from the fans, and hopefully next year, fans will behave better and not use such reckless behavior.

Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr: Maywheather may be rich and might be the best boxer in years, but even he can’t ignore the year that he had. Mayweather had to serve a two month sentence in a Las Vegas jail, cause of his involvement in a misdemeanor domestic battery case, he was released back in the summer. We all knew that Mayweather had an outspoken personality, which I respect, but with him continuing to duck down a fight with Manny Pacquiao and with him involved in a domestic battery case, I don’t know if we could take him as seriously as we once did. Although Maywheater’s stock fell a little in 2012, he can regain it back quickly and if he can countinue to be this great boxer that he is and not cause anymore trouble out of the ring, he can overcome this down year and can continue to be a dominant force in the ring.    

Former Arkansas football coach Bobby Petrino: 2012 could not have gotten any worse, than it already has for Petrino, you couldn’t script the stuff that this man went through this year. All of the things that happened to Petrino all took place earlier this year, when he was not only involved in a motorcycle accident, it was discovered that he had an affair with a former Arkansas volleyball player. Petrino eventually got fired and his image became tarnished and beyond repair. How could Petrino do this, he was doing a great job at Arkansas and made the team an SEC and BCS contender, he really made a mess of himself. Recently, Petrino was hired as Western Kentucky’s new football coach and hopefully, he has learned a few things and can take advantage of this second chance of coaching again.

I hope that you enjoyed my nice and naughty list of 2012, leave a comment and let me know who you think should be on the list. Thank you and Happy Holidays.