Steelers collapse, Pirates collapse, Penguins collapse. Not to be negative. But I’m a big-picture guy, and that’s definitely your top three.
It was a TOUGH YEAR. If you look at Pittsburgh’s other major sports teams, Pitt basketball made news by missing the NCAAs and winning some hambone tournament, and Pitt football made news by blowing a 14-point fourth-quarter lead at Notre Dame. Go East: Joe Paterno died, and Penn State dealt with the fallout of the Jerry Sandusky scandal. Go South: West Virginia football imploded with painful force.
Hines Ward retired. Tim Tebow knocked the Steelers out of the playoffs. Andrew McCutchen’s collapse paralleled that of the Pirates.
On the positive side of the street, the Penguins’ Evgeni Malkin won the NHL MVP and scoring title. Bill O’Brien won Big Ten Coach of the Year and did as much as could possibly be done in one year to resurrect Penn State football.
O’Brien is rumored to be headed to the NFL. TOUGH YEAR.
From the mixed bag department: Sidney Crosby is hale and hearty, 100 percent healthy, signed to a 12-year contract extension and ready to play hockey.
Trouble is, there’s no hockey being played. TOUGH YEAR.
The Penguins hosted the NHL draft at Consol Energy Center. Wonderful event.
The Penguins used that vehicle to trade fan favorite Jordan Staal. TOUGH YEAR.
Burgatory opened a third location. Clairton High School won a fourth straight state Class A football championship. A.J. Burnett has some nasty stuff and some bad-ass tattoos. Tyler Kennedy dates the super-hot girl from the Mattress World commercials. Paul Chryst didn't quit Pitt.
In a TOUGH YEAR, you settle for SMALL VICTORIES.
Maybe the two biggest Pittsburgh sports stories of 2012 are holdovers from 1972: the 40th anniversaries of The Immaculate Reception and Clemente’s death. We’re certainly talking about them.
Wait, I almost forgot: The No. 1 Pittsburgh sports story of 2012 is MY PRESEASON PREDICTION THAT THE STEELERS WOULD GO 8-8! #ochoyocho #supergenius