Human headlines Tiger Woods and LeBron James were the US Report's men of 2010.
Photo: Getty Images
It's the last US Report for 2010, so we've put together our awards for the best stories and videos of the year, featuring Tiger Woods, LeBron James, accidental fires, incredible plays and a pie-throwing injury.
Sex scandal of the year
Sure, it started at the end of 2009, but the Tiger Woods sex scandal story certainly had staying power.
Reports in April claimed the (now former) world No.1 golfer and highest-paid sportsman on the planet had had extra-marital affairs with 120 women.
His golf game soon went the way of his marriage, plummeting to new lows as Tiger suffered his first winless year since turning pro in the late 1990s.
And, surprisingly enough, appearing in a Nike television commercial days before his much-anticipated comeback in the US Masters didn't help.
The ad featured a close-up of a solemn-looking Woods, staring into the screen as the voice of his dead father is heard – with Earl Woods's words taken out of context so they seemingly relate to Tiger's sex scandal. Weird stuff.
The commercial was later claimed to have been the last straw for Woods's wife Elin Nordegren, who divorced the superstar in August.
Sports commercial of the year
Nike's famed ad men bounced back from the Tiger commercial with an absolute pearler ahead of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Featuring a string of international football/soccer stars including Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney and Ronaldinho (who, in the end, didn't make the cut for the Brazil squad), the ad also included NBA superstar Kobe Bryant, tennis legend Roger Federer and cartoon icon Homer Simpson.
Hype of the year
Two-time NBA most valuable player LeBron James became a free agent in July, launching a frankly ridiculous amount of speculation about whether he would stay at the Cleveland Cavaliers or join a new team.
His decision was revealed on a live, hour-long special on sports network ESPN, simply named "The Decision". James confirmed speculation by announcing he was joining the Miami Heat alongside fellow off-contract superstars Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade.
The self-promotional nature of the announcement didn't go down too well with the public, with the man known as "King" instantly becoming a sporting villain. It went down even worse with the Cavaliers, who had not been told LeBron was leaving until they saw the announcement on television.
"This was announced with a several day, narcissistic, self-promotional build-up culminating with a national TV special of his 'decision' unlike anything ever 'witnessed' in the history of sports and probably the history of entertainment," Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert ranted in a letter posted to the Cavaliers website.
"…You (Cavaliers fans) simply don't deserve this kind of cowardly betrayal. You have given so much and deserve so much more.
"I PERSONALLY GUARANTEE THAT THE CLEVELAND CAVALIERS WILL WIN AN NBA CHAMPIONSHIP BEFORE THE SELF-TITLED FORMER 'KING' WINS ONE. You can take it to the bank."
On his TV special, James described the experience as "humbling", while Wade later claimed that he, James and Bosh were "making sacrifices" by taking contracts worth $US14.5 million a season rather than $16.6 million a season to play together.
Here's a slice of The Decision, in case you missed it:
And here's a different take on the special, starring Hollywood funnymen Steve Carrell and Paul Rudd:
Baseball play of the year
College baseball player Brian Kownacki took a leaf out of Clark Kent's book with a superhuman leap to score against Iona College in April.
With the game tied at 9-9 and bases loaded, the Fordham University sophomore was running towards home base when the ball was thrown to Iona catcher James Beck, who was blocking Kownacki's path.
So he did this:
The run capped a nine-run rally that saw Fordham overcome a 9-1 deficit on the way to clinching a 12-9 win.
Basket of the year
Firstly, a runner-up nod must go to NBA star Vince Carter, who set a new world record by making a basket from 86-feet away – while sitting down. It smashed the existing record of 52 feet, set at this year's NBA All Star weekend.
But the best basketball shot of 2010 was landed a football field, with a member of the 'Dude Perfect' team hitting a ridiculous shot at Cowboy Stadium in Dallas.
'Dude Perfect Team' is a group of former college roommates who have filmed a series of trickshots in a bid to raise awareness for charities.
Here's their Cowboy Stadium shot.
Miss of the year
With big name players like David Beckham and Thierry Henry running around in the USA's Major League Soccer competition these days, it can be hard for players with a lower profile to really grab the public's attention.
Not so for Kansas City striker Kei Kamara, who stole the limelight with an incredible miss from point-blank range against Beckham's LA Galaxy this year.
Faced with an open net, no defenders and the wide open goal mouth about half a foot away, the Sierra Leone international slipped and missed the ball altogether, before inadvertently punching the ball into the goal.
He was pulled up for the foul, and the match finished 0-0. Watch the wonderful blooper below (the brilliant replay is at 0:41).
A runner-up gong goes to England goalkeeper Robert Green, who gifted the USA a goal and a surprise 1-1 draw in both teams' opening match of the World Cup in South Africa.
You've probably seen the actual howler already by now, so instead here's the match highlights from the game in lego form, thanks to Guardian.co.uk.
Time-waster of the year
It turns out that NFL fans don't actually watch much football.
According to a study by the Wall Street Journal, there is only 11 minutes of actual action shown during an average three-hour broadcast of an NFL game.
The study found that during a live broadcast, 56 per cent more time is spent showing replays than live footage, while 60 per cent of the total airtime – excluding commercials – were shots of players huddling or just standing around. Commercials take up about an hour of each broadcast.
Injury of the year
Sport is no stranger to unusual injuries, from rib-breaking sneezes to foot-breaking doors. But rarely has an injury invoked the spirit of The Three Stooges as much as the pie-throwing injury sustained by Florida Marlins left-fielder Chris Coghlan this year.
The 2009 National League rookie of the year was attempting to celebrate a win by throwing a cream pie at teammate Wes Helms after a walk-off win over Atlanta. Which is odd enough in itself, really.
Inexplicably, he somehow injured his knee in the process and was forced to undergo surgery – putting his entire season in jeopardy.
Best unintentional fire of the year
With Tiger Woods failing to set golf courses on fire in 2010, an amateur playing at California's Shady Canyon Golf Course thought he'd take a crack at it.
While attempting to play a ball out of the rough, the golfer accidentally swiped at a rock and caused a spark which started a blaze.
The fire reportedly spread across an improbable 12 acres, with 150 firefighters from around Orange County being called to the scene. No charges were laid against the hapless golfer, who name was withheld from the media by the Orange County Fire Authority.
A highly commended award should go to former Canadian Olympic figure skater Kurt Browning, who managed to set his house on fire after attempting to dry the back seats of his Porsche with a leaf blower. The fire caused about $US1 million worth of damage, with 80 firefighters dispatched to the scene.
Best high school football play of the year
Firstly, the runner-up prize must go to this 80-metre Hail Mary touchdown from California's Kingsburg High School, completed in the final five seconds of the game for a come-from-behind win.
But the winning play came from Driscoll Middle School in Corpus Christi, Texas. It had everything – poise, craftiness, execution, and a blatant disregard for the spirit of the game.
Trailing 6-0 in the third quarter, Driscoll got out of jail after eight-grade quarterback Jason Garza loudly told his centre that the referee had awarded a five-yard penalty to his team, and started marking out the five yards.
The rest is history.
Worst high school football play of the year
Firstly, the runner up. A potentially game-winning field goal attempt falls short, but the player who recovers the ball forgets that old adage, "play to the whistle".
And now the winner. This one doesn't really require an explanation; just be ready for the Benny Hill music.
Sports marketing pitch of the year
If there's one thing American sporting codes do better than anyone else in the world, it's selling stuff. Selling merchandise, selling tickets, selling the idea of a 162-game baseball regular season... heck, the NFL is basically an excuse to run three hours of commercials.
But the marketing geniuses of 2010 have to be the NHL's Pittsburgh Penguins, who managed to sell bottled water at $46 a pop.
When the Penguins moved into their new home venue, the club gave fans the chance to own a piece of the team's past – namely, a melted down chunk of ice from the team's old Mellon Arena stadium.
The liquid slices of history went on sale for $US39.99 (plus $6 for shipping). And fans happily paid $46 for a bottle of water. Only in America.