Wednesday, February 6, 2008
Updated: February 8, 10:55 AM ET
One year of ESPN.com conversations
By Matthew Friedrichs
In the past year, ESPN.com conversations grew from the volume of two guys disagreeing in a sports bar to the full-throated roar of a stadium cheering a walkoff, pennant-winning home run.
Fans have started almost 43,000 conversations and posted 3.8 million comments since the launch the week of Super Bowl XLI. NFL, college football, Major League Baseball, NBA and Page 2 stories were favorite topics. The NFL playoffs and BCS bowls, alone, drew tens of thousands of comments on individual games.
The best commenters brought intelligence and balance to controversial topics without sacrificing passion and conviction, even when they got heated discussing Michael Vick's off-field troubles, Don Imus' comments, the Kobe-LeBron debate, spygate and much more.
Posters discovered they had more in common with conference rivals than they thought, especially when arguing SEC vs. Big Ten vs. Pac-10 vs. Big 12 vs. ACC vs. Big East vs. Notre Dame vs. the world supremacy. They also learned their cynicism, when confronted with a story of true sports love such as the MyWish series, was not as deep as they had feared.
SportsNation friendships sprouted across state and national lines as readers, for the most part, agreed to disagree. Fans made each other laugh, mocked opponents and bonded talking about sports. Most importantly, their comments entertained and informed the daily discussion about the teams and athletes they love best.
Below are snippets of the vibrant conversation from the past year.
Florida named top seed in NCAA Tournament
Wasn't everyone talking down Florida when they got the invite to the BCS championship game? What was the outcome of that again? Hmmm & not even a close game. There is a reason they have been put in the No. 1 seed.
Falcons agree to deal backup QB Schaub to Houston
Jim Mora had it right when he called Vick a "coach killer." Petrino will be looking for another job in three years, too, if Vick starts. They should take the hit financially for one year and get rid of Vick. Matt Schaub trade will be the same, if not worse, get ready for this, than the Brett Favre trade the Falcons made.
Hokies unite to begin healing process
It's hard to believe that something like this happened at all, but especially at a place where I spent four great years, met my wife and best friends and enjoy going back to each year. Thanks for the support Mountaineers, Bruins, Sooners, Zips, Golden Flashes, Salukis, Gators, Tigers, Bulldogs, Terps, Huskies, Commodores, Gamecocks, Volunteers, Bears, Crimson Tide, Wildcats, others that I might have missed, and last but certainly not least, Wahoos!
Browns a winner, but Quinn loses out
Cleveland taking Quinn at 22 is the perfect pick if they expect to beat Army, Navy and Michigan State next year.
Jackson keys third-quarter run in Warriors' rout of Mavs
Does anyone else think it's awesome how Cuban says "This year isn't like last year. Losing in the finals was very painful. This was just the first round." EXACTLY. This is 1,000 times more embarrassing and disappointing. Nellie schooled Cuban's team in how to play basketball.
Mayweather: 'I am the best fighter of this era'
He had no intention of going for anything but points. Mayweather is the best runner of his era. His defense is great. However, he represented himself as a tough guy, when he is and always has been a pretty boy.
Earnhardt: 'We were never close' to deal with DEI
DEI will rue the day they let JR leave. However, I don't think there was ever room in the garage after Teresa's ego entered the door.
NBA draft conversations
Welcome to Portland Mr. Oden!
Federer reaches semis in record 12th straight Grand Slam
Roger Federer: Beauty, power and grace. Amen.
Ducks win first Stanley Cup in franchise history
Stanley Cup Champion Anaheim Ducks has a nice ring to it. Ducks Dynasty sounds even better. Here's to the Cup making its inaugural appearance in the new "state of hockey."
Spurs can't dodge dynasty talk
You know what a dynasty is? A team of the past who doesn't win anymore. The Spurs are still winning. Call them a Superpower or a Power House. Not a Washed up Dynasty who shows off tarnished old rings and trophies from 20, 30, 50 or 100 years.
Police say they will investigate Benoit deaths as possible murder-suicide
Is it not weird the fact all these public wrestling figures have died and no one is talking to Vince.
Detroit QB Kitna: Lions will be winners in 2007
Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha, stop it, ha ha ha ha ha ha (falls to the floor) ha ha ha ha ha ha, I can't take it, ha ha ha ha ha ha ha please stop! Ha ha ha.
Who's Now? We pick the 32 top athletes
1. Ronaldinho (two-time best soccer player)
2. Roger Feder (2006 92-5 record)
3.Tiger Woods (owns everyone )
4. Michael Phelps (won seven medals and broke five records)
5. Dwyane Wade (2006 NBA Finals MVP and also averages over 35 points in playoffs)
Patrick will leave ESPN on Aug. 17 after 18 years
The highlight of my day while at work is listening to The Big Show with Dan and Keith. I am sad to see Dan leave and wish him well. I have been watching ESPN since the early 80's and it just wont be the same without Patrick.
Chestnut smashes world record, beats Kobayashi for title
I think these guys use performance enhancements like Rolaids.
Goodell: Vick-related news not obscuring coming season
Vick's craziness will not affect any of the NFL's revenue streams. However, every time a Falcons game is broadcast locally or nationally, this subject will be in the forefront of our minds. When Joey Harrington is out there stinking up the joint, everybody in ATL will want to kill Vick that much more.
NFL Power Rankings
I knew what the Power Rankings were going to look like before they were posted. I had someone video tape the voters and then relay the rankings to me.
0-2 showdown: Hart says Michigan will beat Irish
This Michigan-ND game could be a showdown for the ages. They are both so monumentally bad it could be really, really close.
High school football players 'fix' vote for leukemia-stricken king
I believe these five kids and Eli should win the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at next year's ESPY awards.
Rockies seek trademark protection for 'Rocktober'
Doesn't that infringe on Mr. October, or Soxtober or Octoberfest. What's next? Patriotsanuary? How about Tigersunday? The Rockies just jinxed themselves into being swept in the World Series.
Designer to brand asterisk on ball; Hall of Fame to accept it
Regardless of your opinion of Bonds, you shouldn't ruin history. 50 years from now, when people look back, how can we even know how this era will be viewed? The most significant artifact will be tainted by a short-sighted action.
Gardner-Webb coach: 'We did it for real'
Congratulations to Gardner-Webb for playing a great game of basketball. & The Cats were OUTPLAYED, OUTHUSTLED and OUTCOACHED. Welcome to Lexington, Ken., Billy Gillispie. Have fun.
Redskins S Taylor dies after being shot at home
This is horrible and heartbreaking. This young man had a lot in front of him.
IOC: Cleanliness next to goldliness for Jones' medals
Why do the medals have to go to anyone? Why would someone accept an Olympic gold medal they did not win and stand on the podium to receive?
Minnesota 41, NY Giants 17
At this rate, it's going to be awhile before Eli can date a supermodel.
Mizzou, WVU losses turn BCS standings into game of chance
College football is a pageant, not a sporting event. We vote for Miss America; we play for the Lombardi Trophy.
Sources: Mitchell Report spreads blame
It's kind of like Santa's list ... who's nice and who's naughty!
San Diego Chargers 12, New England Patriots 21
18-0. Who would have thought that was even possible? Wow.
Matthew Friedrichs is a community editor at ESPN.com.