2012 IN REVIEW

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Top 10 Super Bowl Plays of All-time Top 10 Super Bowl Plays of All-time /nfl/lists/Top-10-Super-Bowl-Best-Plays http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2011/02/06/raiders_20110206194820831_136_102.JPG
Top 10 Surprise Super Bowl Stars Top 10 Surprise Super Bowl Stars /nfl/lists/Top-10-Surprise-Super-Bowl-Stars http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2011/01/26/012611-NFL-Giants-David-Tyree-PI_20110126165618240_136_102.JPG
Schrager: Top 10 players searching for Super Bowl rings /nfl/lists/Top-10-players-searching-for-Super-Bowl-rings http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2010/05/05/050510-Gimme-A-Ring-SW-PI_20100505112551_136_102.JPG
Top 10 worst Super Bowl games Top 10 worst Super Bowl games /nfl/lists/Top_10_worst_Super_Bowl_games http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2011/01/24/012411-NFL-bills-AM-G1_20110124231547604_136_102.JPG
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NFL 5 43 Biggest sports controversies of 2012 31487190 An eventful year at Penn State An+eventful+year+at+Penn+State NFL

2012 started out on the lowest of notes for Penn State football, as Joe Paterno — just months after being fired for his role in covering up the Jerry Sandusky child abuse scandal — passed away on Jan. 22. Five months later, Sandusky (pictured) would be found guilty of 45 of the 48 counts against him and receive a 60-year sentence, assuring that he will spend his final years behind bars. The NCAA’s punishment would soon follow, as the football program was slapped with a four-year postseason ban and a $60 million fine. And none of it seemed sufficient.
 

Matt Rourke - AP Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2012/12/17/121512-top-sports-stories-of-the-year-LN-G3_20121217125114986_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2012/12/17/121512-top-sports-stories-of-the-year-LN-G3_20121217125114986_107_80.JPG
NFL 5 43 Biggest sports controversies of 2012 31483634 Tragic ending to 2012 Tragic+ending+to+2012 NFL

Tragedy struck the NFL on back-to-back weekends in the final months of 2012. Kansas City’s Jovan Belcher shot and killed his girlfriend and mother of his infant daughter, Kasandra Perkins, before driving to the Chiefs’ practice facility and taking his own life in front of head coach Romeo Crennel and GM Scott Pioli. The following weekend, Cowboys lineman Josh Brent was charged with intoxication manslaughter for his role in a one-car accident that killed teammate Jerry Brown. And in just an eight-day period, the NFL found some of the thornier issues facing the league front and center: Domestic violence, gun abuse and players driving under the influence.

Peter G. Aiken - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2012/12/17/121512-top-sports-stories-of-the-year-LN-G19_2012121712524415_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2012/12/17/121512-top-sports-stories-of-the-year-LN-G19_2012121712524415_107_80.JPG
NFL 5 43 Biggest sports controversies of 2012 31487188 Live Strong or live wrong? Live+Strong+or+live+wrong%3F NFL

Giving up has never been Lance Armstrong’s style. Not when he was facing down testicular cancer. Not as he was conquering climb after climb through the Alps en route to an unprecedented seven yellow jerseys. But after years of fighting doping allegations, Armstrong finally said no mas in 2012. On Aug. 27, Armstrong proclaimed that he would not fight the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency’s decision to strip him of his seven Tour titles. He would later resign as director of the Lance Armstrong Foundation, then watch as sponsor after sponsor walked away from him.

 

Michael Paulsen / Houston Chronicle - AP Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2012/12/17/121512-top-sports-stories-of-the-year-LN-G4_20121217125114985_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2012/12/17/121512-top-sports-stories-of-the-year-LN-G4_20121217125114985_107_80.JPG
NFL 5 43 Biggest sports controversies of 2012 31483633 Swinging-gate Swinging-gate NFL

In March of 2012, the NFL announced that it had evidence that New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams had created a pay-for-play system in which his players allegedly earned bonuses for inflicting injuries on opposing players. Williams would be suspended from the league indefinitely for his role in the Bountygate scandal, while Saints head coach Sean Payton was hit with a one-year suspension. Four current and former Saints players were also punished by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, with linebacker Jonathan Vilma suffering the toughest sanction (a full-season suspension) . . . that is, until former commissioner Paul Tagliabue vacated all the player suspensions after being appointed to hear their appeal.
 

Derick E. Hingle - USA TODAY Sports http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2012/12/17/121512-top-sports-stories-of-the-year-LN-G18_2012121712524314_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2012/12/17/121512-top-sports-stories-of-the-year-LN-G18_2012121712524314_107_80.JPG
NFL 5 43 Biggest sports controversies of 2012 31488164 Woo, pig, sooie! Woo%2C+pig%2C+sooie%21 NFL

After finishing 2011 with just the third 11-win season in Arkansas history, the Razorbacks had high hopes about what the 2012 campaign had in store. That all came to an end in April, when head coach Bobby Petrino was involved in a motorcycle crash. Petrino’s initial claim that he was the sole rider turned out to be not entirely accurate. Petrino would later admit that not only was former Arkansas volleyball player Jessica Dorrell a passenger, but that he’d been having an affair with the 25-year-old and had hired her as an assistant with the football team. Petrino was fired four days later.

Beth Hall - USA TODAY Sports http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2012/12/17/121712-biggest-controversies-of-the-year-LN-G1_2012121714093058_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2012/12/17/121712-biggest-controversies-of-the-year-LN-G1_2012121714093058_107_80.JPG
NFL 5 43 Biggest sports controversies of 2012 31488163 Tank for nothing Tank+for+nothing NFL

For a day or two in London, the biggest story of the Olympics centered on the little-watched sport of badminton. Unfortunately for shuttlecock devotees, it wasn’t exactly a glowing endorsement of the sport. Four teams — including gold-medal favorites Yu Yang (left) and Wang Xiaoli (right) from China — were expelled from the competition for tanking games during pool play in an attempt to improve their path through the medal round. So apparently it’s OK to suck for Luck, but you better not fold for gold.

Adek Berry/AFP - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2012/12/17/121712-biggest-controversies-of-the-year-LN-G2_2012121714092855_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2012/12/17/121712-biggest-controversies-of-the-year-LN-G2_2012121714092855_107_80.JPG
NFL 5 43 Biggest sports controversies of 2012 31487209 Faster, higher, stronger, Twitter Faster%2C+higher%2C+stronger%2C+Twitter NFL

OK, so the original motto for the Olympic Games doesn’t say anything about social media. But maybe there’s a reason for that, as Twitter got a couple of Olympians in trouble in London. Greece triple-jumper Paraskevi Papahristou and Swiss soccer player Michel Morganella (at right in picture) were sent home from London for using their allotted 140 characters to make racist comments that the IOC decided did not exactly conform to the Olympic spirit.

Paul Ellis/AFP - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2012/12/17/121712-biggest-controversies-of-the-year-LN-G3_2012121714092856_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2012/12/17/121712-biggest-controversies-of-the-year-LN-G3_2012121714092856_107_80.JPG
NFL 5 43 Biggest sports controversies of 2012 31488165 Miami vice Miami+vice NFL

It took Ozzie Guillen just a few games to alienate perhaps the most-vocal segment of the Marlins’ fan base with comments praising Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. The comments earned Guillen a five-game suspension and were undoubtedly a factor in the team’s decision to part ways with the controversial manager at the end of the season. Shortly thereafter, Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria alienated the rest of the team’s fans, approving yet another fire sale less than eight months after opening his taxpayer-financed stadium.

Christopher Hanewinckel - USA TODAY Sports http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2012/12/17/121712-biggest-controversies-of-the-year-LN-G4_2012121714092854_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2012/12/17/121712-biggest-controversies-of-the-year-LN-G4_2012121714092854_107_80.JPG
NFL 5 43 Biggest sports controversies of 2012 31479964 We can’t replace you We+can%26rsquo%3Bt+replace+you NFL

But the NFL sure tried. As the league found itself at a labor impasse with its regular refs, Roger Goodell’s replacements were doing their best to make fans completely rethink how they felt about the full-time officials. The low point came during a Monday Night Football contest in which a particularly egregious last-second call turned a Packers win into a loss.

Otto Greule Jr - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2012/12/17/121712-biggest-controversies-of-the-year-LN-G5_2012121714093057_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2012/12/17/121712-biggest-controversies-of-the-year-LN-G5_2012121714093057_107_80.JPG
NFL 5 43 Biggest sports controversies of 2012 31488162 Life in the slow Lane Life+in+the+slow+Lane NFL

It was an entertaining year for USC head coach Lane Kiffin, who treated us to a steady stream of missteps throughout the 2012 season. If he wasn’t busy lying about his vote in the coaches poll or banning a local writer from practice for reporting about an injured player, he was formulating game plans based on a player changing his jersey number mid-game and explaining why a rogue student manager was deflating footballs in violation of NCAA rules during the Oregon game. All of which might not have been so embarrassing if the Trojans hadn’t stumbled from preseason No. 1 to outside of the Top 25.

Kyle Terada - USA TODAY Sports http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2012/12/17/121712-biggest-controversies-of-the-year-LN-G6_2012121714092753_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2012/12/17/121712-biggest-controversies-of-the-year-LN-G6_2012121714092753_107_80.JPG
NFL 5 43 Biggest sports controversies of 2012 31479981 Year filled with strife Year+filled+with+strife NFL

From Ozzie Guillen alienating the fan base in Miami to Lance Armstrong giving up the fight to Bobby Petrino's wild ride at Arkansas, 2012 has been a year filled with argument and debate about some of sport's biggest names.


Click through to see 10 of the year's biggest controversies.

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http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2011/02/06/raiders_20110206194820831_136_102.JPG Top 10 Super Bowl Plays of All-time Top 10 Super Bowl Plays of All-time Top 10 Super Bowl Plays of All-time Every Super Bowl has a defining moment. These are the coolest moments in time. Jan 24, 2014 3:04 PM ET 1 28 /nfl/lists/Top-10-Super-Bowl-Best-Plays
http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2011/01/26/012611-NFL-Giants-David-Tyree-PI_20110126165618240_136_102.JPG Top 10 Surprise Super Bowl Stars Top 10 Surprise Super Bowl Stars Top 10 Surprise Super Bowl Stars Super Bowl Sunday is not just about the stars. Here are the best flashes in the pan. Jan 24, 2014 2:58 PM ET 1 28 /nfl/lists/Top-10-Surprise-Super-Bowl-Stars
http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2010/05/05/050510-Gimme-A-Ring-SW-PI_20100505112551_136_102.JPG Schrager: Top 10 players searching for Super Bowl rings McNabb, other big-name vets know window's closing on elusive prize. Jan 2, 2014 3:43 PM ET 1 28 /nfl/lists/Top-10-players-searching-for-Super-Bowl-rings
http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2011/01/24/012411-NFL-bills-AM-G1_20110124231547604_136_102.JPG Top 10 worst Super Bowl games Top 10 worst Super Bowl games Top 10 worst Super Bowl games Top 10 worst Super Bowl games Jan 2, 2014 3:43 PM ET 1 28 /nfl/lists/Top_10_worst_Super_Bowl_games