The Year 2011 in sports won't be remembered for the best games and the best performances. Instead, disturbing stories and trends dominated the headlines. In college football alone, the first eight months of the year were consumed by scandals involving two storied programs, and in Ohio State's case, it brought down legendary coach Jim Tressel.
But they were nothing compared to what was revealed about Penn State in early November, a still evolving case that cost the jobs of the school president, vice president, athletic director and most of all, Joe Paterno, a man who had been synonymous with Happy Valley, whose character and integrity had been the bedrock values of a lifetime's work. Within the space of a week, because of his inability or lack of willingness to stop an alleged pedophile, he and his school's names would be forever tarnished.
That's not to say there weren't some uplifting stories. For eight weeks, Tim Tebow led the Broncos on an improbable ride, taking them to the precipice of an unlikely playoff berth. Baseball had an amazing postseason, one that actually started on Sept. 28 as the regular season came to a spectacular finish. And most of the world (outside of South Beach) rejoiced when the Miami Heat failed to win the NBA title.
Here are a few that didn't quite make our year-end list: The Packers winning the Super Bowl; Japan's thrilling Women's World Cup victory; Peyton Manning's absence; Ryan Braun's failed drug test; and Dan Wheldon's triumph at Indy and tragic death in Las Vegas. And then, these are Our Top Sports Stories of 2011.