We recently went through a seven-year stretch in which each of the four major Boston sports teams won a championship, culminating with the Bruins winning the Stanley Cup in 2011. That's the bright side, but recent developments have our local teams trending downward.
That Bruins victory is the only local title since the Celtics won it all in 2008, and 2012 was once again a championship-less year.
All of this means that there's plenty of things we wish we could do over in this town. From close calls to downright ineptitude, we examine the moves and moments Boston sports fans most wish they could do over in 2012. Next
Pouliot's clearing pass
A few minutes into overtime of Game 7 of a first round series between the Bruins and Capitals, Bruin Benoit Pouliot tried to dump the puck deep into Washington's zone. The puck clanked off the shin pads of Capital Mike Knuble, sending Washington on and odd-man rush for what would eventually be Joel Ward's game-winning goal.
The Bruins lost the game, 2-1, and lost the series, 4-3, an early finish to their Stanley Cup defense.
If Pouliot makes a better pass, the Bruins give themselves a chance to escape their troublesome matchup with the gritty Capitals by the skin of their teeth and win the series. Next
The Bobby Valentine era
Bobby Valentine's tenure as Red Sox manager was an unmitigated disaster. The Sox finished in last place, and Valentine's harsh managerial style fueled the flames of discontent in an already fractured clubhouse.
From the Kevin Youkilis comments to those about the weakness of the Red Sox roster, Valentine pushed one wrong button after another. The season wasn't entirely his fault—the players deserve much of the blame—but Valentine clearly was not the right man for the job. Next
Eastern Conference Finals Game 7
The Celtics blew a 3-2 lead to the Heat in this year's Eastern Conference Finals, but they still had a shot to win Game 7 in Miami. Up by as many as 11 points in the first half and nine points in the second half, the Celtics allowed the Heat to outscore them 28-15 in the fourth quarter, sending an overachieving Boston team home one quarter short of the NBA Finals.
The Celtics weren't expected to get that far with an aging, depleted roster, but Kevin Garnett's resurgence and the team's resiliency were two of the highlights of the entire year in Boston sports. Next
‘Liking’ Tim Thomas on Facebook
Whoops. It's all fun and games when the former Bruins goalie is winning you a Stanley Cup, but when he's defecting from the team and posting highly-politicized messages on Facebook, it may be to time to take back the man-crush.
The problem with Thomas is not that he supports the Chick-fil-A company's stance against gay marriage, but that he feels the need to tell everyone about it. It's impossible to get a consensus among a group of people on these sensitive social issues, which is why we like our sports figures to keep their political beliefs to themselves. And we like them to keep playing sports.
Thomas has quit hockey, for now, ushering in the Tuukka Rask era. Next
The NHL lockout
Coming off a disappointing first-round loss to the Capitals, the Bruins had every reason to think 2012-13 would be a good year. The core of the roster is basically the same (minus Thomas), and Tyler Seguin is only getting better.
So it's a shame for Bruins fans in particular, and hockey friends in general, that the season is in jeopardy. What a mess. Next
Brady to Welker
With four minutes remaining in Super Bowl XLVI and the Patriots up, 17-15, Tom Brady threw a pass to Wes Welker on second-and-11 that was too hot for Welker to handle. The ball was slightly behind Welker, but went through his hands, and no matter whom you place the blame on, the miscue was big enough to prevent New England from going deep into Giants territory with the chance to put the game way.
That play more than any other represented the missed opportunity of the game, which would have given Brady his fourth Super Bowl ring in five tries.
Honorable mention here goes to Brady's first-quarter intentional grounding penalty, which resulted in a safety and the first two points of the game for New York. Next
Rob Gronkowki's ankle injury
One thing that happened before Super Bowl XLVI also had a profound effect on the game. Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski injured his ankle during the AFC Championship Game vs. Baltimore, and it wasn't known for sure whether Gronkowski would play.
Gronk played in the game, but the injury limited his mobility and effectiveness.
He was targeted three times, catching two passes for 26 yards. The Patriots could have used a healthy Gronkowski in their 21-17 loss. Next
Spaziani taking a knee
With two timeouts, 1:05 on the clock and the ball 83 yards from the end zone in a tie game, Boston College head football coach Frank Spaziani elected to take a knee and head to overtime in a game against Virginia Tech.
The decision was unpopular with Eagles fans, who booed Spaziani for not going for the win.
Boston College would eventually lose the game in overtime, 30-23, not necessarily proving the coach was wrong, but certainly not helping his cause. Next
The Kevin Youkilis trade
When the Red Sox traded longtime infielder and fan favorite Kevin Youkilis to the White Sox in July for righthander Zach Stewart and utilityman Brent Lillibridge, fans took a wait-and-see approach to the deal.
The Sox sent $5.5 million to Chicago in the deal, but that was seen as the cost of shipping an unhappy, unproductive Youkilis out of town and opening up room for Will Middlebrooks to play every day.
Stewart and Lillibridge are no longer with the organization, and Youkilis recently signed a one-year, $12 million deal with the Yankees. The Sox got nothing for him, but it sure seems like Youkilis has some value now. Next
The Ray Allen mess
You can feel a lot of ways about Ray Allen signing with the Heat, but no matter whether you are sad at losing Allen or angry at him for leaving, the whole situation is regretful.
The Celtics miss Allen's shooting, particularly late in games, and Allen's choice of signing with Miami was poor for public relations reasons. Next
The first three quarters of Patriots-49ers
Fresh off their big win over the Houston Texans in a Monday Night Football showdown, the Patriots faced another stern test the following week at home vs. the 49ers.
The Patriots showed up late, going down 31-3 through the majority of the first three quarters before mounting a comeback that fell short.
The loss made New England's chance of securing a first-round playoff bye considerably more difficult. Next
NFL referee lockout
One of the most unneeded and frustrating story lines of the year in sports concerned the lockout of the NFL's regular referees. The league, which makes more money than any other in the United States, hemmed and hawed while replacement officials blew key calls in the opening weeks of the season and was a running joke until it was resolved after reaching critical mass on a now-infamous blown call on Monday Night Football. Next
The Theo Epstein compensation
Theo Epstein was named the president of baseball operations for the Cubs in October of 2011. It took until February of this year for the Red Sox to get player compensation for Epstein for letting him out of his contract, and the result was relief pitcher Chris Carpenter.
Shortly after being dealt, the 26-year-old needed surgery to remove bone spurs in his throwing elbow. The Red Sox activated him later in the season, but did not get much out of him in 2012. Back to the beginning
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