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Home / Articles / Columnists / Sports Feature /  2022 Year in Review: The Hits and Some Misses
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Monday, January 9,2023

2022 Year in Review: The Hits and Some Misses

By Mark Tudino  
2023? Already? What happened to 2002 you ask? Well, lots of things and not all of them good. But in the spirit of always looking forward with optimism, instead of looking back in regret, we strive to highlight those achievements, dubious or otherwise, which caught our attention in 2022.

MOST IMPROVED – AND MOST DISAPPOINTING?: As is customary in these parts, we begin with our state’s professional pigskin players. And in a curious turn of events, the choice for most improved squad may also turn out to be the most disappointing. Allow me to explain. The 2022 version the Miami Dolphins had a truckload of questions to answer before the season: a rookie head coach, high-profile additions to both sides of the ball, and a quarterback with more questions than libraries have books. Yet by late November all questions had seemingly been answered as the team stood 8-3, tied for 1 st in its division and seemingly with unstoppable momentum. Then came December with its brutal schedule and tough opponents and, as of this writing, now the team has a 3-game losing streak. The wizardry of Coach Mike McDaniel, the fluidity of QB Tua Tagovailoa, along with the breathtaking speed of WRs Tyreek Hill and Jalen Waddle lit up scoreboards like an old-fashioned pinball machine for the first 11 games. Now a playoff berth is in doubt, though still attainable. Thus, in both categories, the team picked to finish 3 rd (or even last in some publications) in its division has significantly improved over its most recent versions; yet if they miss the playoffs the season will be seen as a disappointment no matter what type of success preceded it.

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Miami Heat’s Jimmy Butler. Hands down if there is an MVP Jimmy “Buckets” earned the award, not only for his on-court achievements but also for his leadership inside the locker room.

His immediate embrace of “Heat culture” (granted an overused term but appropriate here) was critical and immediately obvious. From the moment he stepped on the court there was no doubt who the alpha male was on this team, the guy who was going to take the last shot, or who was the person the team would look to when it needed a big rebound or make a big defensive stop. His missed 3-pointer against Boston in game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals notwithstanding, Butler was the guy in whose hands you wanted the ball.

Honorable Mention: The Florida Panthers, who could not find playoff success despite having the best regular season record. Sorry, fellas, post-season matter.

MOST UNDERACHIEVING: A tie, between college football’s Florida Gators (6-7) and the Miami Hurricanes (5-7, no bowl). Prior to the season, UF’s Billy Napier and UM’s Mario Cristobal were showered with hype, promise and lots of dough. Yet both men were humbled by the realities of the tasks facing them and there will be boatloads of questions if there isn’t significant –and immediate – improvement in year 2 of their respective regimes. Remember, patience is not a word folks want to hear when millions of dollars were spent to bring in “the guy”.

So as we toast a farewell to 2002, and look with hope to 2023, it’s most important to remember the important things being a sports fan means: the competition, the fellowship – and whether your team covered the spread.

Cheers!

 

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