Over the next eight weeks MyHOFS will be hosting a tournament to determine the best sports city in America. The bracket features four regions (East, Midwest, South, West) and 32 cities. The next two weeks will feature first round matchups, seeds one through eight in each region.
Original artwork provided by Dud Lawson of DudLawson.com
To view the entire bracket, head on over to MyHOFS facebook page
#1 - Dallas
- Mark Cuban
- Tom Finley
They don’t call it the Big D because Debbie did it
. Dallas is home to teams in each of the major pro sports including America’s Team, the Dallas Cowboys. Winners of five Super Bowls, two in the 70’s while rattling off 20 consecutive winning seasons and a resurgence in the 90’s winning three Lombardis. Dallas is synonymous with Hall of Famers Tom Landry, Roger Staubach, Tony Dorsett, Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin and Emmitt Smith. If the Cowboys didn’t exist, how could Ed Werder
feed his family? Do you know how many people owned a Cowboy’s Starter jacket
that didn’t live in Dallas? All of them, because what does anyone in Dallas need a winter coat for? The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders are as iconic to America as a bald eagle soaring over snowcapped mountains holding a machine gun while wearing a bandana with an image of a bald eagle soaring over snowcapped mountains holding a machine gun on it. There’s a reason why we all get drunk and argue with our relatives while we gather around the TV in a turkey coma each year and watch the Cowboys, it’s called a GD American tradition. Know why the old Texas Stadium didn’t have a finished and enclosed roof? So God could watch his Cowboys play. To quote the new TNT summer hit melodrama Dallas, betting against American oil tycoon JR Ewing is like betting against the Dallas Cowboys, unpatriotic.
Since I’m fairly confident that Dallas will be seeing the second round, I won’t lean too heavily on the Cowboys to win this matchup. Let’s just look at what’s happened in Dallas the past three years. Dallas hosted the 2010 NBA All Star game to a record crowd of 108,713, absolutely crushing the previous record by almost 40,000 people. To put this in perspective, that’s over six times the number of people who attended the 2012 All Star game in Orlando. We can’t leave out the 2011 Super Bowl at Cowboys Stadium, which despite the debilitating and unfortunate ice storm and an ass of a fire marshal was the second-highest attended Super Bowl ever. The Rangers have been to the World Series the past two years and were twice an out away from winning the damn thing last year. But most importantly, the 2011 Mavs restored America’s faith that the good guys don’t always finish last. They gave the city of Cleveland a reason not to kill themselves and set their rivers on fire again for at least a year. They proved that it pays to be a fanatic owner-of-the-people like Mark Cuban. They validated all of our scorn about The Decision. The Mavs swept Kobe and the Lakers, handled Durant and the Thunder, and then closed out The Big Three and the Heat with class and moxie. And for a moment, all was right in the world.
What’s that? Ah – Orlando?!? Don’t talk about – Orlando! You kidding me? Orlando?!?
I can count the number of pro teams in Orlando by unbuckling my big Texas belt buckle, unzipping my Wranglers
and looking down. I had to Google whether it was University of South Florida or Central Florida that is located in Orlando. Know what the top two results are if you Google “USF Orlando”? Universal Studios Florida. To your surprise and mine, the correct answer is UCF. But who cares anyways because they’re in Conference USA until 2013 when they join the Big Mountain West East
. The sports section of the Orlando Sentinel has more content on local high school athletes and what non-Orlando colleges they’re being recruited by. The third section on the site behind “Magic” and “Olympics” is “Varsity”. I’m almost as embarrassed for them to be included in this tourney as Disney World’s musical theater major dropouts are when they have to assist Goofy
while he takes a dump. We’re talking about a tourist town, not a sports town. If you want to give Orlando points for hosting the US Spirit Cheerleading and Dance Nationals, then you’re about as dead inside as the cheer moms living vicariously through their daughters who dream of becoming Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders someday.
#8 - Orlando
- Lil' Penny
- Devin O'Toole
Orlando is the sneaky southern hotspot in this sports tourney. It comes with a little cultish following, its players enshrined in sports nerd-dom
. Not only is Orlando one of the greatest underrated characters on The Wire
, but also Florida’s family friendly sports haven. So I’ll start with the familiest friendliest sports teams. When hearing of the sleepy town of Apopka, you might conjure the memories of the 2001 Little League World Series. The Apopka Little Leaguers represented our country proud, eventually losing in the title game to the Kitasuna Little League of Tokyo, Japan. A 2-1 pitcher’s duel decided the title, but it was the build-up for Apopka that most people remember. 2001 was the year of Danny Almonte
and the retroactive Bronx, NY ban. The boy wonder who was on the verge of manhood mowed down all the competition aside from our Apopka boys, the last remaining US side, (not shaving before and after games,) but had to forfeit all of their eventual victories, leaving the Orlando side bristling with cheat-free possibility. But, on to the pros. In 1989, a little team called the Orlando Magic entered the fray. To this day they have been the most successful of the four expansion teams from 1988-89 in terms of winning percentage. For such a young team, 14 playoff appearances in 23 years isn’t too shabby. And who didn’t love watching this man’s early days
. You realize a few things in this video: 1. Scott Skiles wasn’t as terrible as you remembered (7.2 assists a game), 2. Hakeem and Zo got dunked on too much in one highlight reel, 3. No backboard was safe, and 4. I’m surprised “That’s a man’s jam!” wasn’t instantly copywritten and made legendary in hoop’s lexicon / boy does “Shaq-alacka-boom” sound awfully white. The man who led the NCAA in shots blocked and was second in rebounding, became a legend in Orlando. He was Rookie of the Year and was voted into the All-Star Game that year, a feat done for the first time since MJ. He stands as the greatest presence in this town. 1992-96 were some great years. He might have become a champion in L.A. and Miami, but 1993 brought us rapping Shaq, when the heralded ‘Shaq Diesel’ went platinum. His last year should’ve been a down year, but the Magic somehow reeled off 60 wins, second only to the NBA record 72 the Bulls won. Screw it- we’re taking credit for this magical moment
on the silver screen. Not only did ‘Blue Chips
’ star the Big Aristotle, America got a taste of Penny. Penny Hardaway remains a cult legend in NBA lore. As does the little man
. There was something about Anfernee’s silky smooth handle, the fade away J, the 6- feet under cross over. What kid didn’t want the Air Penny Foamposites? He may be the greatest #1 in sports history. Despite this cryptic Dallas Mavs movie review
--Blue Chips remains unchallenged. From Horace Grant’s goggles to Nick Anderson’s missed free throws, they represented basketball’s yesteryear, only to be matched by this year’s OKC Thunder team, both loveable losers going up against two of the greatest NBA teams assembled. Hakeem, Clyde, LeBron and Wade. I guess there’s no stopping that. Presently, we’ve seen an unstoppable force in Dwight Howard. The 6 time All-Star / 3 time Defensive POTY represented the US in the last Olympics as the gold medal winning starting center. Constantly embroiled in trade rumors, the big man harkens back to the days of Shaq, with a powerful interior presence, a true NBA center. This Clark Kent moment brought to you by the power of flight
. Add the careers of The Franchise, Agent Zero, Vinsanity and T-Mac and you’d have four of the most coveted names in NBA subculture community. Franchise teams come and go, but the Orlando Magic have proven that hiring solid scouting teams can bypass the rich clubs. A championship eludes the Amway Center, where the NBA All-Star Game was held this year, but the Magic’s day is young and with this much success already, no doubt we’ll see some rings in South Bea--er, Orlando. The South, as everyone by now knows, is known for their love of football. Orlando got a raw deal without University of Florida or Florida State’s history, but how about the University of Central Florida Knights? George O’Leary is a solid coach, aside from a few problems with the old resume, and with a move into the Big East next year, the future is bright. The barnburner 10-6 victory over those Georgia Bulldogs in the 2010 AutoZone Liberty Bowl is the school’s one and only bowl victory, but the conference switch might ignite the pigskin hotbed. That’s all we got--unless of course you want to add the Nickelodeon Studios top teams in the Silver Snakes and the Red Jaguars. Nothing tops the epic showdown, of “The Levitating Dog Leash of Nostradamus.” In the Howie Mandel produced Global Guts spectrum, the UK pulled off a record 8 gold medals, with top honors going to the unforgettable heroics of Jonny “Spider” Evans and Wayne “Night Master” Norbury. Backstreet Boy aficionados will be quick to claim Orlando as homebase, and the bad boy crooner, once graced the Agrocrag under the pseudonym AJ “Mean” McLean. Jamie “The Jackal “ Mendelsohn took home the gold, but check out “Mean” destroying the Slam Dunk Event
. Proving that Orlando athletes, once again, can dunk a basketball better than anyone ever. It’s still uncertain if he has ever patented that Shoulder Slam Dunk.
The Walt Disney Company. Owners of ESPN. I bet you’ve heard of it. You can’t watch sports without us. Athletes born in Orlando: Chucky Atkins, Zack Greinke, AJ Pierzynski and Warren Sapp.
Dallas. Shitty television show, shittier town. I instantly think of the smug Jerry Jones. I also think of white tight ends who were far better than they actually should have been- like Novacek and Pearson. Moose Johnston always baffled me. All Dallas is comprised of is transplant fans and long stretches of highway. That football stadium is trying to suck the life out of Vegas boxing with greedy bids and the lure of a giant television screen. In a time when the economic downturn is so bad, when unemployment is at an all time high, when America starts wavering, who shows up but the stinky rich A-holes of affluence , Jerry Jones and Mark Cuban. Their wealth has become a bigger storyline than the teams they shove out there. Cuban finally shuts up and the Mavs will a championship away from scared Lebron, he off 75 cents, short a fourth quarter. The Cowboys meanwhile have attached their apple cart to the pansy Tony Romo, world’s most hated quarterback. Is he dating Jessica Simpson? Is he dating Ms. Missouri? Jesus-who cares--win some playoff games. Stop flaunting your averageness all over our television screens. You’re called America’s Team, when the oh-so pious Tom Landry left us believing the Jesus-loving Cowboys were Saints but this America sat back and watched the rap sheets pile-up at the White House brothel, like Emmitt Smith’s rushing yards. Just take a look at some of these classic Cowboy crimes
. We’ve got multiple Cowboys stealing from their own mothers, young male molestation, crack smoking, spousal abuse, sexual assault of a paraplegic minor, dealing to undercovers, and the classic coke line off a stripper’s breast. At least Michael Irvin wore his pink mink coat to the trial. I didn’t even mention Pac Man’s penchant for the tata tassels. Overall though, its the love for the Dallas Cowboys in other cities that remains intolerable. Your city attracts dummies with reasons for allegiance rivaling a sexually assaulted paraplegic minor. Why do you like the Cowboys? I like the star. My daddy liked them. I wanted to be a cowboy when I was younger. I can’t take them seriously- their brain cells destroyed from Miller Lite pounders
and Leon Lett fumbled bong rips. It seems like a cheap shot against the Stars-not a terrible franchise by any stretch of the imagination, just another lost transplant from Minnesota; it’s the fact that just last year you set a franchise record in attendance at a Stars game, but just months later set a franchise record low in attendance. You guys clearly have no idea what you are watching or why you do it. Same goes for FC Dallas. They went to the MLS Cup Finals in 2010, bet you didn’t know that--or the fact that they’re currently in last place, but it doesn’t really matter--they don’t have a star on their field.
Orlando's performance in this matchup was vintage Boise State...lots of smoke and mirrors. Let's go down the check list, shall we? It's appropriate to say that the Cowboys smoked
the UCF Knights on and off the field, from hot boxing their Escalades
to high stepping
into the endzone. The Mavs-Magic round was a pitchers' duel, neither putting anything on the scoreboard until Dirk went blitzkrieg on the whole league in 2011. Penny and Shaq's cultural influence took on a life of its own but Orlando was never able to pull a title out of the rabbit's hat. No need to call to the bullpen to wake the Rangers up, they won't need to close this one out. Same goes for the Stars, Mustangs, Horned Frogs and FC Dallas. We could be headed for a classic NFC East rivalry with DC and Dallas both breezing through round one, check back in for their Sweet 16 matchups next week.