It was a year of inspiring performances (see Beijing Games), surprise endings (see Patriots and Lakers) and new faces (see Manny), along with the usual aggravations (see BCS and local teams' woes).

It was a sports year that often seemed blissfully out of touch with the times, with Beijing staging an opulent Olympics amid the backdrop of an earthquake that killed tens of thousands and the New York Yankees' spending hundreds of millions on free agents while an American economy shivered in the winter cold.