Commentary

The Best of Page 2: 10 years of insanity

Originally Published: November 9, 2010
By Mike Philbrick | Page 2

Best of Page 2ESPN.com Illustration

When my colleagues decided that the task of compiling the best material in Page 2 history would fall to me, I was honored. I've been working on Page 2 since the summer of 2002, so I was ecstatic that my years of wit, wisdom and perspective were not only being appreciated, but also put to proper use.

"No," said fellow Page 2 editor Thomas Neumann. "It's because you've been here the longest."

Fair point. So with that I will channel my wisdom through philosopher Charles De Mar, who in "Better Off Dead" famously declared, "I've been going to this high school for seven and a half years. I'm no dummy."

Before we open our vault, let me offer an apology in advance. As we all looked back at the millions of words posted on Page 2 through the years, we didn't run into a problem of where to start, but where to stop. So for all those links that didn't make the cut, I promise you'll make it in 2020. And I can make that pledge because I'll probably still be here putting it together.

Let's start at the beginning …

When we launched, we looked like this. And we still did as an adorable 12-month-old, when we felt we earned the right to crown an MVP. Then as we hit the terrible 2s, we were congratulated by our favorite targets. But when we hit 3, we sported a new look and dared to peek at our future. When all else failed in those first few years, there was always Nick Bakay's Tale of the Tape to keep us entertained.

From the date of its launch on Nov. 6, 2000, there has been one constant on Page 2. [Pause to allow bloggers to say something derogatory]. That would be Jim Caple. We sent him everywhere we were pretty sure he didn't belong -- like the motorcycle rally in Sturgis, to Europe to cover the wife-carrying championships. Then back the next day to see how he would do lugging Mrs. Caple. With his University of Washington days in his rearview mirror, we even sent Jim back to school to soak up March Madness life in the 21st century.

Caple has covered nearly every sporting event known to man. But if he couldn't make it to one, he would write a parody of it. Here are a few of our favorites:

Yankee Stadium
Hoosiers
Seinfeld
Bull Durham

On April 5, 2001, a freelance contributor known as The Boston Sports Guy wrote the redemption of Nomar Garciaparra. Of course, I'm talking about Bill Simmons. I could go on and on with a few hundred Simmons links that helped countless readers survive tiresome work days, so instead I'm going to leave you with my two favorites:

Idiot's Guide to Gold Club Trial
The first annual Atrocious GM Summit

Too often we had to take a break from not taking life and sports seriously to say farewell to colleagues. Ed Bradley of "60 Minutes" took the reins to say goodbye to the Good Doctor, Hunter S. Thompson. By the way, the X Games should totally include the concepts laid out in Thompson's last column.

When columnist Ralph Wiley passed away, the tributes poured in throughout the day. Ralph was one of our unique voices who could eloquently write on the Women's World Nude 9-ball Championships and the state of race and sports through the lens of O.J. Simpson.

Let's just get to the greatest hits tracks, shall we? Without further narrative or lengthy explanation, here are some other memorable moments that captured the essence of what Page 2 has always tried to be [another pause for snarky blogger remarks]:

• We let a "sports figure" who won't ever appear in a box score talk about his naked truth.

• We dared to ask the question on everyone's mind: What's it like to run four miles while eating a dozen donuts?

• We offered to do something no one else has been able to do in more than a decade: help the Knicks.

• We dared to honor the insignificant accomplishments of the NFL's heroes of August and the greatest moments in Pro Bowl history.

• We sent people in search of hallowed traditions you might have missed.

• We offered the reality TV producers of the world some new ideas for free.

• We tried to tell a sports legend he was making a mistake with a little help from a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author.

• We often tried to let the pictures speak their 1,000 words, then decided to do the talking ourselves anyway.

• We got just a little obsessed with sneakers.

• We had a bizarre obsession with weddings from Mia & Nomar to Anna & Enrique to Tom & Gisele to Khlomar.

• We thought you might need a little help, so we offered a guide on how to watch the Olympics.

• We did our best to try to turn you into our version of decathletes.

• We watched some YouTube clips and decided to get the story behind the highlight.

• We offered a free game of Madden for those who didn't have the money for the real thing.

• We sent one of our editors out to see if people would believe he's an All-Pro quarterback.

• We attempted to motivate college graduates by using as many movie clichés as possible.

• We, only once in a while, would refrain from comment and let the sports figures do the talking.

• We took one one of the greatest rivalries in sports to see how their all-time rosters would stack up against each other.

• We stopped worrying about the NBA when Tim Donaghy was arrested and wondered what the mafia was thinking through all this.

• We would occasionally lose perspective and get borderline creepy, like when we celebrated Maria Sharapova turning 18 in song and in each time zone.

• We often pulled back the Hollywood curtain to educate everyone on the difference in real life and in reel life.

• We helped anyone trying to go undefeated in the NFL by giving them directions to Mercury Morris' neighborhood.

• We put the Scripps National Spelling Bee contestants on the spot to see how they would make it in our world.

• We didn't blink an eye in 2003 when we asked Michael Vick what else he wanted to do and he told us, "I want to go on a safari trip. I want to go to a jungle where I can see all kinds of tigers and elephants because I love animals."

• We had something to say about every day on the MLB calendar.

• We warned you about the opponents you will encounter in pickup basketball -- not once, but twice.

• We told you when it was OK to cry.

• We compiled the all-time NFL Power Rankings.

• We wondered where the line is between decency and trophies.

• We offered up a year in review by celebrating only news that Page 2 would love.

• We told the story of major league dreams on hold way out on Long Island.

• We wondered what was so wrong with a coach looking out for his players as they navigated the dangerous college party circuit.

• We didn't mock, but instead praised the concept of the mock draft by giving one that would curl Mel Kiper Jr.'s hair.

• We finally got to the bottom of the ubiquitous Tom Emanski's Defensive Drills commercial.

• We explained the damage that watching the Super Bowl can do to one's health.

• We decided once and for all on the greatest meat of all time.

Phew … that's it for now. Thanks for 10 years and, as always, thanks for reading.

Mike Philbrick is an editor for Page 2.

Back to Page 2


• Philbrick: Page 2's Greatest Hits, 2000-2012
• Caple: Fond memories of a road warrior
• Snibbe: An illustrated history of Page 2
Philbrick, Gallo: Farewell podcast Listen

Mike Philbrick | email

Grantland contributor
Mike Philbrick is an editor for Grantland.