Oregon sports fans rallied around many big stories in 2011, but four especially stood out at KGW.com.
The Oregon Ducks football team took their fans to extreme highs and lows in 2011.
The Blazers turned into a hospital ward in black and red uniform and closed the end of the year with the retirement of an icon.
Grant High graduate Ndamukong Suh made the wrong kind of headlines, getting ejected from a Lions-Green Bay game. He then crashed a car in Portland, telling police one story, witnesses telling KGW a different version.
The unquestioned feel-good sports story of the year came courtesy of the Timbers, who captivated Portlanders in their inaugural season.
Ducks smoke it all, on and off field
The Ducks started the year on a proud but disappointing note with a 22 to 10 loss to Auburn for the national championship. The game was lost on a field goal as time ran out.
They opened the season in a big way, playing LSU at Cowboys Stadium in a nationally televised game. Nike designed new 'Pro-Combat' uniforms.
Off-the-field problems plagued the Ducks.
Cliff Harris was first suspended, then kicked off the team for a series of problems with marijuana and licensing and insurance lapses. The Oregon State Police captured a sound bite from a car - "we smoked it all" - that became fodder for both Duck fans and their opponents.
Oregonians suffering through a horrific economic slump learned that former coach and athletic director Mike Bellotti pulls in nearly $500,000 a year in PERS benefits.
The Rose Bowl reportedly will be the last game for running back LaMichael James. Sources report James will declare himself eligible for the NFL draft. He later denied that a decision had been made.
Lastly, fans were handed a Kafka-esque edict. The "Quackers" lips soundmakers were banned from Autzen Stadium.
Oden continues to be Maypole of Blazer injury woes
The Blazers sputtered through another season, losing to the eventual champion Mavericks in round one.
The true fan sat all the way through Game 5 of that series with Dallas to watch Brandon Roy bring back Portland from a 23-point deficit.
Oden did get some appreciation - for a comedy sketch on the Jimmy Kimmel show that was a 'Newlywed Game' parody with LaMarcus Aldridge.
Oden received some sage advice from a Blazer icon. Bill Walton told Oden to just quit, take a break, go to Hawaii and re-evaluate his life.
Another Blazer center had a scare. Arvydas Sabonis suffered a heart attack in his home country of Lithuania. Sabonis noted that all that was left that he could do, under doctor's orders, was have sex.
Just months earlier, he had been in Portland, getting fan love for being named to the Hall of Fame. Spare of words, he told Blazer fans "I appreciate you remember me."
The NBA and the Blazers lost a lot of fan love with the lockout that shortened the upcoming season. Portland fans were vocal about the lockout.
Suh sells Chryslers, crashes Chevelle, in Portland
Ndamukong Suh started the year on a high note. Chrysler featured the Grant High grad and Detroit Lions lineman in and ad shot in Portland that highlighted his roots to Portland.
The Lions went on an impressive win streak, started losing a bit and Suh was ejected for kicking at a Green Bay offensive lineman on Thanksgiving Day.
Suspended to two games, he returned to Portland and caught the attention of fans, police and vintage car gearheads when Suh crashed a beautiful Chevelle in Old Town.
Suh said he swerved to avoid a taxi. Witnesses later said Suh swerved the truth about accident details.
Timbers Army introduces itself to America
The Portland Timbers kicked off their inaugural season with a 4 to 2 victory over the Chicago Fire. The match was broadcast on ESPN2, which aired all of an a capella version of the 'Star Spangled Banner.'
MLS Commissioner Don Garber was at the match. Earlier, he dedicated an Oregon History Center exhibit honoring the 1975 to 1982 Timbers, a team that etched soccer on the Portland brain.
Timbers Coach John Spencer made one thing clear. His team will make no excuses, and fear no one, especially the crybaby Sounders.
The team missed the playoffs, but 97 percent of Timbers fans renewed season tickets.
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