It's Groundhog Day. Punxsutawney Phil is supposed to be the star, letting us know if winter is staying or spring is coming.
But for some in Wisconsin sports, they're more like the "other" famous Phil from a different kind of "Groundhog Day," reliving the same thing (or facing the same questions) over, and over, and over.
Like Bill Murray's character Phil Connors in the now 22-year-old comedy, the following Wisconsin sports stars seem to be stuck in the same moment.
Will 2015 finally offer some kind of reprieve?
While the openings of spring training of 2012, 2013, 2014 and now 2015 have each different "feels" for the 2011 National League Most Valuable Player, there is a "here we go again" element to it in that we’re wondering what kind of player will be patrolling the outfield at Miller Park.
The now 31-year-old right fielder is coming off the worst season of his career (in which he played at least 100 games) and underwent a thumb procedure in the offseason to hopefully correct an injury, but really, no one knows if Braun can regain the MVP form he last showed in the 2012 regular season.
The Milwaukee Bucks big man remains suspended for violating the National Basketball Association’s drug policy until Feb. 7 (at the earliest) and we’re again wondering what’s up with the enigmatic 26-year-old.
He rose to prominence – and earned the adoration of fans not only in Milwaukee, but across the country – as a Defensive Player of the Year candidate in the Bucks’ unlikely playoff year of 2012-13.
Then, three games into the 2013-14 season it went off the rails, first with an off-court incident that resulted in an injury that kept him out two dozen games. He returned to average 8.5 points and 7.7 rebounds before another injury sidelined him another 20-plus games before his year ended in suspension for drug use.
Another offseason brought about more optimism, but after 27 games Sanders took leave from the team for "personal reasons," which has since been added to with his second drug penalty.
It’s yet another year of uncertainty for those who root for Bucky football.
- February 2012: Bret Bielema was the head coach, and would lead that squad to an 8-5 record.
- February 2013: Gary Andersen was the head coach, and would lead that squad to 9-4 record.
- February 2015: Paul Chryst is the head coach, and who knows what this fall holds with Heisman finalist Melvin Gordon off to the NFL.
Athletic director Barry Alvarez hopes that he’s truly done coaching games and looking for replacements once the calendar flips, and Badgers fans are hoping that bringing Chryst back to Madison is akin to Phil kissing Rita and the cycle of Groundhog Day finally breaks.
Packers in the playoffs
Man, Feb. 6, 2010 seems like ages ago, doesn’t it?
Well, at least in football terms, it does. Three years and 361 days have passed since Aaron Rodgers slung a championship belt over his shoulder and confetti rained down upon the green and gold in Texas.
Since then, Mike McCarthy’s bunch has run through the regular season at a 46-17-1 clip, a mark that improves to 43-13 with Aaron Rodgers under center.
But, when the calendar has turned to the postseason, the Packers are just 2-4, including a 2-2 mark at Lambeau Field and one trip to the NFC Championship game.
Jim Owczarski is an award-winning sports journalist and comes to Milwaukee by way of the Chicago Sun-Times Media Network.
A three-year Wisconsin resident who has considered Milwaukee a second home for the better part of seven years, he brings to the market experience covering nearly all major and college sports.
To this point in his career, he has been awarded six national Associated Press Sports Editors awards for investigative reporting, feature writing, breaking news and projects. He is also a four-time nominee for the prestigious Peter J. Lisagor Awards for Exemplary Journalism, presented by the Chicago Headline Club, and is a two-time winner for Best Sports Story. He has also won numerous other Illinois Press Association, Illinois Associated Press and Northern Illinois Newspaper Association awards.
Jim's career started in earnest as a North Central College (Naperville, Ill.) senior in 2002 when he received a Richter Fellowship to cover the Chicago White Sox in spring training. He was hired by the Naperville Sun in 2003 and moved on to the Aurora Beacon News in 2007 before joining OnMilwaukee.com.
In that time, he has covered the events, news and personalities that make up the PGA Tour, LPGA Tour, Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the National Hockey League, NCAA football, baseball and men's and women's basketball as well as boxing, mixed martial arts and various U.S. Olympic teams.
Golf aficionados who venture into Illinois have also read Jim in GOLF Chicago Magazine as well as the Chicago District Golfer and Illinois Golfer magazines.