The Craziest Year in Sports? Ever?

The Cubs won the World Series last night.

You get a goat. You get a goat. You get a goat. EVERYONE GETS GOATS!

That’s what that curse is, right? Everyone in Chicago was denied goats?

But seriously, I personally never thought I would say those 6 words. The Cubs won the World Series. 108 years expired between championships. The longest drought in the history of sports is over. It’s crazy that that happened.

But what’s more, it’s crazy that it happened this year. 2016 has been the year of sporting miracles. Besides the Cubs historic season, there was also Believeland (Cleveland) getting their championship, and nearly getting another one. There was Leicester City, a very small English Premiere League team, winning it all. Phil Kessel won a cup. It was an insane year.

And that’s not even the biggest story.  The NFL has been on a downturn. They look like they’re falling down the mountain that they built. Whether it’s player discipline, punishment, or just the lack of dominant teams, the NFL has not looked this bad in a long time.

Usually there are few dominant teams you can safely say will be in the Super Bowl. Last year was the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers. You knew in the regular season those two would face off. This year, the closest we get is Dallas and New England, and neither is a perfect team. New England lacks defense. Dallas lacks experience.

Which means that the NFL could truly be anyone’s game this year. It would not surprise me to see a wild card come from nowhere to win it all. That hasn’t happened since the Giants/Packers Super Bowls.

muhammad_aliSo, again, it’s been an insane year in sports. Usually, losing the greatest boxer of all time would be the biggest story of the sporting year. This year, I just mentioned it. That’s how weird this year has been. Admit it, some of you have forgotten we lost Muhammad Ali this year.

So, let’s say this craziness continues into the next year. Let’s say 2017 is just as crazy. Don’t worry though, it won’t be. Let’s look at some of the story lines that we could see in sports that could rival this year.

The year is 2017. We safely elected Hillary. Don’t worry, not everything has to be insane. She gets to give the Cubs the White House tour they’ve been needing for 100+ years. But she’ll give some unexpected guests a tour as well.

You see, Russell Westbrook is still averaging a triple-double. He truly is shining as the biggest MVP candidate. The Thunder are somehow managing a better record than the Warriors. The man is on a streak of just beating everyone. He is simply that much better.

As the Thunder begin to pick up momentum, everyone around Westbrook begins to play with swagger and try to get on his level of dominance. The Thunder are racing towards the playoffs.

We’re now well into March, and there’s still no sign of slowing. Russell Westbrook could have a top 3 scoring season. He looks like the true challenger to LeBron James’s claim for best player in the league. The Thunder make a deadline deal, sending a second round pick, Joffrey Lauvergne, and Kyle Singler to the Clippers, a team in fluctuation. In return, the Thunder receive Blake Griffin.

The Thunder win the second seed after the Spurs. They run through the playoffs, including four wins over the Warriors. It’s the Thunder vs. the Spurs. Nobody saw it coming. Then again, nobody expected Phil “Coach Killer” Kessel to win a Cup.

The Thunder get past the Spurs in 7. The Cavaliers loom large. In a 6 game series, Russell Westbrook manages 5 triple doubles. Steven Adams ends up averaging 20 points a game. Oladipo hits key 3s. And the Thunder, without Kevin Durant, win the NBA Championship. Welcome to the beginning of the sports year.

In the NFL, everyone is watching this happen. Nobody can believe it. Except the Detroit Lions, who realize they can do the same thing.

Over the next 8 games, the Lions win 6. They are playoff-bound for the first time since the highway robbery in 2014. They are the first wild card, because of their win over Philadelphia. They face the Minnesota Vikings, after winning both of their games this season in the last two minutes.

Detroit easily wins, despite several reffing mistakes/missed calls/just blatant biases. Detroit now goes up against Dallas, after Philadelphia loses to Seattle. Dallas is prepping for a Super Bowl run when Detroit comes in.

But here’s the thing – after the BYE week, the one missing piece of the Detroit Lions defense returns. DeAndre Levy is healthy again, and has fixed the Lions TE problems and helps with the run. Ansah has been freed to rush the passer again. They look dangerous. Banks, who has good chemistry with Slay, helps shut down long passes.

Dak Prescott is injured in the first half. Tony Romo must step up for the Dallas offense, but having missed the season, he’s rusty. Detroit takes advantage, and Matthew Stafford scores three touchdowns. Two to Marvin Jones, one to Anquan Boldin.

Detroit moves on to face Atlanta. The Falcons haven’t fixed their defense, and Detroit again takes advantage. Stafford throws long passes, and Marvin Jones and Golden Tate are there to catch them. Eric Ebron shines as a redzone target.

The Detroit Lions, one of the NFL’s longest droughts, are going to the Super Bowl. On the other side, the Patriots have been completely dominant. Sound familiar?

Guess what, New England? You don’t get five. Detroit wins the game against a week Patriots defense in the final two minutes. Brady looked like he would single-handedly win the game in the first half, but the Lions defense steps up in the second half. Matthew Stafford brings the game back within reach for the Lions. They have just one minute to score, down 4. Stafford hits Tate several times, and, with 20 seconds remaining, heaves the ball from the forty to Eric Ebron, who drops it… into the hands of Anquan Boldin. The Lions are up with 14 seconds remaining.

Enough time for Brady? Nope, the Patriots special teams fumbles the return, and watch the seconds tick away. The Detroit Lions win the Super Bowl.

Yes, that’s two of my teams. You haven’t seen nothing yet.

Cause the Chicago Blackhawks are streaking. They look like the Stanley Cup favorites, and have taken advantage of many teams’ defenses, and have beaten squarely the Penguins and the Lightning, the two teams they would likely face in the Cup.

As the Blackhawks race towards the Stanley Cup Finals, only the Sharks are true contenders in the West. The Sharks went to the Stanley Cup, now they want it in their hands. In a 6 game series, though, the Blackhawks ware down the Sharks older team, and walk away victorious.

In the East, the Capitals have overcome their second round curse. They want the Cup for Ovechkin. They want the Cup for Holtby. They want the Cup for Backstrom. The Capitals walk easily into the Stanley Cup Finals in a 5 game series with the Lightning after a 7 game victory over the Penguins.

The Capitals do what no other team in the East has done in a decade – they beat the Hawks for the Stanley Cup. It takes two overtime periods in Game 7, but Vezina favorite Corey Crawford loses track of the puck behind Lars Eller. The Blackhawks would have had a chance to win the game in the first overtime, but Holtby, without a true screen, sees it easily. Man, if only the Blackhawks had a net-front presence. Wait…

Turns out there’s a new curse in sports to replace the Curse of the Goat. That curse is the curse of 3-1. A city can only win one championship in seven games. It keeps repeating itself – the Cleveland Cavaliers made a 3-1 upset. The Chicago Cubs made a 3-1 upset over Cleveland. It only makes sense that the Chicago Blackhawks, with a 3-1 lead, are upset. Washington starts panicking for the Wizards. They don’t need to worry about the Wizards.

Who they need to worry about is the Washington Nationals. The Nationals run through the regular season. Their pitching looks strong, and over the offseason they added some bats to help Bryce Harper. They’re going to the National League Championships. Against defending champion Cubs. The Cubs had a bit of a down year, and have a championship hangover. They’re the three seed this year, and the Nationals have home field advantage.

They take the first two games. The Cubs battle back in the third. The Nationals look like they’re on the verge of winning it all in the fourth game. It’s a 3-1 lead. Washington panics. Why couldn’t they let them win a second game?

The Cubs rally back behind the pitching of Jon Lester (who fixed his throwing to first yips) and reliever Andrew Miller, who the Cubs traded for.

The Cubs are going back to the World Series. Chicago may have lost one dynasty with the Hawks, but it looks like they’re on the verge of a new one. The team on the other side? The Chicago White Sox, who, having found an actual manager, stay consistently good. It’s an all-Chicago World Series. The Cubs get up 3-1. They can’t blow a 3-1 lead against their own city, surely! Nope. The Chicago White Sox, behind the hot like fire bat of Jose Abreu, win the World Series.

Oh, and the Premiere League is the one safe thing. Manchester United wins it all. But guess who wins in 2018? Queen’s Park Rangers, who rally in the standings to qualify for the Premier League in 2017 and get access to top-tier talent.

Like I said, it’s not gonna happen. But a man can dream.

Oh, and loser city is now Phoenix, Arizona. But I’ll write about that later.

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