2015 in sports … the year (almost) nothing went as planned – Chicago Tribune
This was a year when sports surprised and amazed us.
The Fountain of Youth went dry for Peyton, Kobe and Tiger, whose 85 at the Memorial might be the year’s most mind-boggling score.
Golf has a new Big Three: Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy and Jason Day. They all have as much charisma as talent.
Lydia Ko became the world’s No. 1 golfer before turning 18. Serena Williams, with the Grand Slam in her reach, fell to a 300-1 shot who apologized after the match. The U.S. women’s soccer team scored, scored, scored, scored and scored again in the World Cup championship game against Japan. Ronda Rousey took one on the chin.
Those ubiquitous win-probability figures and FiveThirtyEight charts make you think you know how a game is going to end. Then an Australian-born punter bobbles a snap, tries to boot the ball instead of falling on it and has it land in the hands of Michigan State’s Jalen Watts-Jackson, who breaks his hip in the end zone.
We needed the diversions of sports more than ever in 2015, what with controversial police shootings dividing our communities and the scourge known as ISIS threatening our ideals. The explosions of the Paris terrorist attacks were heard during a France-Germany soccer match, merging sports and real life in a horrific way.
Pray for Paris. And in the succeeding days, Play for Paris.
Sports had its own controversies, as always. Roger Goodell can buy a lot of soap with his reported $44.2 million salary, but none can remove the egg from his face. Deflategate rendered the NFL commissioner impotent and revealed that Bill Belichick, who knows everything about everything related to the sport of football, knows next to nothing when it comes to the footballs themselves.
Ohio State won the national championship with a third-string quarterback, but that oddity could not compete with the end of the Miami-Duke game. The Hurricanes used eight laterals — seven of which were legal — to score a touchdown. After a nine-minute replay review, the ACC officiating crew upheld the “win.”
Baseball gave us Joey Bats’ wondrous bat flips, a hustling Eric Hosmer beating a crooked Lucas Duda throw to the plate and the Cubs sweeping the Rookie of the Year, Manager of the Year and Cy Young awards but getting swept out of the postseason by the Mets.
And then Zack Greinke broke the bank-ie, signing a six-year deal for a record $34.4 million per season.
The Blackhawks became a dynasty, and Patrick Kane went from vilified to exalted as he scored point after point.
About the only things that did not amaze: Floyd Mayweather’s dull victory over an apparently injured Manny Pacquiao, the UConn women’s hoops team rolling to another title, Coach K winning a fifth national title over a lovable crew from Wisconsin and the continued brilliance of Novak Djokovic.
As we approach the new year, the Warriors remain in a golden state of bliss, the Knicks have a Great White Hope and LeBron James signed a lifetime contract with Nike. Who says men can’t commit?
We close not with the blather of the shamed Sepp Blatter but with the wisdom of Yogi Berra, now delighting visitors in that ballpark in the sky.
“Where would you like to be buried?” Yogi was asked.
His response perfectly summarized 2015 in sports.