The ‘Winnerpeg’ days could be on the way back. If witnessing the rebirth of the Jets, the Blue Bombers’ return to contention and the Goldeyes falling one run short of advancing to the championship round of the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball isn’t enough to warm Manitoban hearts through another long winter, then nothing is.
Winning NFL titles sure beats working nights operating tollbooths on the Pennsylvania Turnpike to make ends meet. February’s epic Super Bowl win, combined with leading the Packers to the best regular season in franchise history, already has Green Bay wanting to name a street after the coach, although given the coaching legends that have come before him, the only surprise is that they have any streets left to name.
The Lord works in mysterious ways, and seeing a de facto running back overcome all odds to lead the Denver Broncos to the postseason precipice is certainly proof of that. Tebow may not be hoisting the Lombardi Trophy come February, but he’s already picked up one award in his first season as an NFL starting quarterback: the most desirable celebrity neighbour. But then who wouldn’t want to live next to a guy who will bless you for borrowing sugar in the middle of the night?
A hockey player in a soccer player’s body, the Burnaby, B.C., native shrugged off a broken nose to score Canada’s lone goal in a miserable women’s World Cup appearance for the 2015 hosts, before leading the comeback at the Pan Am Games, where Canada took gold, and firing her club side – the Western New York Flash – to the Women's Professional Soccer title.
The percentages were certainly in his favour this year. Though he “only” had a 25-per-cent chance of picking up another Grey Cup ring – and duly collected one following the Lions’ win last month – the only two-team owner in the CFL had 100-per-cent chance of striking it rich with the game being played at revamped B.C. Place Stadium, and promptly picked up somewhere between $4.5-million and $6-million for his troubles. Hardly seems fair that his other team gets to host the game in Toronto in 2012.
It was a great year for women’s tennis if new blood is what you were looking for as Li Na, Samantha Stosur and Petra Kvitova were all crowned Grand Slam champions for the first time. Conspicuous by her absence from that list once again though was the world No. 1, although it has done little to hurt the popularity of Rory McIlroy’s better half. After all, anyone can win Wimbledon, but only the truly famous get bestowed with a media tag like Wozzilroy.
For all David Freese’s heroics in leading the St. Louis Cardinals to the World Series title two months ago, the trophy would have been heading to Texas for the first time if the Rangers outfielder had simply hauled in what should have been a routine catch for the last out in Game 6. But then nobody said Bill Buckner had the exclusive copyright on postseason goat horns.
Seeing quarterback Jay Cutler go down with a season-ending injury had the Bears wideout going to extreme lengths to develop a new supply line earlier this month, although being caught trying to buy five to 10 kilograms of cocaine and 1,000 pounds of marijuana per week to distribute in the Chicago area probably wasn’t quite what coach Lovie Smith had in mind.
You can never legislate for lunacy. While concussion awareness is seemingly at an all-time high across all pro sports, that information hasn’t percolated all the way down to Jacksonville, where the Jaguars tailback would happily accept having “trouble walking” in later life if it meant being able to “put food on the table.” With that kind of impaired thinking, it might almost be worth checking him for head trauma. Almost.
Everything seemed to be aligned for The Whore of Akron. The Miami Heat had bulldozed their way through the NBA playoffs and seemed poised to give LeBron his first championship ring last June, but they reckoned without the Dallas Mavericks. “Not two, not three, not four, not five, not six, not seven,” were James’s words when asked how many titles he would win in conjunction with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Maybe he should have started with a single finger before graduating to two hands.