It may feel like most of us lost 2020 but sports was a big winner when one by one, they emerged from cancellations and postponements throughout the summer. Let's take a deep dive on who ultimately will be deemed the winners and losers of this unprecedented year on the field.
The NBA commissioner led the way when the coronavirus first sprang up by canceling all games when Nuggets center Rudy Gobert tested positive. It would be the last day of NBA games for 4 months until Silver’s NBA Bubble was ready to resume the season behind an impenetrable perimeter. 2020 will be remembered for many things – but the NBA Bubble will be one of the most prominent.
The Bills QB lost his grandmother in 2020 but Bills Mafia rallied around him to raise more than a million dollars to a Buffalo children's hospital in her honor. Allen responded on the field, going 12-3 and proving his doubters wrong with 34 TD passes to 9 interceptions. The Bills running game also runs through Allen. He added 418 rushing yards and 8 rushing touchdowns. Allen appears to be the AFC’s best bet to beat Patrick Mahomes. And that is something not even Bills Mafia could have predicted during 2020's darkest days.
BWhen the pandemic shut down life in March, many of us assumed it was an opportunity to get in the best shape of our lives. Nearly all of us were wrong. But Bryson emerged from his personal ‘bulking season’ with 40 additional pounds of strength and 20 additional yards on his average drive. He won the re-scheduled U.S. Open in September by six shots and got the golf world talking about the importance of distance, strength and power.
The player previously known for being a short NBA player is now known for being the professional athlete knocked out by a YouTube star. 5’9” Robinson agreed to fight the 6’1” Paul for a guaranteed pay out but the only guarantee by the end of the fight was Robinson’s bruised reputation.
When you’re a quarterback drafted in the first round, you’re probably feeling pretty good. The Packers valued Love so much, they took him at 26th overall in 2020 instead of giving Aaron Rodgers a playmaker. Rodgers responded with his best season in recent memory – more than 4,000 passing yards, better than a 70% completion ratio, a 44 TD-5 INT ratio and a first-round playoff bye. Rodgers isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, which means Love will be holding a clipboard in Green Bay for longer than Rodgers did.
The Washington Football Team took some getting used to in 2020. The abbreviation WFT gives us the WFH Sunday Scaries. The Cleveland baseball team has been known as the Indians since 1914 but beginning in 2022, they too will be called something else. We hope it’s better than Cleveland Baseball Team.
As of this moment, more than 336,000 Americans have lost their lives to Covid-19. This year is dedicated to them and the frontline healthcare workers who comforted them in their final moments alive.
Jeremy Garrison is the co-founder of Popline Media and co-host of The Sports Hangover podcast, available anywhere you listen to podcasts.