When 2020 ended we all thought it couldn’t get any worse right? Well, 2021 had its moments and rivaled 2020 with the passing of some major legends and Covid decided to change many plans and teams had to adjust weekly. Any coach in any sport deserves an added bonus for having to coach through this adversity.
Although Major League Baseball has a lot to figure out this offseason one thing we know for sure is that Shohei Ohtani is a freak of nature to be able to hit 40 homers and throw in the high 90’s and be pretty dominant on the mound. At the same time, it is very disappointing for Angels fans to have Mike Trout and Ohtani in the same lineup with nothing but disappointment as a team. Steph Curry has made the 3 point record nearly impossible to break with many years left to add to it. We also had 2 young stars show us that your health should always come first and foremost no matter the stage. Going to start it off with one of the most long overdue rule changes in college sports.
Name, Image, Likeliness (NIL) Changing the NCAA Landscape
Finally, a College Athlete’s Popularity can earn them some well-deserved income while in College. On July 21st the Supreme Court ruled that the NCAA’s restrictions on education-related benefits were illegal and it was unanimous. The only rules are the money cannot come from any Boosters and endorsement deals can’t influence recruiting. Opendorse is projecting college athletes could make about $1.5 Billion just in 2021. Playing sports in College is a year-around commitment and these athletes don’t have time to get a job plus a full workload. For the amount of money brought in collegiately these athletes need to be compensated and some are making 6 and 7 figures.
Naomi Osaka and Simone Biles Put Health Over Accolades
Two of the biggest athletes on the planet put their careers on hold to focus on health. Naomi Osaka was ranked as high as Number 2 in the world before she withdrew from Wimbledon. This happened after she was fined for not meeting her ‘media commitments’ when she refused to answer reporters. Most sports fans know all about Simone Biles’s resume as the greatest US Gymnast in history. She withdrew from most of the Gymnastic events and we all respect her for doing it. Biles and Osaka reminded us all that we are human and that health always comes first. It was a scary site watching Biles in mid-air not look right. She is the GOAT and will be the GOAT until the next generation of Gymnasts rises to that top step on the podium during an Olympic Medal Ceremony.
Oklahoma and Texas Joining the SEC Has the Big 12 in Panic
Maybe the biggest bombshell to drop in College Football was the SEC bringing in two powerful Universities to the mix. As of right now, they are slated to join the SEC in 2025 but that will make the next 3 years very awkward for OU and UT on the road. Schools in the Big 12 feel betrayed by the 2 universities. OK and UT are going to have a brutal time staying competitive with the big-hitters of the SEC. The Bamas, LSU, GA, and Auburn to name a few.
Shohei Ohtani is the Greatest Player this Century?
Shohei Ohtani had a memorable 2021 after winning the MVP he was also voted the Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year. Ohtani put together one of the best statistical seasons in the past century if you factor in his production at the plate and his production on the mound. He had 46 Home Runs, 103 Runs Scored, 100 RBIs, 26 Stolen Bases. He started 23 games as a pitcher and had a 3.18 E.R.A with 156 Strikeouts in 130 innings pitched. His fastball regularly touches the high 90s. It’s a tragedy the Angels couldn’t have won with Ohtani and Mike Trout.
Tiger Woods Began 2021 On a Low Note- The Father-Son Bond Lifts His Spirits To a High to Close Out the Year
Tiger Woods began 2021 in headlines not for winning any tournaments but for totally his vehicle in California. Woods suffered fractures in both legs. However, Woods turned this negative into a positive and spent more time with family, one of which being his 12-year-old son, Charlie Woods. Charlie will be the number 1 golfer in the world in 10 years. Charlie and Tiger participated in the PNC tournament that was a scramble with a family member and finished 2nd behind John Daly and his son.
Phil Makes History
Phil Mickelson became the oldest golfer to ever win a Major at the age of 50. It was the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island, South Carolina. It’s his 6th major and first since 2013. Mickelson now has 6 Majors, joining Lee Trevino and Nick Faldo. The next notable person on the list at 7 Majors is Arnold Palmer.
TOP PLAYS OF 2021
One of the best Final 4 games of all time between the Gonzaga Bulldogs and the UCLA Bruins. Tied at 90 with a last-second shot opportunity from half court with a trip to the Finals and a perfect season on the line? Are you serious? If you watch any NBA or NCAA practice these guys practice this shot but to do it with this much on the line is a lot easier said than done.
The NFL’s greatest kicker re-wrote the record books again with a 66-yard shot heard around the world. This time the stakes were higher because he nailed it as time expired to prevent the Lions from picking up their first win of the season. How do the Lions and their fan base deserve this?
Tom Brady is living his best life and he is the front-runner to win the MVP and he’s 44 years old. He is in a class all by himself and sitting comfortable. He’s taking his boy Gronk with him on his ride as well. Brady and Gronk is the greatest QB-TE duo of All-Time. They now have 92 TDs and only trail Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison, who have connected on 112 TDs.
Steph Curry the New 3 Point King, Passing Ray Allen, While Reggie Commentates
Steph Curry, Madison Square Garden, Spike Lee, Bright Lights and a record to be broken! Ray Allen was in attendance to watch Steph Curry break his record was a moment to remember. What makes it even better was Reggie Miller was announcing the game courtside. Ray Allen passed Reggie in 2011 after holding the record for 11 years. And now, Steph Curry has many years to make this record nearly unbreakable as he shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
Tommy Lasorda- Unfortunately, we lost many iconic figures in 2021. Here is a tribute to some of those we lost starting with one of the two most legendary Dodgers of all time. Tommy Lasorda and Vin Scully have to be 1A and 1B right? Tommy was a 2 x World Series Champ as a manager and 2 x Manager of the Year.
Marty Schottenheimer- Schottenheimer was the 2004 AP Coach of the Year with a 12-4 record with the San Diego Chargers. Two years later he went 14-2 and was fired the next season because of an EGO with the GM. The Chargers spiraled downward after this decision. Marty has a career record of 200-126 with stints with the Browns, Chiefs, Redskins, and the Chargers. In his final year as a head coach, he was 14-2. RIP Marty the NFL community is grateful for what you brought.
Vincent Jackson and Demaryius Thomas- Two of the best Wide Receivers to play in the AFC West were taken far too soon. Demaryius Thomas was 33 and Vincent Jackson was 38 years old. VJ was a 3 x Pro Bowler and Thomas was a 4 x Pro Bowler and a Super Bowl Champion.
Don Sutton- With over 300 career wins, a 4 x All-Star, and a nod into the prestigious Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, Don Sutton passed away in January of 2021. Sutton pitched at an elite level for 3 decades making his debut in 1966 that went strong until 1988. He started with the Dodgers and finished with the Dodgers.
‘Hammerin Hank’ Aaron- Some would argue that Hank Aaron is still the All-Time Home Run leader due to the Steroid Era. Aaron was a 25 x All-Star, 3 x Gold Glove Winner, 2 x Battling Title, a World Series title in ’57, an MVP, and a Hall of Fame induction as the reward. Hank Aaron also spent 3 months in the Negro Leagues with the Indianapolis Clowns.
Bobby Bowden- One of the greatest coaches in College Football history, Bobby Bowden. Bowden coached for 40 years and had a 357-124-4 record and he was 22-10-1 in Bowl games. Bowden began his career at West Virginia but became a legend in Tallahassee for the Florida State Seminoles.
John Madden- One of the most iconic figures in Sports history passed just before the New Year. John Madden wasn’t just a personality in the broadcast booth or the video game that has taken off since it began in 1988. Before all of this, he was the winningest coach in Raiders history with a .759 winning percentage. Madden had a career record of 103-32 with a Super Bowl win. The Hall of Famer also has not flown in an airplane since 1979, therefore, he drover everywhere in his ‘Madden Cruiser.’ His wholesome personality was contagious and he touched the lives of every player, coach, or sportscaster he’s worked with.