You might not remember the 2015 sports year, mostly because it hasn’t started. But here at SI, our new slogan is “Remember The Future,” which we plan to use when we run for office someday. Our other slogans are “Forget the Past” and “Open the Present.”
Anyway, back to 2015, one of the wildest years in sports history. Here are some highlights of what happens next year:
1. Moments before Super Bowl XLIX between the Patriots and Packers, the referee flips the coin, which lands on its side. Commissioner Roger Goodell declares it both heads and tails, awards both teams the ball, then tells the referee not to worry about it before kicking him out of the league. Confused, the teams ask to see the coin-toss video, but Goodell says it has disappeared as part of a corporate-sponsorship deal with Snapchat. The Packers win an epic, 35-34, before the largest TV audience in history.
2. Alabama wins another national championship, reminding America that, for all of college football’s problems and flaws, it still produces heartwarming stories like Nick Saban getting another raise. Alabama boosters celebrate by buying him a boat.
3. Facing criticism because of potential temperatures in the 120s, FIFA announces it will not move the 2022 Qatar World Cup to winter, but will instead move the 2022 winter to summer. Russian President Vladimir Putin vows to use troops to block the move.
4. LeBron James leads the Cleveland Cavaliers to the NBA Finals, where they face the Oklahoma City Thunder. James averages 40 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists, but Oklahoma City wins because James misses a shot in Game 3 and is therefore not clutch.
5. Sidney Crosby leads the Pittsburgh Penguins to the Stanley Cup, wins the Conn Smythe Trophy, and humbly thanks family and teammates repeatedly, then answers a single question about overcoming the mumps and is therefore a whiner.
6. A tree falls in the forest, but sadly, not on Alex Rodriguez. A-Rod sues the tree anyway.
7. Roger Federer loses in the first round of the Australian and French Opens, but somehow wins Wimbledon. Rafael Nadal tears ligaments in his knee in the first round of the French Open and is devastated when he almost loses a set before winning the tournament again. Novak Djokovic accidentally eats a piece of bacon, sending his body into septic shock. He recovers in time to win the U.S. Open.
8. The NCAA announces it will cover the full cost of attendance, plus $3,000 for living expenses, which for some reason triggers another incentive in Saban’s contract, bumping his pay by another $250,000. Alabama boosters celebrate by buying him a helicopter so he doesn’t have to drive to his boat.
9. In important Johnny Manziel news:
10. With the fourth pick in the NFL Draft, the New York Jets select Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston, who tells the media is “over the moon” about going to New York, then moons them and giggles. When he is told this might irritate Jets owner Woody Johnson, Winston replies, “His name is WOODY JOHNSON?” Winston then falls over laughing and tears his ACL.
11. The IOC announces that, although it is not an Olympic year, cash bribes are still welcome.
12. Checks are fine, too.
13. Yes, of COURSE credit cards will work if that’s all you have.
14. The NFL remains blissfully free of any kind of steroid or HGH problem but there may be a couple of guys who accidentally took Adderall again.
15. Bolstered by new ace Jon Lester and rock-star manager Joe Maddon, the Cubs win 15 straight games. Bolstered by five guys you never heard of, the rival Cardinals win 16 straight games.
16. A high school coach in Kansas sets a Guinness World Record by uttering the word “football” 29 times in a single sentence, immediately earning six job offers from college programs. Asked if he is capable of 30 in the future, the coach says he is taking it one day at a time.
17. Michael Phelps announces that, “After much consideration, I will not participate in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil, because ... wait a second, they are in BRAZIL? OK, I’m going.”
18. In his first season at Youngstown State, in his hometown, former Nebraska coach Bo Pelini revitalizes the football program and gets misty talking about his love for the ----ing town where he ----ing grew up.
19. Rory McIlroy wins two more majors. Mike Trout wins another MVP award. Serena Williams wins everything. Nonetheless ...
20. Your 2015 Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year: Aaron Rodgers.