All championships are hard-earned, but perhaps none more so than those won in a year 2020 that was full of tumult. Before the pandemic set in and shut down the sports world, the Kansas City Chiefs won Super Bowl LIV as Patrick Mahomes announced himself as the game's biggest star. The Los Angeles Dodgers ended their 32-year World Series drought, and the Tampa Bay Lightning hoisted the Stanley Cup for the second time in franchise history.
The 2020 nominees for Sports Illustrated's Team of the Year Award
- Milwaukee Bucks
- Kansas City Chiefs
- Los Angeles Dodgers
- Tampa Bay Lightning
The Bucks took home the award for using their platform to take a stand against racism.
For the second year in a row, the NBA's best regular-season team was the Bucks. And for the second year in a row, the road ended in playoff heartbreak. Milwaukee's postseason woes have been painful for Bucks fans, but their regular season success has not been merely empty calories. As proof of concept, two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo signed on for five more years, extending the Bucks' window of contention for a championship. Could the franchise's 2020 end up being an example of losing the battle en route to winning the war? Time will tell.
Kansas City Chiefs
Fifty years after climbing the mountaintop in Super Bowl IV, Kansas City finally reached the summit again. The Chiefs trailed, 20-10, after three quarters before stunning San Francisco by ending the game on a 21-0 run. The win was a coronation for quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who was the league's Most Valuable Player in 2018 and took home game MVP honors with his clutch fourth-quarter performance. It also concluded a redemption arc for Andy Reid, who's staked his claim as one of the best coaches the game has ever seen by putting to bed his past failures in big games.
Los Angeles Dodgers
It turns out the eighth time was the charm for this current Dodgers run. Los Angeles had won the National League West every year since 2013 but had continually come up short in October. It looked like more sorrow was in store in 2020 after the Dodgers fell behind, 3-1, to the Braves in the NLCS. But the team rallied thanks to postseason hero Corey Seager, who hit .328 in the playoffs en route to winning the NLCS and World Series MVP awards.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Like the NBA, the NHL saw a significant suspension of play when the pandemic forced the league to shut down in mid-March. Tampa Bay got off to a white-knuckle start to the playoffs, needing five overtimes to get by Columbus in Game 1 of the first round. The Lightning dropped Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals but won four of the next five to hoist the cup for the second time in franchise history. Victor Hedman was named series MVP after notching six assists and one goal.
Along with "Game of the Year," SI will also recognize:
- Best Dressed, presented by JCPenney
- Game of the Year, presented by Brooks Brothers
- Player of the Year, presented by Yappa
- Muhammad Ali Legacy Award, presented by Wheaties
- 2020 Sportsperson of the Year recipients
The all-new SI Awards will honor some of the best athletes in the world when it announces the winners on Dec. 19th. Tune into the free global broadcast starting at 7 p.m. ET streaming on Facebook via the Sports Illustrated Facebook page. The broadcast will also be simulcast by our partner LiveXLive across 20+ other platforms including SportsIllustratedAwards.com, LiveXLive, YouTube, Twitch, TikTok, Twitter and more.