It is now time to play “Ghost of Sports Headlines Yet To Come,” and impart the horrible truth. There are simply things that are not going to happen in 2014, in this universe or any other. Of course, there is a chance that they might, and that the comments section for this article could well be filled with people laughing at us about how utterly wrong we were. However, for the moment, the future is wide open and the tea leaves are against these things happening between January 1st, 2014 and December 31st, 2014.
10. Jason Collins Signs With An NBA Team
One of the great feel good stories of the NBA off-season was Jason Collins heroically coming out as an active homosexual athlete. Jason Collins is also a free agent, but it does not appear that Collins will be signed by an NBA team. The reasoning is not image or any type of homophobia. The issue is simply a roster spot. Jason Collins, as a center, recently averaged one minute, and one point, per game. At this point in his career, with or without the gay announcement, Collins would be a hard sell for any team. Even the Brooklyn Nets, which has a history with Collins, along with Brooklyn being the town that signed Jackie Robinson, recently passed on Collins. If the Nets did not show interest, then the likelihood of another team doing so seems unlikely as well.
9. Vin Scully Retires From Dodgers
The Los Angeles Dodgers and Vin Scully recently announced that Scully will return as an announcer for the 2014 season. The question then pops up whether he will actually retire for the 2015 season. Scully has been with the Dodgers organization for going on 66 years. He announced Kmirk Gibson’s home run, was with the team in Brooklyn when Jackie Robinson was signed, and was there when Hank Aaron broke Babe Ruth’s home run record. If Scully does not work the 2015 season, it will be because of health-related reasons, or an unfortunate passing. Beyond that, Scully will not retire next year, and he certainly will not be let go by the Dodgers. That press conference may happen one day, but is simply not going to happen in 2014.
8. Dale Earnhardt Jr. Wins A Sprint Cup Race
In 2014, Dale Earnhardt Jr. will turn 40. Now, Dale’s father won multiple titles after turning 40. Unfortunately, Dale has not really lived up to his father’s legacy, or record, on the race track. The window is starting to close on not only whether Dale Jr. will win a championship, but whether he will even win a race in the coming years. Also, Junior’s concussion last year seems to have had an effect on his performance. A Top 5 finish might be stretching it next year. Predicting a year of not finishing first seems an almost lock.
7. The Cleveland Cavaliers Miss The Playoffs
Since LeBron James left the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2010, it has been kind of assumed that the Cavs would spend a long time in non-playoff purgatory. That will change in 2014. Kyrie Irving has proven to be a solid number one draft choice. Andrew Bynum wants a real contract after the 2013-2014 season. Tristan Thompson and Dion Waiters are both emerging talents. Perhaps best of all, the core of the team is still under 22.
Also keep in mind that, after being top heavy, the East has a lot of sub-par teams. The Cavs case is further encouraged by the fact that the Celtics have entered full-on rebuilding mode. A Cavs playoff run might also do a bit to convince James to look back towards his former home for 2014 and beyond. In that regard, a late-seed playoff appearance is much more important for the Cavs than it would be for, say, the Bobcats.
6. Alex Rodriguez Starts Opening Day for the Yankees
If you gamble long enough, eventually the house is going to win. Alex Rodriguez is appealing his 211-game suspension by Major League Baseball. His own team, the New York Yankees, does not want him to play anymore. Impossibly, A-Rod has become the latest face of the Steroid Era, and all of its attendant scandals. Any appeal is going to be to reduce the suspension, and not to get rid of the suspension altogether, because that’s impossible. Rodriguez simply cannot believe that getting off free will be an outcome.
Major League Baseball is not going to let this go into next season. Whether the appeal is lost next week, next month, or sometime after Christmas, A-Rod will be watching Opening Day 2014 at home.
5. Johnny Manziel To Return To Texas A&M
After everything he’s put them through, Texas A&M may not be able to tolerate much more of Johnny Manziel. More than likely, they will get their wish. In his return to college football, Manziel contributed for three touchdowns in under 8 passes. In one half! Afterwards, all anyone wanted to talk about was how he taunted an opposing player about autographs. Does that sound like good motivation for a supreme talent to stick around?
Let’s face it; Manziel does not want to be at College Station, and will go for the NFL as soon as he legally can. In the incredibly off-chance that he wants to stay in school, A&M most likely will stop covering for him, and might actively work to kick him out due to the embarrassment his actions have caused them. Either way, two years of Johnny Football is all the A&M football program will have to endure. Afer that, he’s Roger Goodell’s problem.
4. Peyton/Eli Manning Plays In 2014 Super Bowl
This will probably be the prediction that gets the most flak in the comments. However, neither Manning will be playing in that upcoming Ice Bowl at Met Life Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. This is, once again, a case of the house money winning. There has never been a host team who has played in the Super Bowl. Never mind that though; this years version of the Giants are simply not mighty enough to buck that trend. The Giants are going to struggle to make the playoffs as a Wild Card team this year. Granted, a sixth seed can go all the way to the Super Bowl and win, which has happened twice before. However, this is simply not Eli’s year.
Denver Broncos fans will be slightly more offended. Peyton Manning is getting to an age range where quarterbacks simply do not carry their teams to Super Bowls. Manning is one of the great regular season quarterbacks of all time. However, Manning is not a great playoff quarterback. Often, Manning has issues winning even one playoff game. Of course, Peyton has been to two Super Bowls, winning one. However, his last Super Bowl was in February 2010, was a losing effort, and occurred before a major neck injury which cost him a year of his career. The Broncos will have a great regular season, will be heavily favored in the playoffs, and might even be the #1 seed. However, neither the Broncos nor the Giants are going to the Super Bowl.
3. LeBron James Signs With The Los Angeles Lakers
Steve Nash is signed for the Los Angeles Lakers in 2014. Beyond that? Everything is wide open. Traditionally, the Lakers have been able to attract any top tier free agent that they wanted. Players were willing to take pay cuts and do whatever they could in order to opt in to La La land. It seems that the Lakers want to recreate that magic with LeBron James, and make him a Laker.
With the Dwight Howard fiasco however, their reputation has started to take a hit. After the death of Jerry Buss, and the subsequent leaving of basketball operations to Jim Buss, the Lakers are a team in both transition and disarray. If the Mike D’Antoni experiment fails, the Lakers will be looking for their third coach in as many years. Even if they got Phil Jackson back, the Lakers would be much lower on James’ priority list than the Miami Heat or the Cleveland Cavaliers.
James turned down iconic franchises like the Knicks and the Bulls. What makes the Lakers think that they will change his mind, considering the state they’re in?
2. Rex Ryan Will Return To Coach The 2014 New York Jets
To be honest, he might not even make it to the end of 2013. After a promising first couple of years, Ryan has fallen out of favor in Gotham. He does not get along with the new General Manager. He has lost control of his team to his offensive coordinator. His vaunted defense of his players has started to fray, thanks to the way he dealt with Geno Smith. Many of the expensive acquisitions which once led to a stellar defense are gone. Ryan and (snicker) Mark Sanchez are the last vestiges of what once was a fondly remembered time in Jets lore.
In the coming off season, Ryan will be one of the most sought after defensive coordinators around, or else he can embark on a career of being interviewed for sports talk radio. He will not, however, be returning as the Jets Head Coach.
1. Tiger Woods Wins A Major
You can’t blame his personal life anymore. It might be the injuries. It might be mental, physical, and emotional burnout. It may be a mental block over approaching and passing Jack Nicklaus. Whatever it is, Woods is not going to get any closer to the Major record in 2014, and possibly beyond. It’s OK; at one point, it seemed like a mere matter of time before Alex Rodriguez claimed both the regular season and all-time home run records. No matter what sport you play, it is simply too difficult to compete at the highest level once you hit your late-30’s.
Now, it is true that Nicklaus won two Majors when he was 40, and won his last Masters when he was 46. There is always a bit of hope, but the crushing amount of evidence still points to 2014 not being Tiger’s year.