It’s out with the old and in with the new. So, here are Ten Predictions For 2009 Guaranteed Not To Come True. These are in no particular order.
#10: The NFL Says No To Mike Vick: Former Atlanta Falcons quarterback Mike Vick has been out of the NFL for two seasons now due to his illegal dogfighting activities. He should be released sometime during the course of this year. In an unprecedented move, none of the thirty-two teams in the NFL sign him, saying he’s just too risky of a person to invest money in.
Here’s why that won’t happen. The NFL is a league of mercenaries. If you have talent, you are going to get a job. If you can help a team win, someone is going to take a chance on you. Vick, despite his relative lack of success as a quarterback in the NFL, will find work somewhere. He has crazy talent. And, in a league of copycats, you are going to see teams go with a version of Miami’s Wildcat offense. Vick is a perfect fit. He may not be a full time quarterback, but most people would be scared to see him in the Wildcat. And don’t forget about Al Davis, who loves taking risks. It would not be a shock to see him in silver and black this coming September.
#9 – Terrell Owens Takes A Vow Of Silence: After his latest meltdown, Terrell Owens will find himself looking for a new team when the Cowboys cut him loose. Since he still has the ability to be a gamebreaker, some other team will sign him. At the news conference announcing the signing, Owens states that he will no longer talk to the media. No more news conferences. No more interviews with ESPN. Nothing. Owens will smile and say “This time I’ll just let my play do the talking.”
Here’s why that won’t happen. Owens can’t help himself. He’s just that kind of person. There are people who run away from the spotlight, and people who run towards it. Owens loves it when people talk about him. It doesn’t matter if it’s positive or negative, because he thinks any publicity is good publicity. Yes the Cowboys will let him go. Yes he will find another new team. But he, at some point, will say something that will have people shaking their heads in disgust.
#8 – The Yankees Announce They Will Stop Signing Free Agents: After spending over $420M on CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, and Mark Teixeira, the Yankees will come up short (once again) in their quest to to win the World Series. They will still have holes in the rotation. They will still need a corner outfielder. But, with a payroll of over $200M, GM Brian Cashman says the Yankees are sitting out free agency because they just don’t have the money. The recession has hit them as well, and they need to watch their pennies like everyone else.
Here’s why that won’t happen. Two words. Hank Steinbrenner. They say the apple doesn’t fall that far from the tree, and Hank is just like his father George. He has already shown a propensity for making bold statements to the media. He also has his father’s thirst for buying players. He can’t help himself. The Yankees will fall short in 2009, but don’t think for a second that Hank will sit and watch as other teams sign free agent studs like Vladimir Guerrero and John Lackey.
#7 – Tiger Woods Returns; Goes Winless: Tiger Woods will make his return to golf at The Master’s in April. The last time we saw him, he won the U.S. Open on one leg in a fantastic playoff against plucky Rocco Mediate. Tiger will say on the Tuesday before the Master’s that his knee is a hundred percent, that he is ready to reclaim his rightly spot as the #1 golfer in the world. But while his knee will be a hundred percent, his swing will be something less than that. He will struggle to find his groove, and fail to win a single tournament in 2009.
Here’s why that won’t happen. Tiger’s too good. There has never been a golfer like him before, and there may never be another one like him again. He is not human. He is Superman. Not only will he win, but he will probably win The Master’s. Heck, he might even win a second major. This is one prediction that I’ll be happy to see fall by the wayside.
#6 – The Cleveland Cavaliers Sign Lebron James To A Contract Extension. In late July, the Cavaliers will shock the world. They will call a news conference, where Lebron James will sign an extension with the Cavs. The new deal will take Lebron off the market in the Summer of 2010. General Managers in Detroit, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Europe will come to the realization that their fantasies of Lebron wearing their uniform will just not happen. And at least one of them will wind up losing their jobs.
Here’s why that won’t happen. Why would Lebron leave money on the table? He might not be able to make more money playing basketball anywhere but Cleveland, but it’s not about that. It’s about growing his brand. Endorsement opportunities. He is viewed by Madison Avenue as the next Michael Jordan. If he signs in New York, L.A., or Chicago, he will likely make double off the court than he will on the court. It’s business, and Lebron has said on many occasions he is a businessman as well as a basketball player. Besides, the Knicks will promise him that they’ll change their uniforms to look just like the ones his favorite team – the Yankees – wear.
#5 – Plaxico Burress Stays Out Of Trouble. 2008 was a busy year for Plax. He won a Super Bowl, got suspended for failing to show up to practice (claiming he took his kids to school), shot himself in the leg (it takes real talent to do that), and had cops show up to his crib looking for more guns. Not quite a normal year in the life, if you know what I mean. As a result, Mr. Burress will likely be looking for a new job, if he can manage to stay out of jail.
Here’s why that won’t happen. Plax hasn’t changed since his days at Michigan State. He had the reputation of being a slacker then. It didn’t change when he was in Pittsburgh. It sure as hell didn’t change when he was with the Giants. Why would it change now?
#4 – BCS Goes Bye-Bye. After four BCS Conference teams end the season undefeated, the people that run college football (the college presidents and network executives) finally see the error in their ways. ESPN announces it is backing out of its agreement to broadcast BCS games. The college presidents will get together and demand a playoff. Fans all over the world rejoice.
Here’s why that won’t happen. It’s called money. There’s too much of it to be made with the BCS. Fans all over the world cry in their beer.
#3 – Al Davis Hires a Real Head Coach. Saying he’s tired of being an embarrassment, Oakland Raiders Owner Al Davis decides to hire a real head coach. One with experience as a head coach in the NFL. One who isn’t a former Raider from the 1970’s. Davis also promises to stay out of his new coach’s way, saying the game has changed dramatically since he was a head coach in the sixties. Raider Nation throws a party like they haven’t seen in Oakland since the seventies.
Here’s why that won’t happen. Al just can’t help himself. He still views himself as the genius he was over forty years ago. he looks at himself as a man who couldn’t possibly be wrong about anything. And the yes men he has surrounded himself with won’t even try to stop him.
#2 – The NHL Becomes a Major Sport Once Again. Back in the 70’s and 80’s the NHL was one of the four major sports in the country. Thanks to Tiger Woods, the growth of NASCAR, a strike, a lockout, and the neutral zone trap the league is barely a step above Roller Derby in terms of awareness around the country. But, 2009 will be the year that Sid the Kid (Crosby for those of you that don’t know) and Alexander Ovechkin put the league back on the map. Arenas across the country will be sold out. Ratings will skyrocket. Gary Bettman will smile (does he ever really do that).
Here’s why that won’t happen. The NHL has never done anything to re-introduce itself to sports fans at large. They pretty much say “Here’s the product. You should like it.” Crosby isn’t as visible as he should be. Neither is Ovechkin. Tickets still cost too much to see an NHL game. The economy is in the tank. The NHL will remain a second tier sport.
#1 – Brett Favre Makes A Quick Decision On His Future. Saying he won’t repeat the soap opera he created during this past off-season, Brett Favre announces in early January that he will return to the Jets for a second season. Since there won’t be any drama, ESPN will struggle to fill their sixty minute Sportscenters. Radio Talk Show Hosts will need to come up with new material.
Here’s why that won’t happen. Do I really have to go into that??
There you go. ten New Year’s predictions guaranteed not to come true. Have a Happy New Year!