I Don't Like Mondays — December 28, 2016
We’ve seen the highs and lows of 2015. What’s in store for 2016?
The 50th Super Bowl is won again by Tom Brady and the New England Patriots as Malcolm Butler returns a last-second fumble 75 yards for the winning score. It marks the second straight year that Butler and the Pats have manufactureda title on an improbable turnover. This time it was the NFC champs, the Arizona Cardinals, who were burned by a miracle finish.
Once again, however, the win was overshadowed by a scandal around the Pats. After 2015’s DeflateGate, this year’s issue was dubbed The Missing Link when their opponents in the AFC Final, the New York Jets, alleged that the first-down chains were shorter when the Patriots had the ball at Gillette Stadium. While Bill Belicheck denied any knowledge of the claim, the NFL has decided to go straight to the U.S. Supreme Court for a ruling on this issue.
After a slow start, the Toronto Blue Jays replace manager John Gibbons with Sportsnet “Manalyst” Gregg Zaun. Following on the exciting finish to the 2015 season, expectations were high for an AL East Division title. But the 25-35 record coming out of spring traininghas left fans and media asking for Gibbons’ scalp.
New Blue Jays president Mark Shapiro, whose father once represented Zaun, says the plain-spoken former Jays catcher will bring focus to a clubhouse that has “lost its way” early in the season. “The hardest issue for Zauny was when I said he couldn’t wear his suits in the dugout,” said Shapiro.
Zaun immediately banned “double-secret handshakes” and ordered bunting practice for his slumping team. Then he added a blockbuster: “To help me keep order in the room I’m also naming Don Cherry as my third-base coach. Everybody gets waved home. And you better finish the check on the catcher.”
In a Stanley Cup Final like no other since 1989, when Calgary topped Montreal, two Canadian teams meet for the Cup. In a series few could have foreseen at the start of the season, Edmonton, led by wunderkind Connor McDavid, edges Toronto, guided by new coach Mike Babcock, in seven stirring games that left the nation exhausted.
The two teams, predicted to be tail enders in the NHL, shock the hockey world with improbable runs to the Final. The Oilers defeat Canadian foes Winnipeg, Vancouver and Calgary on their way to facing the Leafs. Toronto, which trailed 3 games to none in their opening series with Washington, runs off an incredible streak behind the unflappable goaltending of James Reimer.
With no American teams in the Final, NBC relegated Edmonton / Toronto to cable channel CNBC in favour of the Donald Trump Presidential Roast.
The Rio Olympics are postponed for at least one year when it turns out bribes from Brazilian organizer's to the IOC were mysteriously diverted in the bank account of Sepp Blatter, suspended head of FIFA, the international soccer body. Blatter, now a resident of Paraguay, denied any knowledge of where the money had gone.
Johnny Gaudreau and McDavid combine on the winning goal as Team Bieber (the under 23s) upsets Team Canada 3-2 in the final of the 2016 World Cup of Hockey. Team North America vaulted into the Final game by knocking off Team USA 3-1 with Jack Eichel and Sean Monahan getting goals.
On Coach’s Corner, Don Cherry put the win in perspective: “Kids. Whatcha’ you going to do?”
As organizers raise the flag of the under 23s (the cover of Taylor Swift’s 1989) and play Farrell’s “Happy”, commissioner Gary Bettman announced that in the next World Cup all teams will be age sensitive. Six teams— Under 21, 23, 25, 27, 29, 31 and over 33— will contest the next World Cup in 2018. “The success of turning one age group against another has proven out in this tournament,” said Bettman. “National rivalries are so yesterday, like bands we book for the All-Star Game.”
The Toronto Argonauts won the Grey Cup over Calgary. No one in Toronto cared.
Bruce Dowbiggin @dowbboy @NPBroadcaster