Playing the percentages in the world of sports in 2023:
— Tom Brady, the greatest quarterback ever in the National Football League, will announce his plans for the future: There’s only a 25 per cent chance that will involve continuing to play, with a 75 per cent likelihood of him accepting Fox Sports 10-year, $375 million offer to take his talents to the broadcast booth. Interceptions replaced by interlocution.
— Nathan Rourke, a quarterback with Canadian citizenship who starred for the B.C. Lions in 2022, has an 82 per cent chance of playing at least temporarily for an NFL team, which will sign him to a fairly lucrative contract, and only an 18 per cent chance of returning to play in the Canadian Football League.
— There’s 100 per cent documentation that an opponent did indeed call the world’s best female soccer player, Canada’s Christine Sinclair, “an old hag,” but the soon-to-be 40-year-old still has what it takes to play on the world stage and has no retirement plans, for now anyway.
— There is a nine per cent chance of the Toronto Maple Leafs winning the Stanley Cup this year, but a 91 per cent chance they won’t, extending that Cup-less streak to 56 years.
— Rory McIlroy has a 16 per cent chance of winning the Masters for the first time, giving him the elusive career grand slam, but in a field of around 100 golfers, 16 per cent is pretty good.
— Ten months from now, multi-talented Shohei Ohtani will be a baseball free agent and there’s a 72 per cent chance he will command a contract of at least $500 million, which is half a billion dollars, making Aaron Judge’s $360 million over nine years look like one of those rollback prices at Wal-Mart.
— Felix Auger-Aliassime, who has emerged as Canada’s strongest professional tennis player (No 6 in the world), has a 71 per cent chance of winning one of the four Grand Slam tournaments, now that the Big 3 of Federer, Nadal and Djokovic are seeing their illustrious careers winding down.
— Brooke Henderson is only 25 years of age and has already won 12 times on the LPGA Tour, including two majors, so it’s a good bet, about a 68 per cent lock, that she’ll be hoisting a trophy somewhere in the world in 2023.
— One hundred per cent of sports TV broadcasts in 2023 will be interrupted by at least one gambling-related commercial and an estimated 94 per cent of viewers will be annoyed.
— There’s a 100 per cent chance that LeBron James has lost his title as the NBA’s best player, and a 62 per cent chance that honour now goes to Luka Doncic. The other 38 per cent is split between Giannis Antetokounmpo, Steph Currie and Joel Embiid.
• Comedy writer Brad Dickson of Omaha: “The men’s 100-metre dash record was broken today. The new record was set by me leaving a restaurant after being told there were no real menus and that I’d have to scan a QR code to order.”
• RJ Currie of sportsdeke.com: “It’s been said weather forecasting is a great job because you can be wrong most of the time and still get paid. Same goes for running the Houston Texans.”
• PGA Tour player Mackenzie Hughes, on Twitter: “This has been a tough decision to make, but after talking with my family and friends, I’ve decided to retire. The game has just beaten me up too much over the years. One day I may come back, but for now it’s time to say goodbye to fantasy football.
• Headline at fark.com, after Las Vegas Raiders benched quarterback Derek Carr for the last two games of the regular season: “Raiders putting Carr into storage in the hopes of preserving trade-in value”
• fark.com again: “Broncos fire Nathaniel Hackett. Guess he couldn’t”
• Comedy guy Torben Rolfsen of Vancouver: “Sabres at Blackhawks tickets for Jan. 17 are going for $6. The TV ratings will take a hit, too, when the only person with any interest in the outcome is Connor Bedard.”
• RJ Currie again: “Broncos linebacker Randy Gregory and Rams O-lineman Oday Aboushi were each suspended a game for trading punches on Sunday. Not only was it unsportsmanlike, it wasn’t even Boxing Day.”
• Headline at theonion.com: “Mac Jones calls game ‘must win’ after Bill Belichick shows him picture of his family sleeping.”
• Observation by BP: “Toronto Maple Leafs were fined $250,000 for violating a Players’ Association rule by leaving for St. Louis Dec. 26. It put the NHL one ahead of the NBA in the category of travelling violations in 2022.”
• Phil Mushnick of the New York Post: “To assign ‘Hollerin’ Kevin Harlan an NFL game on CBS or Westwood One Radio, is like listening to a bingo caller on a cruise ship loaded with hard-of-hearing seniors.”
• Headline at theonion.com: “Out of shape streaker ashamed after cramp forces him to walk rest of way across football field.”
• Comedy writer Gary Bachman: “It’s college football’s bowl season. Today, the Weed Bowl will be followed by the Doritos Bowl.” Care to comment? Email email@example.com
by Bruce Penton