2020 Tank Awards
The Year of COVID
There were no shining moments, no buzzer-beaters, no nets getting cut. It was just longing and wondering what will happen next as the sports world shut down for four months just before the NCAA Tournament was to start. The NCAA Tournament was canceled, and the rest of the sports calendar was thrown into a state of chaos after the COVID Pandemic hit the world.
Most Annoying Person Award:
Is there anyone that you would love to punch in the face more than Skip Bayless of FS1? The annoying Dallas Cowboys fan has now taken to dancing for his pathetic 6-9 team that is only in a position to win the NFC East because of how historically bad the division is. Add in his normal bad takes, and you have a first-class a-hole.
Empty Suit Award:
When the pandemic hit, commissioners in all four leagues were forced to make hard decisions. Some handled it better than others. Rob Manfred, the commissioner of Major League Baseball, was lost and directionless. The sport looks like it could be heading to a disastrous labor dispute as his lack of leadership and seemingly lack of reverence for the sport has come across. Besides, he could not have done a worse job handling the Astros cheating scandal.
Safe at Home Award
Whatever the reason, many top-level stars, including David Price of the Los Angeles Dodgers, decided not to participate in the 2020 season. Whether it was a concern for family members or their own personal health, players fought for the right to sit out when negotiating the playing conditions in the age of COVID. What missing a season will do for their career remains to be seen as the 2020 year of the pandemic will take years to get fully back to normal.
Higher Calling award:
The Kansas City Chiefs lineman has been a doctor in the offseason for several years. He was the first NFL player to opt-out, choosing to remain a doctor in his native Montreal to take care of COVID patients. Feeling his work on the front line of the COVID crisis was more important than his work on the line of scrimmage at Arrowhead Stadium.
Playing with the Enemy Award:
Each home team is in charge of supplying an emergency goalie if any team loses both goalies on the roster. David Ayers, a Zamboni Driver, was pressed into service for the Carolina Hurricanes and earned the win on February 22nd, as Carolina beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 6-3. Ayers became the first emergency goalie to earn a win in the NHL.
Troll of the Year:
The Los Angeles Dodgers reliever took justice into his own hands, buzzing Carlos Correa in a game against the Houston Astros. Kelly took a step forward, making a pouty face towards the Astros. Kelly was suspended by MLB but supported by the baseball community. There even was a mural painted of the incident in Los Angeles.
Choke of the Year:
Los Angeles Clippers
After leading 3-1 in the second round against the Denver Nuggets, the Los Angeles Clippers folded like a cheap suit. They lost their next three games and missed out on a Los Angeles showdown with the Lakers; this included a lifeless effort in Game 7, in which they lost 114-89, leading to the dismissal of coach Doc Rivers.
Bonehead Play of the Year:
Needing a win to force a seventh game in the 2020 World Series, the Tampa Bay Rays got the start they needed from Blake Snell. Through five innings, he had the Dodgers bats tied in a knot. However, after a one-out hit, manager Kevin Cash went to the bullpen as he would normally do, but it blew up in his face as the Dodgers rallied to win and took the Fall Classic. After the game, the Dodgers said the pitching change gave them a jolt of energy.
Tanks for Nothing Award:
New York Jets
For most of the season, the New York Jets were the worst team in the NFL, historically bad. However, with two wins, their hopes of landing Trevor Lawrence ended as the team that could not do anything right, in the end, could not even tank correctly.
Bust of the Year:
In his second season, Dwayne Haskins has been released with one game left and his team needing a win to make the playoffs. The Washington Team has benefited from the awful NFC East, but it has been done so despite Haskins’ terrible play. Washington drafted him in the first round of the 2019 draft, but after he was benched, his attitude rubbed coach Ron Rivera the wrong way leading to him getting cut after Week 16.
Mascot of the Year:
With no fans in the stands, mascots had to find new ways to entertain themselves this season. Nobody did a better job than Blooper, the mascot for the Atlanta Braves. He often wore camouflage disguised as a tree and even took on Bob Ross’s spirit and painted during games as cardboard cutouts subbed in for real fans all season in MLB and Atlanta.
Overrated Player of the Year:
The New Jersey Devils put the chips on the table, rolled the dice, and came up craps as the trade for P.K. Subban, who was once the best defenseman, blew up in their face. Subban, who was until a few days ago engaged to Lindsey Vonn, was among the NHL’s biggest names, but his first season in New Jersey was a disaster as the Devils never recovered from a bad start P.K. Subban ending up at -21 for the year.
Underrated Player of the Year:
He plays in a major market, he has won a batting title and a silver slugger, but Tim Anderson is not a household name outside of the true baseball fan. Anderson could have gotten MVP consideration for the play he has had with the Chicago White Sox the past two seasons. However, when naming the best players in the game, Tim Anderson often is overlooked.
Comeback of the Year:
Two years ago, Alex Smith of the Washington Football Team suffered a leg injury on the anniversary of Joe Theismann’s leg injury. It was frightfully similar but had worse complications as an infection set in. Smith nearly died and nearly lost his leg. After missing the 2019 season, Alex Smith was cleared to play in 2020 and returned to the same field he hurt his leg and had Washington in contention for a division title.
Rising Stars Award:
Luka Doncic and Trae Young
Because of a draft-day trade in 2018, Luka Doncic and Trae Young will forever be linked. The two are clearly among the NBA’s next generation of stars as both have shown signs of being among the most exciting players in the game in 2020. Doncic has the early edge with a Rookie of the Year as he has become the new face of the Dallas Mavericks. Trae Young, meanwhile, could be the face of the Atlanta Hawks for the next generation as big things should be expected for both.
Los Angeles Rams
Two teams, one stadium in LA, one got their new uniforms right. The other blew it big time. The Los Angeles Rams are the primary tenant at SoFi Stadium, but their “bone white” uniforms look like something you would find in a sandlot. The off-white uniforms look like dirty and unproperly washed, the gradient on the blue uniforms looks amateurish, and the decal on the helmet looks broken.
Los Angeles Chargers
While the Rams’ uniforms look like they belong in a dumpster, the Los Angeles Chargers knocked it out of the park. The Chargers unveiled multiple looks and combinations; most of them worked, the dark blue bold and uniforms were not the best, but not awful it is only when you see these beauties do you see the look the Chargers should go with. Powder blue jersey with yellow pants, the blue number under the yellow bolt on the helmet. When they wore it in a game against the Dolphins white throwbacks, we had the best uniform matchup of the season
Sweet Redemption Award:
Tampa Bay Lightning
A year after their inglorious sweep in the first round, the Tampa Bay Lightning were the kings of bubble hockey, winning their second Stanley Cup. Tampa had one of the best regular seasons in NHL history in 2019, only to get swept by the Columbus Blue Jackets. Tampa faced Columbus again in the first round of the playoffs and survived a five-overtime thriller in Game 1 to launch their road to glory.
Ray Ramirez Award:
Tyrod Taylor was not the long-term quarterback for the Los Angeles Chargers, especially after they drafted Justin Herbert, but the way he lost his job was shameful. Taylor started the season and won the first game against the Bengals. Before the next game, team doctors accidentally punctured his lung, giving him a pain injection, showing that the Chargers special teams are not their most incompetent unit. It makes you wonder did the Chargers hire a certain former Mets’ trainer?
Game of the Year & Play of the Year:
World Series Game 4
The Los Angeles Dodgers had a clear advantage over the Tampa Bay Rays in the World Series played in Arlington, Texas. The Rays though out were pesky, and the series was tied after four games. It was that fourth game that was the best game of the year as the Rays kept fighting back and were down to their last strike when Brett Phillips, the last man on the bench, singled home two runs in a crazy play to win the game 8-7.
Spotting Them Points Award:
Kansas City Chiefs
The Kansas City Chiefs won the Lombardi Trophy for the first time in 50 years. Along the way, they overcame double-digit deficits in all three playoff games. This included the Divisional Playoffs against the Houston Texans when they rallied quickly from a 24-0 deficit, scoring 28 points in the second quarter. It also included a ten-point rally in Super Bowl LIV against the San Francisco 49ers.
End of an Era Award:
New England Patriots
Tom Brady chose to leave the New England Patriots after being eliminated in the Wild Card Game by the Tennessee Titans. Without Brady, the Patriots had their first losing season since 2000 and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2008, ending their record 11-year streak of winning the AFC East.
All About Me Award:
Odell Beckham Jr.
After LSU won the National Championship, alum Odell Beckham Jr. made it about him as he handed out wads of cash to the Tigers in the locker room. This is a violation and could have put LSU under penalty. Beckham was banned from the LSU locker afterward as his cash advances were returned.
Inspirational Athlete of the Year:
During the year of COVID, many athletes were affected. Some had the virus and exhibited no symptoms; others were hit hard. Freddie Freeman of the Atlanta Braves had some of the worst symptoms, dealing with 104-degree fevers just before the truncated season. Freeman had no time to prepare as his summer camp was canceled. Freeman struggled at first but went on to have an MVP season for the Atlanta Braves showing that COVID could be overcome.
Coach of the Year:
For years Andy Reid has been considered among the best coaches in the NFL, but he has failed in the playoffs. This time he finally got the brass ring as the Kansas City Chiefs won Super Bowl LIV. Reid finished his Hall of Fame resume as he surpassed 200 wins in 2019 and finally answered all the doubters who said that he could not win a big game.
Hollywood Ending Award:
Los Angeles Lakers
It was a year of many emotions for the Los Angeles Lakers who won their 17th NBA Championship, tying the Boston Celtics. The Lakers dealt with the tragedy of Kobie Bryant’s death and ent through the emotions of 2020 with LeBron James leading the way as they ruled the bubble in Orlando.
Best Team of the Year:
Los Angeles Dodgers
It may have been a shortened 60-game season, but the Los Angeles Dodgers were winning games at a historic pace. If you take their win percentage over a normal 162-game season, they would have won 116 games. The Dodgers were the favorites all year and showed why in the playoffs rolling through the first two rounds. They had to rally from down 3-1 in the NLCS but showed again they were the superior team in the World Series.
Worst Team of the Year:
The Jacksonville Jaguars have not won since Week 1, but they will enjoy the reward of getting the first pick and drafting Trevor Lawrence. The stunning part is the quick fall for the Jaguars, who in 2017 were 15 minutes from the Super Bowl, leading the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game. The Jaguars crumbled fast and decided to rebuild after two poor seasons, leading to their 2020 woes.
2020 Sports E-Cyclopedia Star of the Year
There is no brighter star in the NFL than Patrick Mahomes. In his second season as the starter, he overcame an injury to lead the Kansas City Chiefs to a Super Bowl Championship, showing incredible poise as the Chiefs rallied from down ten or more points in all three playoff games. The first time that has been done in NFL history. Patrick Mahomes has the Chiefs poised for a repeat as they have home-field in the AFC locked up, as it is likely he will win the NFL MVP for the second time in three years. Following up his MVP in Super Bowl LIV.
Star of the Year
- 2002 Lance Armstrong
- 2003 Roger Clemens
- 2004 Boston Red Sox
- 2005 Peyton Manning
- 2006 LaDainian Tomlinson
- 2007 Tom Brady
- 2008 Michael Phelps
- 2009 Jimmie Johnson
- 2010 Drew Brees
- 2011 Dirk Nowitzki
- 2012 Usain Bolt
- 2013 Peyton Manning
- 2014 Gregg Popovich
- 2015 American Pharoah
- 2016 LeBron James
- 2017 Sidney Crosby
- 2018 Alex Ovechkin
- 2019 US Women's National Soccer Team
- 2020 Patrick Mahomes