Football Sports

All eyes on Vegas for Super Bowl LVIII

The Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers will be in familiar territory on Feb. 11.

The defending Super Bowl-champion Chiefs find themselves in the big game for the fourth time in five years. The 49ers will attempt to avenge their 31-20 loss to the Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV just four years ago.

This was perhaps the toughest road to the Super Bowl the Chiefs have faced with Patrick Mahomes at the helm. Following their 26-7 victory over the feisty Miami Dolphins in the Wild Card Game, the Chiefs met a new challenge unseen in the Mahomes era: road playoff games.

If marching into Buffalo and coming away with a 27-24 victory wasn’t hard enough, the Chiefs headed south to Baltimore to face likely MVP-winner Lamar Jackson and the top-seeded Ravens for a spot in the big dance.

The Chiefs came away with a 17-10 victory and now sit one win away from consecutive Super Bowl victories.

Usually known for explosive offence, it was the Chiefs defence that did the heavy-lifting this postseason. They never eclipsed 27 points on offence, but the defence held top quarterbacks Tua Tagovailoa, Josh Allen, and Lamar Jackson to a combined 657 passing yards and three touchdowns in three postseason games.

If the Chiefs defence is on their game again, then the 49ers will have their hands full as they attempt to hoist the Lombardi Trophy.

The 49ers are no slouches themselves. In the past five seasons, they have made the Super Bowl twice and the conference championship game four times.

As the top seed in the postseason, they received a bye to the divisional round, and were guaranteed to play all their playoff games at home leading up to the Super Bowl. But their journey wasn’t a cake walk.

San Francisco’s 24-21 victory over the Green Bay Packers in the divisional round required some late-game heroics. Their reward? Facing the upstart Detroit Lions who were riding the highest of highs following their first playoff victories in over 30 years.

Once again, the 49ers scraped by with a 34-31 victory to qualify for the Super Bowl. While quarterback Brock Purdy has put up two solid performances in the postseason, the 49ers offence has lived and died by running back Christian McCaffrey. He led the NFL in regular season rushing by nearly 300 yards. Nobody has been able to stop CMC, and that has only continued into January.

In the 49ers’ two postseason matchups, McCaffrey has amassed 188 rushing yards and a whopping four rushing touchdowns. He will be a problem for the Chiefs’ defence.

Both teams are battle-tested, having fought through several close games to get to this point. They will leave it all on the field at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. The Lombardi Trophy awaits.


Dear reader, the NFL is third-wheeling Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce’s love story

Taylor Swift’s recent appearances at Chiefs games brought many new fans to the sport, and the NFL is cashing in.

Taylor Swift was seen for the first time at a Kansas City Chiefs game on Sept. 24. By then, the rumours had been confirmed: she was there to see her new boyfriend, Travis Kelce, in action. The Chiefs’ superstar tight end scored a touchdown for the occasion. From then ensued a series of events which nobody could have predicted a few weeks before. The Swifties and football fans, who at first look have nothing in common, are now both watching Chiefs games.

Taylor Swift and the NFL in numbers

The pop star attended the Oct. 1 Sunday Night Football game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the New York Jets. This game shattered multiple TV ratings records. On average, 27 million Americans watched the game, with a peak audience of 29.4 million people, according to NBC. This average viewership made the game the most-watched Sunday TV show since the Super Bowl in February.

Her mere presence at the game increased the game’s female viewership by over two million compared to the previous three Sunday Night Football games. This increase was most significant among girls aged 12 to 17, at an estimated 53 per cent. The viewership was up by 24 per cent for women aged 18–24 and 34 per cent for women aged 35 and over.

The gold rush

Taylor Swift is far more popular than the NFL worldwide. For those who are skeptical, Taylor Swift has more followers than the NFL’s official pages on every major social media platform. The most blatant example is on Instagram, where the singer has 275 million followers, while the NFL has 28.6 million, as of Oct. 27.

In this context, it was clear from the start who would get the most publicity by being associated with each other. Therefore, the NFL’s marketing department was immediately ready for it and jumped on the opportunity to showcase their game to a new audience. The league regularly posts about Taylor Swift’s presence at games on their social media accounts and has even made it a game highlight on their official website.

Being one of the most famous artists on the planet, Taylor Swift naturally has a significant and very dedicated fanbase. So when she started loving Travis Kelce, the Swifties did as well. That is evident when looking at jersey sales. In September, the Chiefs’ number 87 jersey was the fifth most popular in the NFL. Its sales also increased by approximately 400 per cent in the first 24 hours after the Chiefs versus Bears game on Sept. 24. 

Taylor Swift brings the NFL more social media impressions, higher TV ratings, and increases in jersey sales. Knowing this, the league certainly hopes that no bad blood erupts between the two lovers, or else Travis Kelce may become an anti-hero in the Swifties’ eyes. Indeed, they will forever and always stay on their idol’s side. If it were to happen, it would be a treacherous situation for the NFL, as it would leave a blank space in their strategy to appeal to a new audience.


Is the NFL scripted?

Maybe the halftime performance isn’t the only rehearsed event of the Super Bowl

Retired NFL running back Arian Foster mentioned on Barstool Sport’s podcast Macrodosing a few days ago that the NFL gave him a script to memorize on day one of training camp at the beginning of every season. The former Houston Texan and Miami Dolphin stated that it was like the WWE: “You know what’s gonna happen, but you still gotta put on a show.”

Co-host of the podcast, Big Tennessee, asked Foster, “What did you think when you got the script in 2016 that said your career was gonna fall off a cliff when you stopped believing in God?” To which he replied, “That was 2015.” Whoever picked up on the ironic tone of the conversation later on made memes out of the whole debacle (i.e. Mike Vick reading the 2007 script finding out he has to get arrested for dog fighting involvements). Either way, the internet talked about it.

So many people believe in Foster’s “claim” about the scripting because, for one, the NFL arguably has the most controversial referee ruling in American sports right now. Moreover, the internet can’t tell when people are messing around as long as they keep a straight face. However, can a multi-billion dollar organization really be exposed by one ex-player in this manner? I’m not sure. There are a few instances that can tempt us to think in the same direction as the rest of the internet, though.

When it comes to bad play ruling, football fans will immediately have nightmarish flashbacks of the 2018 NFC championship game between the New Orleans Saints and the Los Angeles Rams. With less than two minutes left in the game and a chance for a go-ahead touchdown, Saints wide receiver Tommylee Lewis got blasted near the sideline by Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman while the ball was still a solid two feet behind the defenseman’s back. This was the most obvious a “pass interference call” can get. However, there was no call from the referees.

The Rams won in OT but evidently, people speculated that the game was rigged in their favour. Maybe it was in the script for the Rams to go to the Super Bowl.

Back in 2013, one of the NFL’s biggest controversies occurred during Super Bowl XLVII held at Caesars Superdome, nicknamed the “Blackout Bowl.” The Baltimore Ravens were up 21-6 against the San Francisco 49ers going into the second half when Jacoby Jones scored with the longest kick return in Super Bowl history — taking it from his own endzone all the way to the opposition’s. The field goal stretched the lead to 22 points. A little over a minute later, the entire stadium blacked out, delaying the game for 34 minutes. After the power came back, the 49ers almost completed a comeback, falling short by only three points.

To this day, there are controversial play rulings, like the one-handed DeVonta Smith catch last week. Did the ball hit the ground before Smith had full control of it? Smith’s back was facing the refs, and the timing of everything was close.

The referees in this sport may not be flat-out bad — the sport might just be tough to arbitrate. And the pay isn’t great either.

In 2019, the NFL increased their average salary by 56,000 dollars, making the NFL referee… still the most underpaid official in American sports.

Why would someone continue pursuing their reffing career when they can just become a CBS analyst? When the best get offered better jobs, the less talented step in, and perform worse. They have trouble arbitrating the most fast-paced sport (that has every player doing everything at once on the field), meaning they receive hate from the fans, all while being mistreated by their very own organization. 

Is the NFL scripted? Maybe, but how? If it was, Arian Foster would be “no longer with us” almost as quickly as he ran his 40. Sure, there may have been individual games that were paid off here and there like every other sport, but it must just be that the refs are human, and it’s hard to monitor everything happening on the field at the same time. Even professionals can have a hard time. 

Still not sure about the Blackout Bowl, though.


Super Bowl LVII preview

The Kansas City Chiefs vs. Philadelphia Eagles matchup doesn’t lack storylines

The NFL season has gone by way too quickly, but this also means that we’re in for a treat for this Sunday’s Super Bowl.

This year, the Philadelphia Eagles and the Kansas City Chiefs will be facing off at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, where the Eagles will have home-field advantage.

After finishing the regular season with a league-wide best 14-3 record each, the Eagles and the Chiefs will go through the ultimate test to determine who truly is the best.

While the Chiefs would normally have the advantage with quarterback Patrick Mahomes against the Eagles’ quarterback Jalen Hurts, this won’t necessarily be the case this time around as Mahomes is still dealing with a high ankle sprain.

The Eagles will have the advantage on the defensive side of the ball in this game. They finished the regular season ranked second in the league, compared to the Chiefs’ defence ranked 11th.

Although everything points to the Eagles winning, I wouldn’t count Mahomes and the Chiefs out. After all, they surprised everyone with their win against the Cincinnati Bengals and could very well do it again.

But this Super Bowl is about more than just that.

With Mahomes and Hurts starting at the quarterback position, this is the first time in NFL history that two Black quarterbacks are starters in the Super Bowl.

So not only will this be a great matchup between two skilled players, but it will also be an opportunity for Black representation at the highest level in football.

Only eight black quarterbacks have made it to the Super Bowl and three have won it: Doug Williams in 1988, Russell Wilson in 2014, and Mahomes in 2020.

So either Hurts will become the fourth to lift the Lombardi Trophy, or Mahomes will be the first Black quarterback to win two Super Bowls. Either way, history will be made.

This will also be the first time we see brothers competing against each other in the Super Bowl: Chiefs’ tight end Travis Kelce and Eagles’ centre Jason Kelce. So it will be a big day for the Kelce family.

This game won’t be lacking in talent, storylines, and entertainment — we also can’t forget about Rihanna performing at the halftime show!

In the end, both the Chiefs and the Eagles have shown that they’re worthy of being Super Bowl champs, but my unwarranted prediction is that the Chiefs will win. It will probably be a close game, and it won’t be pretty. But I think if anyone can bring their team to victory, even if injured, it’s Mahomes.


Colour Commentary: 2021-22 NFL season predictions

The NFL returned on Sept. 9 with an expanded 17-game schedule

With Week 1 of the 2021-22 NFL schedule already under wraps, here are some of my thoughts about the season and what it has in store for fans. 

How will this year’s 17-game season be remembered? 

On one end, more football means fans get to bathe in America’s sport for an extra week. More games will also mean less variance in the standings. 

But the NFL already struggles with annual injuries, and the addition of a highly-competitive game to the schedule certainly won’t help that cause. 

An additional game will leave plenty of room for records pertaining to totals to be broken: things like team wins/losses and individual statistics will inflate this year for better or worse. This is just something to keep in mind when Week 18 rolls around and the term “historic” is being thrown around sports media circles left and right.

Who will be the overachievers/underachievers?

As a disclaimer, I’m looking at teams that aren’t getting enough attention that can potentially make the leap from good to great, or bad to unfathomable. 

The Cleveland Browns have been getting hyped up for years, but have failed to produce meaningful results in the postseason. Last year, they took their first baby steps in advancing to the divisional round and giving the AFC’s Super Bowl representatives, the Kansas City Chiefs, a real run for their money. 

If the Browns were stacked from a personnel standpoint in 2020, now they’re a full-course meal. Injuries and quarterback Baker Mayfield’s ability to get his skill guys the ball reliably are the only concerns for this team in their second year under head coach Kevin Stefanski.

If the Browns have known nothing but mediocrity for over a decade, the Pittsburgh Steelers are their polar opposite: under head coach Mike Tomlin since 2007, the team has never posted a losing record in the regular season.

That can all change this year with aging franchise quarterback Ben Roethlisberger entering the twilight of the twilight of his career and into a young and unproven offensive line. On the other hand, this team should still boast a strong defensive game, and drafted a promising running back this year in Najee Harris.

There’s potential upside here, but I would bet against it. 

Wait, Tom Brady is 44 years-old? This is it, right? 

Guess again.

Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers retained nearly every significant player from their championship run in February, a notion that seemed impossible six months ago. This team won a Super Bowl in Brady’s first year with the team (and made it look easy), so another offseason under their belt as a group should instill fear league-wide.

Until proven otherwise, this is Brady’s world and we’re all just living in it.


The use of instant replay in sports

Are video reviews and instant replays good for sports?

The implementation of instant replays in sports has been a subject of debate for fans and leagues since the technology was first industrialized for sports in the 1960s. Today, every major league uses video reviews to varying degrees, along with coaches’ challenges, to aid officials in making the right calls.

As technology continues to evolve, video replays will only get better at deducing what the human eye cannot, and reduce the number of controversial outcomes in games. Supporters of instant replay will justify the need for review by pointing to key moments in sports where the wrong call stood, and a winner was mistakenly crowned.

The most notable recent example came in the 2018 NFC Championship game in the National Football League (NFL), when the Los Angeles Rams defeated the New Orleans Saints 26-23 in overtime.

While post-game banter should have been focused on the Rams’ achievement in reaching their first Super Bowl final since 2001, the outcome of the match was mired in controversy following an unpenalized pass interference committed by Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman on Saints wide receiver Tommylee Lewis.

The dramatic play would later be notoriously dubbed the “NOLA No-call,” and the NFL would respond by making pass interference reviewable in its future seasons.

Nowadays, all games are officiated with the extensive use of instant replay reviews, whether it’s the deciding minutes of a championship game or an unassuming regular season matchup.

In theory, minimizing the number of referee-related mistakes is a notion worth supporting, but not all sports fans and athletes are in favour of the current replay system. Gabriel Guindi, who co-hosts CJLO’s sports talk show the Starting Rotation, is one such enthusiast who cannot get behind the excessive use of video reviews in the National Hockey League (NHL).

“Hockey probably does it the best compared to the other major sports leagues,” Guindi said. “But most of the time it does more damage than good. They might review a play for a few minutes and, if anything, I’m left more confused than when I saw it live.”

Louis-Vincent Gauvin, a second-year guard for the Concordia Stingers men’s basketball team, is an avid fan of the National Basketball Association (NBA). When the league made the transition towards more reviews by adding coach’s challenges in 2019, Gauvin worried it would have an undesirable effect on the quality of games.

“Basketball is at its best when the play doesn’t stop and there is a constant flow,” Gauvin said. “Stoppages for replay reviews and coaches’ challenges can ruin the natural rhythm of the game.”

Gauvin believes that the intention to review close calls makes sense, so long as they can be accomplished in a timely manner.

“The referees’ mistakes are part of the sport, so I can accept incorrect calls here and there if it means preserving the natural momentum and pace of the game,” Gauvin said.

While instant review can prolong games and make them tough to digest for some spectators, it doesn’t stop the NBA from achieving peak entertainment value, Gauvin believes, thanks in large part to the sheer amount of talent in the league today.


J.J. Watt is free

The NFL superstar will play with a team other than the Houston Texans for the first time

J.J. Watt is one of the most admired and talented superstars in the National Football League (NFL). As a three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year, two-time leader in sacks and even the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year winner in 2017, Watt is a leader on and off the field.

It was a surprise for most fans when the 31-year-old veteran and the Houston Texans parted ways on Feb. 12. Watt has played all of his 10 seasons with the Texans so far, as he was drafted by the team in 2011.

Watt said he’ll take his time before deciding where he’ll play next, but we already know some teams have shown interest — or at least would be an ideal destination for him.

The Pittsburgh Steelers won’t have the best contract offer to land Watt, but his two brothers, T.J. and Derek Watt, are already with the team and should weigh heavily in his decision. Both J.J. and T.J. are among the best defensive players in the league, which could be amazing to see in Pittsburgh.

The Cleveland Browns, the Steelers’ rivals, are apparently hoping to land Watt. After years of misery, the Browns are finally heading in the right direction. One element missing from that equation is stability — something Watt could bring on defence.

The Green Bay Packers and the Buffalo Bills could also be great fits for Watt. The two are likely championship contenders and could be what the veteran wants; Watt is still looking for his first Super Bowl ring.

No matter where Watt signs, his new start will be interesting to see. It will be a huge defensive improvement for whichever team signs him.


Graphic by Rose-Marie Dion


The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the Super Bowl LV champions

Tom Brady wins his seventh title as the Buccaneers dominate the Chiefs

Following an entertaining Conference Championship weekend, the National Football League (NFL) couldn’t have asked for a better Super Bowl matchup outcome on Feb. 7, as defending champions Kansas City Chiefs faced the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

What was a highly touted competitive matchup on paper ended up being a one-sided affair, as the Buccaneers won the franchise’s second Super Bowl title in a seemingly effortless 31-9 victory over the favoured Chiefs.

Tampa Bay’s quarterback Tom Brady threw for 209 yards and three touchdowns in an MVP performance that will be immortalized alongside his countless other career accolades. In winning his seventh Super Bowl, the superstar further cemented himself as the most accomplished player to ever grace the sport.

Brady’s seventh ring gives him more titles than any NFL franchise. His previous six were with the New England Patriots, who remain tied for first with the Pittsburgh Steelers with six championships.

Meanwhile, the NFL’s undisputed quarterback of the future Patrick Mahomes struggled all night, throwing for 270 yards and a couple of interceptions. More notably, Mahomes was sacked three times and was held to zero touchdowns for the first time in the 2020–21 season.

Brady will get most of the attention for winning the game for his team as quarterbacks typically do — and rightfully so. However, it was Tampa Bay’s defence, orchestrated by defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, that set the tone of the game early.

Throughout the 2020–21 regular season and playoffs, the Buccaneers struggled at times on offence, but had the benefit of playing alongside a consistent and authoritative defence. As growing pains eventually settled as the weeks went by, everything emphatically culminated on Sunday in their dominating two-way performance against the offensively inclined Chiefs.

The game began and ended at the line of scrimmage, as Kansas City’s offensive line was unquestionably the weakest link in the team’s otherwise potent attack throughout the season. Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, one of the Chiefs’ starting guards, was the first player to opt out of the 2020 NFL season due to COVID-19 concerns. Additional injuries to Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz forced the Chiefs to heavily rely on backups and late-season waiver wire acquisitions to protect Mahomes.

On the other end of the field, the Buccaneers’ defence was able to employ a simple yet effective strategy that took the most influential players on the Chiefs’ roster out of the game.

Bowles and the Buccaneers rarely blitzed Mahomes, realizing that the team’s pass rushers and tackles alone could generate pressure with their inherent mismatch. The Buccaneers also had at least two safeties deep downfield for much of the game, making it problematic for Mahomes to connect with his ludicrously fast wide receiver Tyreek Hill while he was constantly showered with double-teams.

On paper, superstars Hill and tight end Travis Kelce ended the game with decent counting statistics, but failed to make their emblematic game-breaking plays.

Despite the somewhat disappointing lack of competition on the field, Super Bowl LV will go down in history for dispelling out-dated American sports standards and breaking barriers.

Kansas City’s assistant defensive line coach Lori Locust and assistant strength and conditioning coach Maral Javadifar became the first women to win Super Bowl rings as part of a coaching staff. Meanwhile, no other team in the league has more than one woman coach.

NFL official Sarah Thomas also became the first woman to referee a Super Bowl. On Sunday, the league took a significant step in the right direction towards gender diversity and inclusivity.

In addition, the Weeknd made his fair share of history by becoming the first solo Canadian artist to headline the Super Bowl halftime show. The Toronto-native, sporting his signature red blazer, performed songs spanning his entire career, ranging from “House of Balloons” from his 2011 debut mixtape, to his 2020 hit, “Blinding Lights.”

Despite several COVID-19-related setbacks, the Weeknd achieved Super Bowl greatness in his memorable and flamboyant performance alongside Thomas, Javadifar, Locust, and the Buccaneers.

Amidst a shower of confetti, Brady was asked during the post-game celebration if he would be returning next season following another unprecedented championship. The 43-year-old, coming off his most lopsided Super Bowl win to date, kept his answer short and sweet.

“I’m coming back, you already know that,” Brady said.


Graphic by Taylor Reddam


The last stretch of the NFL playoffs

The NFL playoffs have offered fans all kinds of results so far

With the National Football League (NFL) playoffs currently at the Conference Championship stage, we’re quickly approaching Super Bowl LV, which will be held at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay, Florida on Feb. 7.

It didn’t take long this year to have some surprising — or, in other words, disappointing — playoff exits.

The Pittsburgh Steelers, one of the favourite teams to win the Super Bowl entering the playoffs, faced their rivals the Cleveland Browns in the wild card round. Contrary to what many expected, the Browns delivered an almost perfect first half, even establishing a new record in NFL history with 28 points in the first quarter.

It was the Browns’ first win in Pittsburgh since 2003, and the team’s first playoff victory since 1994. Unfortunately for them, they lost 22-17 to the defending champions, the Kansas City Chiefs, in the divisional round.

An exciting divisional round matchup between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New Orleans Saints sent the latter of the two teams out of the Super Bowl picture. The Saints, 12-4 in the season, lost 30-20 in what was a game full of turnarounds and key plays.

Less surprisingly, the Baltimore Ravens offered a disappointing performance against the Buffalo Bills. After beating the Tennessee Titans by a touchdown in their wild card game, the Ravens scored just three points against the Bills and lost 17-3.

The conference championship matchups also offered exciting battles between teams that haven’t disappointed so far. All four teams were looking to continue on their good winning streak, but had one last challenge before punching their ticket to the Super Bowl.

The Buccaneers battled against the Green Bay Packers, who registered a better record than the Buccaneers in the regular season. Still, both teams were coming off important wins in the divisional round. Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers, Buccaneers’ and Packers’ quarterbacks respectively, are both among the NFL’s best players of all time. They were for sure going to give their best against the other. It’s been an exciting offensive game, but the Buccaneers had the best of the Packers 31-26.

On the other side, the Bills, perhaps the most improved team this season, played the Chiefs. Those two franchises have combined for only five losses in 32 games this season. Yet, one of them had to lose. It’s finally the Chiefs’ offence that had the final say, winning 38-24.

With a second consecutive appearance in the Super Bowl final, the Chiefs could be the first team since the 2004–05 Patriots to win back-to-back Super Bowl championships. For the Buccaneers, it will be their second championship game in franchise history. The first time happened to be just before the 2004–05 Patriots, as they won Super Bowl XXXVII.


Graphic by Rose-Marie Dion


A look back at the world of sports in 2020

Recapping this year’s great sports events — despite the pandemic

The year is coming to an end, and it’s time to recap what happened in sports in 2020. This year has been filled with unforeseen situations, but luckily for sports fans, leagues around the world have begun to see a bit of a return to normal these past few months.

Here’s a look back at important moments that happened in sports this past year:

National Hockey League (NHL)

It’s been a unique year for the league, as the 2019–20 regular season had to be abruptly postponed, and then cancelled the remaining games in order to resume right away with a special playoff format.

We saw the Montreal Canadiens take advantage of the new format, qualifying for the 24th and last spot available for what was first a qualifying round to the playoffs. It was the first time since 2016–17 that the Habs qualified for the postseason.

The Stanley Cup was finally won on Sept. 28, 2020, with the Tampa Bay Lightning defeating the Dallas Stars in six games. It was the Lightning’s second Stanley Cup after also lifting the trophy in 2004. For the Stars, it was an impressive playoff run, surprising many fans and analysts. The team didn’t start the regular season on the right track, but turned things around in time and came close.

Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) and Women’s Tennis Association (WTA)

It’s been a busy season for tennis organizers. Most ATP and WTA tournaments have been cancelled this season because of COVID-19, while others, except for tournaments in January and February, were postponed.

Despite that, we’ve still seen important achievements in 2020. In the ATP, third racket in the world Dominic Thiem won his first Grand Slam title last September when he won the US Open. On his way, he defeated Alexander Zverev and Daniil Medvedev, both members of the top 10.

Later in September, we saw the Grand Slam tournament of Roland-Garros exceptionally being played in fall. Normally, Roland-Garros is competed from late May to early June, which made a huge difference for players since the tournament is played on clay, and the colder weather impacted the ball’s speed and rebounds on the surface. Of course, many players were not used to playing in such cold weather, meaning we saw some wearing jackets during their matches.

Tournament favorite Rafael Nadal won his 13th Roland-Garros this year, a record in professional tennis. He has joined Federer at the top of the list, tied with 20 Grand Slam titles each.

In the WTA, young sensation Iga Świątek surprised the tennis world by winning Roland-Garros, her first ever singles title. At just 19 years-old, she defeated Markéta Vondroušová (21st), Canadian Eugenie Bouchard, two-time Grand Slam champion Simona Halep (2nd), and 2020 Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin (4th).

Major Baseball League (MLB)

The MLB season was shortened to 60 games, which forced the league to modify its postseason format. This year’s postseason allowed 16 teams to compete for the title. With a 32-28 record, the Toronto Blue Jays took the last spot in the American League and qualified for the wild-card series round. Despite their early elimination, it’s been great to see the Blue Jays qualify for the postseason.

It’s been hard for the MLB to organize its season with all the cities involved, but it ended pretty well. The Los Angeles Dodgers won their first championship since 1988, after coming really close in the past few years. They defeated the Tampa Bay Rays in six games.

What was interesting about this series was the difference between the two teams’ payroll. While the Dodgers had the second highest payroll in the MLB with $107.9 million, the Rays competed with the third lowest of all, a mere $28.3 million. It raised a lot of questions on parity in baseball, since we’re normally used to having high-payroll teams playing the World Series.

National Football League (NFL)

The NFL always seemed clear that they would maintain their season, and despite some COVID-19 cases in the league and postponed games, things have been going fairly well for the league, considering the circumstances.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have won their first 11 games of the season, the best season start in franchise history. After finishing 8-8 in 2019–20, the Steelers seem to be a totally different team so far this year.

Another team to watch are the defending Super Bowl champions, the Kansas City Chiefs. The team is currently 11-1 after 12 games, and easily leads the AFC West division.

Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA)

All eyes were on defending champion Tiger Woods at the 84th edition of the Masters. The event, normally held in April, was rescheduled for Nov. 12 to 15.

It was finally the best golfer in the world, Dustin Johnson, who put on the green jacket as winner of the tournament.

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC)

We saw many great Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fights in the UFC this year, but one thing that  stood out is surely Khabib Nurmagomedov’s last fight. The superstar remained perfect with a 29-0 record, defeating Justin Gaethje in his only fight of 2020.

After the fight, Nurmagomedov announced his retirement from the UFC, following his father’s death. Nurmagomedov is considered as one of, if not the best MMA fighters of all time.


Graphic by Rose-Marie Dion


Heading towards a slightly different Super Bowl

COVID-19 restrictions might have their impacts on the upcoming Super Bowl LV

With the current National Football League (NFL) season being played as normally scheduled, the league is preparing its next Super Bowl event, which will be held at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay, Florida.

The latest updates say that fans will fill 20 per cent of the stadium’s capacity. However, it’s still early to come to conclusions, as the Super Bowl LV will be played on Feb. 7, 2021. Things might change again for the next edition of the football world’s biggest event, and one of sports’ most-watched annual games.

The NFL announced on Nov. 12 that singer The Weeknd will lead its halftime show. The announcement didn’t include anything about additional singers or pandemic restrictions, but that makes it obvious that this year’s halftime show will be challenging with social distancing rules, especially if fans are around.

The Super Bowl has never faced a similar situation before, having to make its halftime show interesting without singers and dancers getting in contact with each other.

The two teams that will play the Super Bowl also won’t be known until just two weeks before the event, meaning supporters of the two finalist teams will only be able to buy their tickets and travel to Tampa Bay a few days before the game.

It will probably be hard to control such travel from fans, and make sure that all pandemic restrictions are being respected during this big event.

What’s certain is that the upcoming Super Bowl LV will be different, regardless of the teams playing and the final score. People probably won’t remember it for its noisy atmosphere, and sadly not for the traditional pregame tailgate parties, as there always are before NFL games. However, if the league manages to make the event happen properly and safely, it should still be considered a huge success.


Graphic by Rose-Marie Dion


The Pittsburgh Steelers remain perfect

The Steelers are the last undefeated team in the NFL so far this season

Halfway through the National Football League (NFL) season, we’re starting to get a good idea of the teams that should make the playoffs and who could compete for the Super Bowl.

We’re already witnessing some surprises this season, one of them being that the Pittsburgh Steelers are still undefeated after seven games. After finishing 8-8 in 2019–20, the Steelers are showing a perfect 7-0 record so far, which ties their best start to a season in franchise history since 1978; the year the team finished 14-2 and won the Super Bowl.

The Steelers faced teams of several calibers so far, including long-time rivals in the Cleveland Browns, the Cincinnati Bengals and the Baltimore Ravens. They also won a tight 27-24 game against the Tennessee Titans, who were, at that time, also undefeated.

It’s impressive to see the Steelers perform this way, especially with how the team has changed over the past couple of years. From getting rid of problematic players in the organization like Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown, to doubting the return of the team’s veteran and star quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, there were reasons to expect anything but such a start from the Steelers.

However, people aren’t yet sold on the Steelers. They have a solid team, and on paper it seems like they’re one of the most complete squads in the NFL, but they still have a tough second half of the season to get through.

That second half will include games against a couple of teams with positive records, and more games against the rival Browns, Bengals and Ravens. Even though the Steelers successfully left their mark after seven games, they’ll probably need to work even harder for the remainder of the season.

Also, teams like the defending champions, the Kansas City Chiefs, currently 7-1 and second in the league, and the Seattle Seahawks, third with just one loss in seven games, aren’t to be underestimated.

The Steelers’ division, the AFC North, is also very competitive, with three of the four teams currently showing a positive record. Any match played within that division could easily impact the positions of the teams. That’s why being 7-0 isn’t actually as safe as it looks.


Graphic by Rose-Marie Dion

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