Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Why 2020 Was The Year Of Giving In Sport

2020 has been a year we will never forget. With sports being played behind closed doors as the global coronavirus pandemic arose, we have never seen the world look so different.

Despite the worldwide situation, when it comes to sport, 2020 has been the year of giving. We have seen plenty of sporting droughts come to an end.

Let’s take a look at which sporting droughts that were brought to a close.

February 2020- Kansas City Chiefs End Super Bowl Drought

Back in February, the Kansas City Chiefs ended a 50 year long Super Bowl drought.

The Chiefs went behind by double digits in each playoff game as they made their way to Super Bowl 54 in Miami. This was one of the last major sporting events to be played in a full capacity stadium.

Their task was against the NFC Champions and five-time Super Bowl winners, the San Francisco 49ers.

The Chiefs once again fell behind by double digits before taking home the ultimate prize, beating the 49ers 31-20.

Super Bowl 4 was the last time Kansas City won or even appeared in a Super Bowl.

The Chiefs have carried on from this win and have become the best team in the NFL. With quarterback Patrick Mahomes, wide receiver Tyreek Hill and tight end Travis Kelce, the Chiefs have the players to become the NFL’s next great dynasty.

July 2020- Leeds United And Liverpool End Years Of Hurt

Leeds United and Liverpool were both crowned champions of their respective divisions. They both ended long hoodoos that had eluded them for many years.

In the 2003/04 season, Leeds were relegated from the Premier League. This seemed unlikely just a few years before when they reached the Champions League semi-final in the 2000/01 season.

They were also the last English side to win the top division before the introduction of the Premier League.

Leeds suffered economically after relegation but almost returned to the Premier League just two seasons later in 2006. A 3-0 playoff final loss to Watford in Cardiff kept Leeds in the second division. Their lowest point came just a season later when they were relegated to the third tier.

The 2009/10 season would see Leeds return to the second division. Leeds came close in the years that followed but finally cracked the code last season. They were crowned champions of the Championship.

On that same evening, Liverpool celebrated their first league title since 1990, the first of the Premier League era. Jordan Henderson lifted the Premier League trophy at an empty Anfield, after thirty years of near misses.

After losing out on the title the season before despite earning 98 points and losing just once, plenty of Liverpool fans felt the team would never win the Premier League.

The COVID-19 outbreak had Leeds and Liverpool fans both wondering whether they were cursed. Liverpool had all but won the league before the pandemic and Leeds were close to promotion.

In the end, not even a worldwide pandemic could stop both Leeds and Liverpool from ending their long waits for returns to glory.

September 2020- Tampa Bay Lightning Win First Stanley Cup In 16 Years

The Tampa Bay Lightning won the Stanley Cup for the first time in the 2003/04 season. For 16 years, the Lightning failed to repeat this achievement. They came close in recent years, losing in the 2015 Stanley Cup final to the Chicago Blackhawks and in the 2010 Conference finals to the Boston Bruins.

In 2020, the Lightning changed all of that after a 4-2 series win over the Dallas Stars.

October 2020- Two Los Angeles Sports Teams Back On Top

The Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Dodgers both won Championships in October.

The Lakers beat the Miami Heat in the NBA finals, winning the series in six games. This was a year that started with the death of Kobe Bryant, a Lakers and basketball legend. It was fitting that they would go on and win the NBA Championship, doing so for the first time since 2010.

Lebron James and Anthony Davis formed a brilliant partnership, doing so in a unique bubble in Orlando.

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Dodgers ended a 32-year wait for a World Series, beating the Tampa Bay Rays to earn their first title since 1988. Mookie Betts was the man to change all of this after his trade from the Boston Red Sox this year.

November 2020- Scotland Reach Major Tournament For First Time Since 1998.

The Scotland National Team beat Serbia on penalties in the playoff round to reach a major tournament for the first time since the 1998 World Cup.

Fulham striker Alexsandar Mitrović missed the decisive penalty to give Scotland the win in a match that was meant to take place earlier in the year. Scotland thought they had done enough in normal time before Real Madrid striker Luka Jović scored a 90th-minute equaliser.

Scotland held on in extra time before winning in the shootout as they secured major tournament football for the European Championships next summer, a competition that should have taken place this summer.

December 2020– Tampa Bay Buccaneers And Buffalo Bills End Droughts

The Buccaneers finally reached the playoffs after years of mediocrity. The last time they reached the postseason was during the 2007 season.

Despite having the number one overall pick in 2015, Tampa Bay failed to make the postseason with Jameis Winston. Tom Brady arrived during the 2020 offseason after 20 seasons with the New England Patriots. Everything changed for Tampa and their head coach Bruce Arians. Offensive talent Antonio Brown and Rob Gronkowski soon followed suit.

Tampa Bay will look to get their first playoff win since their 2002 Super Bowl-winning season. They also have the chance to become the first team to play a Super Bowl in their stadium.

The Buffalo Bills also ended a long drought. They had not won the AFC East since 1995 but their 25 year wait for a division title is now over after some brilliant performances this year.

Quarterback Josh Allen and wide receiver Stefon Diggs broke franchise records and head coach Sean McDermott is a Coach of the Year candidate.

They have been the second-best team in the AFC this season as fans dream of a potential Super Bowl appearance.

Cleveland Browns Look To End Drought On January 3rd

There is still one other hoodoo that could be broken early on in 2021.

The final week of the 2020 NFL season on Sunday could see the Cleveland Browns end an 18-season wait to make the playoffs. If they win against the Pittsburgh Steelers, they make it into the postseason.

Any slip-ups could see them miss out on the postseason altogether. This would be another set back for a franchise that has seen years of disappointment. A win on Sunday would see 18 seasons of despair over.

2020 has been a horrible year for everyone concerned. Sport has played a big role in giving the world some escapism. The ending of these droughts has given plenty of sports fan bases something to cheer about during such a difficult year.

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