Posted: 7 February, 2017 by Liam Flanagan

Is 2017 the year of the GOAT?

Tags: GOAT

The Chinese might think it’s the year of the Rooster but one early twitter theory suggests they might have picked the wrong animal from Old McDonald’s farm.

2016 will forever be remembered as the year of the underdog.

It started with the Leicester City, a 5,000-to-1 shot, triumphing in the English Premier League against not only the odds but also the infinitely deep pockets of Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea.

That alone would’ve been enough of an upset to satisfy the sporting world for the year, but 2016 wasn’t done yet.

The Western Bulldogs ended a 62 year drought when they defeated the Sydney Swans becoming the first team to win the flag after finishing the regular season in seventh position.

The Cronulla Sharks won their first ever premiership in the NRL after 49 years in the competition to put a definitively positive exclamation point at the end of the ASADA saga that left the club on it’s knees.

And of course the Chicago Cubs, who clawed their way back from a 3-1 series deficit against the Cleveland Indians to win their first title since 1908.

Along with the underdog teams, there were a host of individuals who outperformed their more fancied rivals including Kyle Chalmers Men’s 100m freestyle gold, Angelique Kerber’s Australian Open triumph against Serena Williams and Chloe Esposito’s stunning Modern Pentathlon victory in Rio.

But have the sporting Gods run out of steam?

The early results of 2017 would suggest that all those plucky underdogs would be better served saving their energy for next because this year, is the year of the G(reatest) O(f) A(ll) T(ime).

The Australian Open saw the two most dominant athletes of the modern era claim the titles with Roger Federer (18 Grand Slam titles) and Serena Williams (23) remind the rest of the tour, they’re still forces to be reckoned with.

And then the Super Bowl. All signs pointed to a first ever Vince Lombardi trophy being destined for Atlanta, a city more than ready to receive a victory that would’ve been the greatest in its history, until Tom Brady reminded everyone why he is possibly the GOAT of all GOATs.

So if we apply the GOAT theory to the rest of the sporting calendar for 2017, here is how the major competitions will play out:

AFL

Hawthorn defeats either Carlton or Essendon in the Grand Final. This is the scenario that best satisfies the GOAT theory. Carlton and Essendon share the lead for the most premierships in the AFL with 16 but the current incarnation of Hawthorn have been declared by many as the greatest team ever with four premierships (including three in a row) plus one Grand Final defeat in nine years.

NRL

North Queensland Cowboys lead by Jonathan Thurston defeat South Sydney Rabbitohs in the Grand Final. Thurston is already considered a shoe in for immortal status once he hangs up the boots and he cements his GOAT status by leading the Cowboys to their second premiership in three years as well as winning the 2017 Dally M Award.

NBA

Unless a certain M. Jordan decides to make a comeback, the Cleveland Cavaliers will go back-to-back as the current NBA GOAT LeBron James leads his team to a series victory over the Golden State Warriors. The victory not only denies Kevin Durant his first ever ring but also seriously forces people to question; Is LeBron better than MJ?

Surfing

Despite turning 45 next month, Kelly Slater delivers a 12th World Championship leaving every other surfer on the planet wondering why they even bother paddling out. On the women’s side, Stefanie Gilmore, injury free and firing wins her 7th World Title equalling fellow Aussie Layne Beachley and swings the women’s surfing GOAT conversation firmly in her direction.

A-League

Sydney FC continue their current run in this season’s competition to replicate the efforts of Arsenal in 2003-04 and remained undefeated claiming the Premier’s Plate and the Championship.

Golf

Remarkably Tiger Woods overcomes injury, Father Time, public sentiment and everything else that is conspiring against him to complete a clean sweep of all four majors bringing him level with Jack Nicklaus on 18 major victories.

 

So there it is, the 2017 GOAT Theory.

You may read through some of these and scoff but stranger things have happened…

Liam Flanagan

Writer

Liam dislikes Tupperware.

Tags: GOAT

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