By Connor Graver, Associate Editor-in-Chief
Earlier in Issue 7, I wrote a piece on my predictions of the sports world when the current class of freshmen are graduating. As a follow up, I included more predictions in those four years, plus a bonus 2024 year of predictions and my MVP’s as well. Enjoy.
Super Bowl LIV: Chicago Bears 31, Kansas City Chiefs 7
2024 MVP: Drew Brees, QB New Orleans Saints
Yes, this comes off as being an incredibly biased Bears fan but the Bears will run through the NFC in 2019. Finishing with a record of 13-3, they use their suffocating defense to end Drew Brees and the Saints’ magical season in the conference championship. Brees retires after the game and begins his career in the broadcast booth. For the Chiefs their path through the AFC isn’t as easy finishing 11-5. Their defense is improved and they get revenge on the New England Patriots in the conference championship because they get the ball first in overtime. Super Bowl LIV shapes up to be an incredible game but as the saying goes ‘Defense Wins Championships.’ The Bears pick off Mahomes twice on their way to their second Lombardi Trophy.
Super Bowl LV: Los Angeles Rams 24, Cleveland Browns 23
2024 MVP: Baker Mayfield, QB Cleveland Browns
As we start the 20’s the Cleveland Browns have created a juggernaut with Mayfield commanding the offense, and Denzel Ward on the defense. Mayfield throws for 5000 yards and 40 touchdowns winning the MVP in his third year. The Browns run the table through the AFC where they’ll meet the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LV. The Rams have the single greatest offensive season in NFL history surpassing the Greatest Show on Turf. The Rams get their Super Bowl redemption on a last second field goal. In the post game press conference, Baker Mayfield throws a microphone at a reporter and storms out after they asked “Baker, are you upset you lost tonight?”
Super Bowl LVI: Kansas City Chiefs 56, Los Angeles Rams 49
2022 MVP: Patrick Mahomes II, QB Kansas City Chiefs
Ever since their blowout loss in Super Bowl LIV, the Kansas City Chiefs have committed to revamping their defense even more. After trading for Aaron Donald, they show they’re all in come 2022. Mahomes and Tyreek Hill enter the prime of their careers and Kansas City rolls through the AFC. They meet Tom Brady and the Patriots for a final time in the playoffs and this will be Tom Brady’s last game. During the 2022 NFL Awards, Roger Goodell announces he is stepping down and after a massive fan petition, Tony Romo becomes the next commissioner of the NFL. Aaron Donald meets his former team in Super Bowl LVI and both offenses are just too powerful. The game becomes an all out shootout and the Chiefs lead a game winning drive to win their first Super Bowl since 1967.
Super Bowl LVII: New York Giants 31, Las Vegas Raiders 24
2023 MVP: Saquon Barkley, HB New York Giants
2023 is an interesting year in the NFL as jersey advertisements are introduced. After drafting Dwayne Haskins in the 2019 NFL Draft, the New York Giants mature into a strong offense with Haskins and Barkley. With a revamped offensive line, Barkley sets the single season rushing record and wins the MVP. On their way to the Super Bowl, they defeat Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals with their superior passing offense. On the AFC side, Jon Gruden finally proves tanking is worth it. After tanking again in 2019 and 2020 he acquires seven additional first round picks. The best out of this group is Clemson Quarterback Trevor Lawrence who leads the Raiders to the Super Bowl in his second year. The combination of Lawrence and Antonio Brown proves too much for most teams to handle. Super Bowl LVII comes down to the wire, but with a minute to go the game is tied 24-24. Barkley powers through the offensive line and breaks away for a 75 Yard game winning touchdown.
Super Bowl LVIII: Philadelphia Eagles 17 Indianapolis Colts 10
2024 MVP: Trevor Lawrence, QB Las Vegas Raiders
The Philadelphia Eagles wouldn’t have to wait as long as they did for their first championship. Carson Wentz has a brilliant year with the duo of D.K. Metcalf and Julio Jones. The Eagles use this passing attack to cruise to a NFC East division championship and an NFC championship moving past Kirk Cousins and the Minnesota Vikings. On the AFC side, Commander of the Colts Andrew Luck has a phenomenal season. However, Luck’s season is shadowed by Trevor Lawrence who runs away with the MVP setting records in passing yards and touchdowns. However, Luck’s experience gives him an edge in a tight AFC championship. In Super Bowl LVIII, Wentz leads the Eagles over Luck in a strong defensive battle. During the post game press conference Luck thanks the NFL but decides to retire to pursue a PhD at Stanford. That offseason, the Colts sign a rookie quarterback from Northern Michigan University. Without realizing it, they’ve signed their future in Jimmy Martin…
2020 World Series: Philadelphia Phillies 4 Houston Astros 2
MVP: Bryce Harper, RF Philadelphia Phillies
2020 is the year Bryce Harper will be right about his signing with the Phillies. It took a couple of years but they finally find the right chemistry and Harper is able to break through the NCLS glass ceiling and capture a title. On their way, the Phillies overpower tough NL teams like the Dodgers and Rockies. All they have left to face is the Houston Astros who come into the series with championship experience. However, the crowds in Philly are too tough to handle as Harper homers at home twice in Game 6. Party hard Philadelphia, you deserve it.
2021 World Series: Atlanta Braves 4 Boston Red Sox 1
MVP: Ronald Acuna Jr, RF Atlanta Braves
For years, the Braves have been the cellar of the NL. Not anymore. Without an outstanding prospect farm, the Braves build off their 2018 NL East division title with another. This time led behind the power of NL MVP Ronald Acuna Jr, the Braves make their way to the Fall Classic where they face a far more experienced Red Sox team. The Sox prove tough but the Braves feel like a team with a destiny and capture the World Series.
2022 World Series: New York Yankees 4 Philadelphia Phillies 2
MVP: Aaron Judge, RF New York Yankees
While the NL East was having its fun with two straight World Series champions, the Yankees have slowly been brewing a storm. In the last four years Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton have been hitting moonhoots with a combined 273 home runs. The only problem? Three straight losses in the ALCS. Finally, 2022 is the year that changes. The Yankees break the record they already held for most home runs in a season and bring a championship back to the Bronx for the first time since 2009.
2023 World Series: Chicago White Sox 4 San Diego Padres 1
MVP: Yoan Moncada, CF Chicago White Sox
White Sox fans rejoice. The process is finally complete and the Sox have done a complete 180. After tanking and collecting prospects, they pay off led by Yoan Moncada and Eloy Jiminez. The White Sox pave their way to the World Series where they face Manny Machado. It’s Machado’s first time since he went with the Dodgers in 2018, the the second time isn’t the charm as the White Sox pull away quickly winning their first championship since 2005.
2024 World Series: Philadelphia Phillies 4 Los Angeles Dodgers 3
MVP: Bryce Harper, RF Philadelphia Phillies
The Phillies continue their domance and emerge as one of the best teams in the 20’s so far. They cap it off with another championship again led by Bryce Harper. Harper who has eight years left on his deal, gets vindication every day he made the right decision because now he has two World Series rings and two NL MVP’s to show for it. The Phillies will be the team of the 20’s.
2020 NBA Finals: Philadelphia 76ers 4 Houston Rockets 3
2020 MVP: Ben Simmons, F Philadelphia 76ers
The process is finally complete. The Philadelphia 76ers prove that tanking can truly turn a team around. Their regular season is strong and Ben Simmonds leads the push. He puts up a career year averaging 30 points and 15 assists. The sixers cruise through a weak Eastern Conference to advance to the finals. In the West, James Harden and the Houston Rockets have another stellar regular season. Harden shaves his beard at Christmas but the new beardless Harden averages 45 points a game after the new year. The Rockets battle against Golden State in the Conference Finals but sneak past. The 2020 NBA Finals is a back and forth match and Philadelphia is able to sneak past in Game 7 thanks to their home court advantage.
2021 NBA Finals: New York Knicks 4 Golden State Warriors 1
MVP: Kevin Durant, F New York Knicks
The 2019 offseason shaped up to be one of the biggest offseasons in history. The Knicks had room to sign two supermax contracts and had the number one overall pick. Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving team up together and Duke Guard Zion Williamson joins a month later and suddenly the Knicks look terrifying. 2020 the team makes the second round but struggles with chemistry. In 2021, the Knicks find their grove winning 70 games. They sweep their way to the 2021 NBA Finals where they play the Golden State Warriors. Thompson and Curry are the only two remaining from their past championship teams and aren’t enough to stop the Knicks. The Knicks go 16-1 in the playoffs on their way to their first title since 1970.
2022 NBA Finals: New York Knicks 4 Phoenix Suns 1
MVP: Devin Booker, G Phoenix Suns
2022 is an interesting year in the NBA. Jersey sponsorships become the primary logo on jerseys with the teams logo in the top right corners. LeBron James retires in 2022 and commits his time to growing his school in Akron. The Knicks are coming off a dominant championship season in 2021 and 2022 isn’t much different. New York again storms through the Eastern Conference and the playoffs only losing three times. In the West, Phoenix’s core, which struggled years before when they first started, has a breakout year led by Devin Booker and DeAndre Ayton. Booker and Ayton save the Suns franchise and win their first division title since Steve Nash. However, the Suns magic season comes to a close in MSG when the Knicks become the first back-to-back championship team since the Warriors in 2017-18.
2023 NBA Finals: Dallas Mavericks 4 Detroit Pistons 2
MVP: Luka Doncic, G Dallas Mavericks
LeBron James retiring the previous year was a huge change in the league, however there still is a member of the James family in the NBA. LeBron James Jr. is selected by the Atlanta Hawks. In his fifth year, Luka Doncic enters his prime taking the league by storm. He leads the Mavericks on an impressive run through the Western Conference where he meets the aging Detroit Pistons in the 2023 NBA Finals. The Pistons decided that 2023 was the year they’d go all in and paired veterans Blake Griffin and Andrew Drummond with allay Thompson. Doncic continues his magical season and caps it off with the Mavericks first championship since Dirk’s team in 2010.
2024 NBA Finals: Oklahoma City Thunder 4 Atlanta Hawks 2
MVP: Russell Westbrook, G Oklahoma City Thunder
Russell Westbrook continues his dominance he’s has since he became the singular face of the Oklahoma City Thunder. He adds another MVP to his trophy shelf after averaging 31 pts, 11 rebs, and 10 assists. He leads the Thunder on a warpath through the Western Conference beating the Memphis Grizzlies, San Antonio Spurs, and Golden State Warriors. On the other side of the country, LeBron James Jr. (Bronny) takes over the city of Atlanta much like his father did with Cleveland two decades before. Bronny promises to never leave the city and makes fun of his dad, but eventually leaves in 2029 on My Decision The Sequel and joins the Sacramento Kings. Meanwhile, James Jr. leads the Hawks to the 2024 NBA Finals but Russell Westbrook is simply too powerful and finally captures his first ring, and Oklahoma City’s first championship. While the Hawks lament their loss in the NBA Finals, they draft a rookie out of Loras College by the name out of Jon Kreidler, without even realizing they’ve found their true franchise player…
2020 Stanley Cup Finals: San Jose Sharks 4 Tampa Bay Lightning 3
Hart Trophy: Erik Karlsson, D San Jose Sharks
2020 begins with the Tampa Bay Lightning continuing their juggernaut offense Jon Cooper has created. After winning the Stanley Cup in 2019, the Lightning win their second President’s Trophy in a row and slide through the Eastern Conference. However, trouble is brewing in the shark tank. San Jose came off of another year with a deep playoff run that just fell short. They spend the offseason continuing to bulk up their defense. At the core of that defense, Erik Karlsson and Brent Burns enter their prime leading the league in shots and goals allowed. After using their defense to shut down teams across the league, the Stanley Cup Finals becomes the best offense pitted against the best defense. In a tight Game 7, Brent Burns has two goals and seals the Sharks first Stanley Cup. Joe Thornton is the first to lift the cup and has a similar feel to when Ray Bourque lifted the cup in Colorado.
2021 Stanley Cup Finals: Winnipeg Jets 4 Boston Bruins 2
Hart Trophy: Jack Eichel, LW Buffalo Sabres
After 23 seasons Joe Thornton calls it a career and the next year, the Sharks take a step back. The Winnipeg Jets move in as the best of the West. They sweep through the playoffs and face the aged but skilled Boston Bruins. Behind the core of Blake Wheeler and Kyle Connor, they fight in a hard series. After 27 years, Winnipeg brings the Stanley Cup to its true home of Canada.
2022 Stanley Cup Finals: Toronto Maple Leafs 4 Nashville Predators 1
Hart Trophy: Auston Matthews, C Toronto Maple Leafs
Similarly to the NBA, 2022 marks the first year that advertisements find their way onto jerseys. Except, Original 6 teams are exempt to preserve the sweaters. Teams in the ‘Next 6’ are outraged. Speaking of Original 6, after the Cubs won it all, the Maple Leafs moved into the spot of team most deserving a championship. Well, Toronto, you got it. Mike Babcock finally accomplishes his goal with his young team and after 27 years without it, Canada gets to keep the Stanley Cup two years in a row. O’ Canada!
2023 Stanley Cup Finals: Vegas Golden Knights 4 Montreal Canadiens 0
Hart Trophy: Jack Hughes, LW Colorado Avalanche
Alas, we arrive in the year 2023. Since entering the league in 2017, the Vegas Golden Knights have made the playoffs every single year they’ve existed. However, they have one flaw. They don’t have that Stanley Cup Champions banner flying in T-Mobile Arena. That changes this
year. Vegas finally breaks through the glass ceiling. They reach the Finals for the second time and face another Canadian team: The Canadiens. It’s new vs old with the league’s second oldest and youngest teams, but Vegas is too much for Montreal to handle and they win the Stanley Cup in front of their home crowd. If you think that Vegas is already a party city, imagine adding Lord Stanley to the mix …
2024 Stanley Cup Finals: Tampa Bay Lightning 4 Seattle Emeralds* 2
Hart Trophy: Alex DeBrincat, LW Chicago Blackhawks
*This is assuming that the Seattle franchise set to start in 2021 will be named the Emeralds and follows the same expansion rules as the Vegas Golden Knights*
2024 is a monenmutal year for the NHL. With the rise in popularity of the sport, the NHL surpasses the NBA to become the third most popular sport in the United States behind lacrosse and football. Jersey sponsorships are introduced, however Original 6 teams are exempt to preserve the integrity of their look. The NHL is now at a full 32 and a pattern seems to be developing. In their third season, the Seattle Emeralds break through and reach the Stanley Cup Finals similarly to Vegas reaching the Stanley Cup Finals in 2018. Once there, they’ll meet the Tampa Bay Lightning who win the hardest trophy to win in sports, obtaining their second Cup in five years. Also, DeBrincat winning the Hart? The guy scores so many points and mixed with Dylan Strome it has to happen at least once.