It happened in 2022, sort of

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Tulane wins AAC football title
No one would have expected Tulane to win their first AAC title but it happened in 2022 (Photo: Parker Waters).

So 2022 is coming to an end.

It was a year filled with changes and surprises in the world of sports.

In college football, it raised the question: How many 5-star Aggies does it take to win five games?

In Major League Baseball, it answered the question: Can the Houston Astros win a World Series without using garbage cans?

The year 2022 marked the end of COVID as a major disruption. Sort of.

It was the year that Tom Brady retired. Sort of.

It was the year that the Louisiana High School Athletic Association fixed the select/non-select split. Sort of.

It was the year that the College Football Playoff figured out a fair-sized field. Sort of.

And it was the year that Tulane accepted an invitation to play in the Cotton Bowl. Really.

Son of a gun.

Some of this stuff is hard to believe, but that’s what makes sports so entertaining.

Here’s a good-natured, tongue-in-check look back at what happened in 2022.

Well, sort of.

New LSU head coach Brian Kelly watches as the remnants of Ed Orgeron’s final team loses to Kansas State in the Texas Bowl. Meanwhile, Orgeron moves into a luxury condo in Fansville. … Saints head coach Sean Payton announces that he will take his first-season long vacation since 2012. … Tom Brady vehemently denies reports that he will retire. … Georgia defeats Alabama for the CFP Championship. …

In the NFL Wild Card Playoffs, Joe Burrow and the Bengals beat the Raiders, the Bills beat the Patriots, the Buccaneers beat the Eagles, the 49ers beat the Cowboys, the Chiefs beat the Steelers and the Rams beat the Cardinals. … In the divisional round, immunized quarterback Aaron Rodgers deftly avoids a Super Bowl boycott when the Packers lose to the 49ers. Elsewhere it’s the Bengals over the Titans, the Rams over the Bucs and the Chiefs over the Bills in overtime. … The Bengals edge the Chiefs in overtime to win the AFC and the Rams top the 49ers to win the NFC. …

As Zion Williamson’s return from off-season foot surgery seems less likely to happen before the end of the season, cable sports talking heads speculate that he will refuse a max contract offer from the Pelicans to sign with the Lakers.

Just days after vehemently denying that he was going to retire, Tom Brady announces his retirement. … The Saints promote defensive coordinator Dennis Allen to replace Sean Payton. … The Rams hold off the Bengals 23-20 to win Super Bowl LVI. … Daniel Snyder announces that his Washington Football Team (nee the Redskins) is adopting the nickname “Commanders” over suggested alternatives such as the Bullies, the Toxic Work Environment, the Frivolous Lawsuits, the Record Finepayers and the Financial Improprieties. …

Spring training and the start of the Major League Baseball season are delayed as the owners lock out the players in the wake of the collective bargaining agreement expiring. … The Pelicans bounce back from a 3-16 start to compete for a play-in berth in the Western Conference. They bolster their postseason prospects by acquiring CJ McCollum and Larry Nance Jr. in a trade with Portland. Cable sports talking heads react to the surge by speculating that Williamson will refuse a max contract offer from the Pelicans to sign with the Knicks. …

The International Olympic Committee bans Russia from the Winter Olympics because of its impending invasion of Ukraine, saving the IOC the trouble of later stripping medals from Russian winners for failed drug tests. … Texas A&M signs the highest-rated recruiting class in college football history.

The Saints fail in their attempt to lure quarterback Deshaun Watson from Houston as the Cleveland Browns agree to trade the Texans a No. 1 draft choice for every woman who has alleged sexual misconduct by Watson in a civil lawsuit. … Tom Brady announces his triumphant return from retirement. …

The Pelicans continue their play-in push as cable sports talking heads speculate that Zion Williamson will refuse a max contract offer from them to sign with the Celtics. … LSU makes a “strong-ass offer” to men’s basketball coach Will Wade to leave town amid ongoing NCAA scrutiny. …

Major League Baseball owners and players reach a new Collective Bargaining Agreement that allows for a full season to be played, guaranteeing that the American League will beat the National League in the All-Star Game.

On the eve of the start of the baseball season Aaron Judge turns down the Yankees’ contract offer of $213.5 million over seven years. … In March Madness, the Loyola New Orleans men’s basketball team wins the NAIA national championship. In related news Kansas defeats North Carolina 72-69 in the Caesars Superdome to win something called the “NCAA Final Four.” …

The Pelicans finish ninth in the Western Conference to claim a play-in spot. They beat the visiting Spurs in a play-in game before going to Los Angeles and eliminating the Clippers to grab the eighth playoff spot. They take home-court advantage and battle the top-seeded Suns for six games before being eliminated. Cable sports talking heads react to the improbable turnaround by speculating that Zion Williamson will refuse a max contract offer from the Pelicans to sign with the Clippers.

CJ McCollum
Pelicans guard CJ McCollum (3) helped spark a surprise playoff run after he was acquired from the Trailblazers (Photo: Stephen Lew).

After using millions of dollars in NIL money to sign the historic recruiting class, Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher lashes out at Alabama coach Nick Saban after Saban accuses the Aggies of “buying players.” … The NBA playoffs heat up as cable sports talking heads speculate that Zion Williamson will refuse a max contract offer from the Pelicans to sign with the Nets.

The Warriors defeat the Mavericks to win the NBA Western Conference and the Celtics top the Heat to win the East. … The Warriors defeat the Celtics in six games to win the NBA Championship as cable sports talking heads speculate that Zion Williamson will refuse a max contract offer from the Pelicans to sign with the Syracuse Nationals. … Jared Kushner is named commissioner of the LIV Golf Tour.

Jasper Philipsen of Belgium wins the Tour de France as Joe Biden finishes a disappointing fifth. … Novak Djokovic wins the men’s singles title at Wimbledon as Aaron Rodgers and Kyrie Irving cheer him on. … Zion Williamson signs a max contract that will keep him with the Pelicans through at least the 2027-28 season. Cable sports talking heads react to the news by speculating that Williamson will sign with the Lakers in 2028.

New Orleans Saints Jameis Winston (2) and Andy Dalton (5)
New Orleans Saints QBs Jameis Winston (2) and Andy Dalton (5) at the New Orleans Saints Training Facility (Photo: Stephen Lew).

Jameis Winston wins the Saints starting quarterback position for a second consecutive season. … Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson is fined a record $5 million for violating the league’s conduct policy. … The NFL suspends Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, fines him $1.5 million and strips the organization of a No. 1 draft choice in 2023 and a No. 3 in 2024 for tampering with the recently unretired Tom Brady and Sean Payton. … At a concert in the Smoothie King Center, Pelicans basketball chief David Griffin joins Billy Joel on stage for a memorable rendition of “Piano Man.”

Tulane opens the season with victories against Massachusetts, AlcornState and KansasState before losing to Southern Miss and beating Houston. … LSU loses to Florida State in the Superdome in Brian Kelly’s first game as head coach, defeats Southern, MississippiState and New Mexico. …

Queen Elizabeth II dies, leaving Roger Goodell as the world’s longest-reigning monarch. … Riding the momentum of the wildly popular expanded use of the designated hitter and the implementation of ghost runners, Major League Baseball, the only team sport that has never utilized a clock, announces it will institute limits on time between at bats and pitches for next season. … The LHSAA restructures its select/non-select format, reducing the cumbersome number of football championships from “a boat-load” to eight. …

Jameis Winston leads the way as the Saints score the final 17 points and defeat the Falcons 27-26 in the season opener. … Winston starts losses against the Bucs and Panthers despite a broken back, then is replaced by Andy Dalton.

Tulane beats East Carolina, South Florida and Memphis. … LSU beats Auburn, loses to Tennessee, beats Florida and Ole Miss. … Andy Dalton runs the offense as the Saints lose to the Vikings, beat the Seahawks, lose to the Bengals and the Cardinals and beat the Raiders. Dennis Allen affirms that Dalton remains his starting quarterback. …

Aaron Judge breaks Roger Maris’ iconic American League single-season home-run record by hitting 62. … Indians defeat the Rays and the Mariners beat the Blue Jays in the AL wild-card playoffs. In the NL, Phillies beat the Cardinals and the Padres oust the Mets. … In the divisional round, Yankees beat the Indians and Astros beat the Mariners in the AL and Phillies beat the Braves and Padres knock off the Dodgers in the NL. …

Tulane beats Tulsa, loses to UCF, beats SMU and Cincinnati to improve to 10-2 and win the AAC regular-season championship. … LSU beats Alabama in overtime, knocks off Arkansas and UAB before losing to Texas A&M to finish the regular season 9-3 and win the SEC West. … Aggies finish 5-7. … The Saints lose to the Ravens and Steelers, beat the Rams and lose to the 49ers as Dennis Allen reaffirms that Andy Dalton is his starting quarterback. … The world population surpasses 8 billion people, most of whom appear on the set of “NFL Today.” … Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving is suspended for eight games for refusing to have his brain vaccinated. … Dusty Baker wins his first World Series after 25 seasons as a Major League manager as the Houston Astros beat the Phillies in six games.

Tulane defeats UCF in the AAC title game at Yulman Stadium and accepts an invitation to play USC in the Cotton Bowl. … LSU loses to Georgia in the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta and accepts a bid to play Purdue in the Citrus Bowl. … Former Saints and Boilermakers quarterback Drew Brew accepts a temporary assistant coaching position with Purdue for the Citrus Bowl. … Willie Fritz is named Endymion Grand Marshal while Ed Orgeron is tabbed to lead the Knights of Chaos. … The College Football Playoff announces that it will expand its field from four teams to 12 for the 2024-25 season. In related news, no one affiliated with college football can name more than five legitimate contenders for spots in this season’s field. …

The Yankees retain Aaron Judge by signing him to a nine-year, $360 million contract. Oddsmakers immediately install the Yankees as strong favorites to finish second in the AL. … Tom Brady vehemently denies reports that secretly re-retired during the Bucs bye week. … The Saints lose to the Bucs, beat the Falcons and the Browns and prepare to finish the season against the Eagles and the Panthers as Dennis Allen re-reaffirms that Andy Dalton is his starting quarterback. …

When asked about reports that Twitter has lost $44 billion and counting since he became CEO, Elon Musk replies, “Our future is still brighter than the Lakers’.” … Kyrie Irving hires LaToya Cantrell’s image consultant. … Citing a need for more “military-type discipline,” LSU coach Brian Kelly names Sharief Ishaq a special teams consultant. … Happy New Year!

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Les East

CCS/106.1 FM/Daily Iberian

Les East is a nationally renowned freelance journalist. The New Orleans area native’s blog on was named “Best Sports Blog” in 2016 by the Press Club of New Orleans. For 2013 he was named top sports columnist in the United States by the Society of Professional Journalists. He has since become a valued contributor for CCS. The Jesuit High…

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