Do you enjoy uncertainty? The current sports world, still playing under the specter of a global pandemic, has had to deal with more than its fair share of goofiness, delays, and general confusion of countries and cities playing by different rules. The Cleveland Browns found out on Dec. 16, 2021, that quarterback Case Keenum tested positive for COVID, causing a major shift in the NFL Lines. The shift was especially seismic because Keenum was the backup, with starter Baker Mayfield already sidelined due to the virus. The Browns have 20 players total who have tested positive.
This will propel Nick Mullens in line to start for the Browns. Mullens has started 16 games in his career but has yet to throw a pass since joining the Browns this season. But the NFL is far from the only league that has been impacted by all the changes. Careers have been delayed, and players and owners have missed out on a ton of revenue due to certain situations.
Chimaev Hype Train Stays in the Station
Khamzat Chimaev, a Russian-born fighter who wrestled internationally representing Sweden, burst onto the UFC scene in the middle of the pandemic and appeared to be fast-tracked to being the company’s next big star. Chimaev debuted with a first-round submission win over John Phillips at a UFC Fight Island card in July 20202. He then proceeded to fight two more times in the next two months, scoring knockout victories over Rhys McKee and Gerald Meerschaert.
UFC was set to match Chimaev with another title welterweight contender Leon Edwards in December 2020. However, Chimaev tested for COVID in late November and had some complications while training to return. Chimaev would eventually run in October 2021 and win by submission over Li Jingliang. While Chimaev’s path forward still looks bright, the pandemic likely took away one of his potential fights.
Premier League Scrambles to Get Games in
The Omicron variant has ripped through the English Premier League, considered one of the top professional soccer leagues in the world. Two matches — Leicester City vs. Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United vs. Brighton — were canceled during the week of Dec. 10, 2021. Four other matches were also forced to be postponed.
There was some talk of the Premier League pausing the league and picking things up in 2022. During the 2020-21 season, the end of the season was pushed back five months to help the teams get in all of the games due to restrictions.
2020 Olympics Played in 2021
Despite the Olympics being pushed back a year by the pandemic, Tokyo didn’t rebrand the games, referring to them as the 2020 summer Olympics despite them being played in 2021. The United States won the gold medal race, pulling in 39 and clipping China by one in a race that came down to the last few events. The United States won the total medal count as well, capturing 113.
But the investment Japan put into the games brought the country little return. Spectators were largely barred from most events, and travel to the country was limited. The games were the most expensive in history, costing $20 billion to host.
Indiana-Only March Madness
The NCAA Tournament in 2020 was the first major event to suffer from the pandemic’s wrath in the sporting world. Not wanting to lose another year, the NCAA decided the 2021 tournament would be played entirely in Indiana. Utilizing the arenas available, the committee was able to put together an entire field and contest the tournament. While it largely worked, there was one exception.
VCU qualified for the tournament but was pulled out because of failed tests on the team. Oregon would advance by forfeit and upset No. 2 seed Iowa. The Ducks Cinderella run ended with a loss to USC in the Sweet 16.