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A 2015 Sports Wish List .....

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Ryan Lindley picks up a loose ball during his team’s NFC wild-card playoff loss to the Carolina Panthers on Saturday night.

This is the season of 2015 sports predictions, but it’s silly to write a column of sports predictions. If I really knew what was going to happen in 2015, would I tell you? I love you, I appreciate you, and mean no disrespect, but: I would not. I would tell a licensed casino. Maybe an unlicensed casino. I would tell a casino and place a wager of at least one if not two years of my toddler son’s nonexistent college fund, and I would sit back and watch the money rush in. By the time the NFL playoffs and Super Bowl were over, I’d have enough money to buy a yacht. By the Final Four, I could pay for a a jet. By Wimbledon, I could afford an island. By the end of 2015, I could maybe afford a two-bedroom apartment in New York City with a spectacular view of a concrete wall, and a rat clipping his nails into a dumpster.

The only truth of the prediction business is that predictions are made to be forgotten. I cannot tell you who is going to play in the Super Bowl. I could give you a boring answer, like the Patriots will play the Packers. That’s a cop-out. It’s like telling you to order the chicken. I should be intriguing and go for, say, Colts and the Panthers, but I will not. I am not Biff Tannen in “Back to the Future Part II.” I don’t have the 2015 sports almanac. I can only tell you only what I would like to happen. Here’s what I’d like to happen in 2015:

This is an overarching request, not limited to sports, and more about creating a mood than a specific event. It would be great if in 2015 we could find a measure of courtesy and compassion for our fellow beings and not behave like every mistake or disappointment or dropped pass is an opportunity to condemn or howl in capital letters or behave like overtired children rolling around the waiting area of a Cheesecake Factory.

If that is not possible, I would like the Knicks to win at least nine of their 82 games.

I would settle for seven.

I would like to not watch the Carolina Panthers-Arizona Cardinals playoff game again.

I walked into the kitchen and made myself a bowl of cereal. I just outgained the Arizona Cardinals.

I would like college football to get it over with and expand the playoff. Because it’s inevitable. There is no way to look at the smash ESPN ratings for the New Year’s Day semis between Oregon and Florida State, and Ohio State and Nick Saban University—the two semis are the two highest rated shows in cable television history—and not conclude the schools and TV will chase expansion. It’s leaving money on the table. Get it done instead of arguing about it for another 2,000 years.

This will probably phase out the bowls, but the bowls already feel phased out. At this point watching a bowl is like taking your cat to the movies: fun for five minutes and then you have no idea why you’re doing this. Also: the Alabama-Ohio State game started too late on the East Coast. If you are staying up later on New Year’s Day than New Year’s Eve, the game is on too late.

It’d be great if we could be spared six more weeks of breathless madness about the NFL “coaching carousel”—a term that makes a middling job fair sound a lot more entertaining than it is—in favor of a system in which teams simply wrote a handwritten note to fans explaining who they’d hired. Dear Jets fan, Behold the electric epoch of Doug Marrone!

It’d also be great if we all let Johnny Manziel be for a little while.

By “a little while” I am good with 30 to 40 years.

Alex Rodriguez is coming back to the Yankees and I’d be upset about it if it wasn’t also completely hilarious. Remember: part of New York’s justification for that insane A-Rod contract was that they assumed we’d all be riveted to A-Rod’s untainted chase of the home run record. Now the Yankees are acting like he’s a felt poster of a clown they want to forget they ever bought.

It’d be nice if the leadership of FIFA recognized the time has come to pass the torch anyone, really. I would settle for a family of squirrels over the current leadership of FIFA.

At this point I would be OK if the 2022 Olympics were awarded to Burning Man.

It’d be great for a network to figure out how to fully integrate social media into game coverage because the live play-by-play and analysis has already been surpassed by the commentary and supplementary detail on Twitter. It’s not even close. It’s not a fad, and the jokes are better.

It’d be swell if Jack White came up with another song for everyone to hum.

I would like Serena Williams to win Wimbledon this year. And I would like Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer to finally meet at the U.S. Open. That’s actually not a request. It’s a demand.

I’d be OK with colleges taking it easy on the alternate uniforms.

Stuart Scott died Sunday. The ESPN anchor was 49 years old, and in that abbreviated time, he assembled a groundbreaking career of memorable sports television, to the point that Scott and Scott-isms became irresistible parts of the culture. Scott was first diagnosed with cancer 7 years ago, and he met the challenge with extraordinary courage, humor and grace. Sports has a way of becoming so loud and contentious that it starts to wear away at the humanity underneath, but Scott never lost touch with the joy his life gave him. He said it best, earlier this year, on an ESPN podcast with Michael Smith and Jemele Hill:

I am acutely aware at most moments when I’m doing something that I love that it is a precious thing...Every moment that I am doing something that I love, I will stop and I will take a conscious, acute mental moment to say, ‘This is living. This is why I am living.’ And I have them regularly.

We could all use a little more bit of that. That would be a very good 2015.
The losses have piled up for Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks this season.
 Jason.Gay @

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