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The Year of the Comeback

Nick Palmer and Evan Waldt, Staff Writers

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A historic and record-shattering comeback is not a once a day, once a year, or even a once in a decade occurrence. The world has faced many unconventional outcomes throughout this year, and in the realm of sports and politics there were absolutely no exceptions. In this article, staff writers Evan Waldt and Nick Palmer unite to reflect on the biggest comebacks of this past year.

For our first comeback, we visit the World Series to examine the Chicago Cubs. After a 108-year championship drought that has plagued the Cubs for years, they were back in the World Series. The Chicago Cubs were not off to a hot start and it looked as if another team from Cleveland, the Indians, would be bringing home a championship trophy. After the Cubs found themselves down three games to one, many Chicago fans were left without any sense of hope. Assume that the two teams playing in this World Series were equally as good as the other. That means after the Cubs were down three to one, there was only a twelve and a half percent chance of them winning at this point in the series. Out of the eighty-one teams that have been down three to one in a baseball playoff series, only twelve came out victorious. Also, these teams were not all playing in the World Series which adds exponential pressure to the situation eventually leading to even slimmer odds. So just under fifteen percent of teams that were in the same position of the Cubs in the series ended up winning, so relying on the odds was not an option. Four games later, the unthinkable was achieved and the Cubs were back in the Winner’s Circle. After 108 years of no titles to their name, the streak was snapped and history was made.

Thirty-one records were either broken or tied when the New England Patriots faced the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LXI. Surprisingly, the Patriots can be attributed to each and every one of these records despite the tribulations early on in the game. The Falcons led the Patriots twenty one to three as they went into halftime. At this point the score and the overall performance of the Patriots didn’t give hints to a promising second half. Hope is all the Patriots had going into the third quarter, and it is safe to say they didn’t have much going into the fourth. After the Falcons had a 28 to 9 lead with two minutes left in the game, the Pro Football Reference states that if you are even up eleven points with two minutes left, you have a 99.97% chance to win the football game. However, this year was the year for the comebacks. The Patriots started to rally and there was a series of points scored by the Pats that were bringing them closer to contention. Before we all knew it, the Patriots had tied the game and for the first time in Super Bowl history they were off to overtime. Many onlookers didn’t know how to feel about how drastically the game had turned. The Patriots went on to win the Super Bowl by scoring the first touchdown in overtime and America was stunned. What better way could the Patriots and Tom Brady settle the drama that presented itself early on in the year? This went on to be the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history and victory couldn’t have tasted sweeter for the New England Patriots.

Another big surprise comeback from the past year when the Cleveland Cavaliers were down 3-1 in the NBA finals to the Golden State Warriors and would emerge on top. The Cavs went down 3-1 with a home loss and two road losses by margins up to 33 points. The turning point of the Finals may have been when Golden State Warriors power forward and key player Draymond Green got suspended in Game 4 for a confrontation with Cavalier’s superstar LeBron James. The Cavaliers would then march back with 2 crucial wins in Cleveland and Golden State, setting up a historic Game 7. The showdown was close for all 4 quarters but Kyrie Irving completed the comeback for the Cleveland Cavaliers with a step-back three on MVP Steph Curry. LeBron James also made key plays down the stretch, including a vicious block on Golden State forward Andre Iguodala when the game was on the line. LeBron James would complete his promise of bringing a championship back to Cleveland for the first time since 1964 when the Cleveland Browns won an NFL championship.

However it was the election of Donald Trump that may have been the biggest surprise of the year. Trump had said some controversial things, got steamrolled by the media, and was haunted by polls giving Hillary Clinton a landslide victory to become the 45th President of the United States. Trump proved otherwise with an unorthodox campaign from start to finish and targeting middle class workers to “Make America Great Again!” Marco Rubio, Florida Senator, said that after Trump won the GOP Nomination that Trump’s political success was “unusual and unexpected.” When beginning his campaign, many people took his run for president as a joke. GOP strategist Alex Castellanos said during the time of the Republican debates to determine who would run for president,” I’ve resisted the idea that Donald Trump would become the Republican nominee. Unhappily I’ve changed my mind. This quote generalizes much of the population, showing the shock and awe of Trump’s rise to power. Before Trump became President, he was a successful business owner and reality T.V. star on the show “The Apprentice” and the “Celebrity Apprentice.”  It goes without saying that Donald Trump becoming the POTUS was improbable. Fivethirtyeight.com, a polling website, gave Trump a 28.6% chance of winning on election day, and gave Trump a 16.5% chance of winning Wisconsin, a 23.0% chance of winning Pennsylvania, and a 21.1% chance of winning Michigan; three key states in the Democratic “Blue Wall” that Trump won. Polling websites and media outlets overall called this election terribly, saying that Clinton would win in convincing fashion when in fact the exact opposite happened.

Thus it can be seen that this past year in sports and politics was the year of the comeback, with crazy results happening in all major sports and the most important event of the year, the Presidential Election. The Cleveland Cavaliers, Chicago Cubs, New England Patriots, and Donald Trump won against all the odds stacked against them in impressive fashion. The next upcoming sports seasons and political elections certainly have a lot to live up to and will be watched with great interest.

 

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The Year of the Comeback