'Tis the season for giving. So in the spirit of cheer and goodwill, we at FOX Sports have come up with a list of gifts, ranging from a triple-double average for Russell Westbrook to a win for the Browns, that we wish for athletes and teams for the holidays.
A win for the Cleveland Browns
Cleveland's other sports teams have successfully pulled themselves up by their bootstraps, but the Browns seem firmly entrenched at rock bottom: After a revolving door of injured quarterbacks -- including RGIII, no help at the helm, and a season heading towards 0-16, the Browns could really use a win, both literally and figuratively.
A triple-double average for Russell Westbrook
The Oklahoma City Thunder point guard has already entered rarified air this season as just the sixth NBA player in history to earn 50 triple-doubles in his career. Let's give the 28-year-old Brodie an extra helping of health so he could continue on with his bad self and average a triple-double for the season.
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An eighth NASCAR cup championship for Jimmie Johnson
The 41-year-old Johnson tied with Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt when he won his seventh Cup championship in Florida in November. While he can be seen as a polarizing figure, Johnson has earned the respect of his rivals, and a record-breaking win from the greatest active NASCAR champion on the track today can only be a victory for the sport.
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A tournament win for Tiger Woods
After many fits and starts, the injury-riddled Woods finally returned to competition for the first time since September 2015 at November's Hero World Challenge. And he wasn’t bad! He’ll never be the same Tiger, but Woods had his moments of brilliance and keeps viewers riveted. Imagine what winning a tournament would achieve.
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For Ronda Rousey to be able to change her UFC narrative
Rousey was the most dominant fighter in the UFC before a knockout by Holly Holm stripped her of the bantamweight title. A prolonged hiatus stoked whispers as to whether or not Rousey still had any fight left in her. Now the former Olympic judo bronze medalist is set to make her return at the end of this month, facing off against Amanda Nunes at UFC 207 in Rousey's first bout since November 2015. Rousey had confirmed that the Dec. 30 fight is “definitely one of my last.” Which makes the match that much more monumental — not just because it's Rousey's chance to win back her title, but also to turn her career UFC narrative back in her favor.
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A cure for the perpetually bummed Jay Cutler
The quarterback has spent eight seasons with the Bears and despite his starts and stops and turnovers, and recently, health issues (his latest injury marked the end of the 33-year-old's season), he has thrown for 23,443 yards and 154 touchdowns – the best in franchise history. And yet this guy is so maligned. It could be because his team has only been to the playoffs once during his eight seasons. Or because he seems to spend more time on the sidelines injured than on the field. Or, most likely, because he can't seem to get that grumpy frown upside down. Someone get Cutler 10cc of euphorium to combat that resting bummer face, stat.
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CFB playoffs to expand to eight teams
Not a new wish — and no disrespect to Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State and Washington — but one made clear once again this year when strong contenders like Penn State and Michigan were relegated to bridesmaid status. Expanding the playoff to eight teams would give teams more to work for than one of those umpteen forgettable bowls.
For Mike Trout to make it to the postseason
For all the accolades Mike Trout has received in his short but storied career — two-time AL MVP, five time All-Star, two-time All-Star Game MVP since joining the league in 2012 — the 25-year-old Trout has only had 12 career at-bats in the playoffs. Talent like this should not be wasted.
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For the Detroit Lions to make the Super Bowl
The Lions' last championship was in 1957, which makes them the second-longest NFL title drought behind the Arizona Cardinals. Detroit has only won one playoff game since 1957 (in 1991), and they haven't hosted a playoff game since 1993. The Lions definitely have their detractors, but they're sitting atop the NFC North for now. They're due.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. back up and running
He's free of the concussions that kept him out of exactly half of the 2016 NASCAR Premier Series season. Let's hope he stays that way. When Earnhardt is on the track and competitive, the NASCAR fan base is engaged. When he’s not, interest wanes. A return to good health would not only be good for the driver (who's also getting married to his long-time fiancée Amy Reimann on New Year's Eve), but it would also be good for the sport.
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An Alabama game that actually could go either way in the final minute
Nick Saban's Crimson Tide are 13-0 this year, by far the most dominant college football program this season. Not only are they undefeated, but Alabama has rolled over every other school they've faced by double digits. They could use a worthy opponent. Will the Washington Huskies be it at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl on Dec. 31?
Let NFL players celebrate
The NFL has cracked down on touchdown celebrations this season, but all those penalties for "prolonged or excessive celebrations of demonstrations" are giving the league an austere, "Footloose" type of feel. How can players play to win and then be expected not to celebrate?