I probably don’t follow many traditions about New Year’s Eve, but back in the 1990s I never missed a Dec. 31 episode of ABC’s Nightline television program because that was their annual predictions show.
Anchor Ted Koppel would host the distinguished prognostication
panel every year that featured Pulitzer Prize winning columnist and former
presidential speechwriter William Safire; economist Arthur Laffer, the
so-called “architect of the 1980s supply side economics” movement; and former
Sports Illustrated writer Frank Deford, the dean of American sports commentary.
Koppel would lead the panel through a discussion of their thoughts about the
coming year and then they would each make three bold predictions for the new
year after a review of their previous yearly predictions.
This was always a fast-moving hour of television and I’ve
always appreciated the keen insight of Koppel, who was able to move with ease
from topics ranging from politics to religion to business to sports, all while
keeping panelist egos in check and the discussion focused on what would be in
the news in the unknown year ahead.
After Koppel retired as Nightline host in 2005, the
prediction show came to an end. Safire died of pancreatic cancer in 2009 and
Deford passed away at age 78 in 2017.
After an absence of 16 years, I still miss that panel’s wit,
humor, and collective intuition in predicting future events. Although I may not
be in their league, perhaps I can start a New Year’s Eve tradition here in 2021
by making a few annual predictions of my own.
Let’s see how many of these predictions will come to pass in
** Former New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who also
won a Super Bowl last season playing for Tampa Bay, will retire after the end
of this season. My best guess right now is that Tampa Bay is not going to reach
the Super Bowl again in 2022 and Brady has had enough. He will turn down
lucrative offers to host several NFL Sunday pre-game shows and instead will run
for Massachusetts governor and win in a landslide in next year’s election.
** As “supply chain” issues are slowly resolved, the price of
gasoline for American drivers is going to stabilize at about $3 per gallon.
After months of consumers paying through the nose and enduring seemingly unending
rising prices with each visit to the pump, oil companies will settle on $3 as
the going rate in 2022.
** The Major League Baseball lockout will end in mid-March delaying the start of the 2022 season by a few weeks. A new lottery style draft system will be implemented to eliminate the strategy of teams who “tank” to receive a higher draft pick. Player salaries and owner profits will remain ludicrous though. The New York Mets will reach the 2022 World Series but ultimately lose in six games to the Toronto Blue Jays.
** Fast-food restaurants will slash menus significantly to
speed up drive-through service times and reduce staffing needs. Many of these
same restaurants will also cut hours and days that they operate just to survive
in the highly competitive fast-food environment. Chicken wings and breakfast
pizza could be the hottest selling drive-through items in the coming year and
gooseberries will grow in popularity as a healthy alternative offered in the
supermarket produce aisle.
** Poland will be the epicenter of international controversy
next summer when it declares its intent to withdraw from the European Union like
Great Britain’s Brexit.
** Trucker jackets will be the fashion rage for women in 2022
while anything plaid or crocheted will be best sellers for females too. Leather
vests for men, tight trousers, and belted raincoats all will be making a
comeback in male fashion trends.
** The Florida Panthers will defeat the Edmonton Oilers 4
games to 1 to win the Stanley Cup. The Purdue University Boilermakers will
capture the NCAA men’s basketball title by knocking off the UCLA Bruins in the championship
** HBO Max will announce production of a new “Sopranos”
television series sequel featuring a new generation of actors hoping to
capitalize on the show’s continuing popularity. Edie Falco will reprise her
role as Carmella Soprano and Robert Iler will return as A.J. Soprano in this
** The real estate market will continue to boom in 2022. As
more people search for affordable housing and businesses continue to reduce
overhead and site expenses by allowing workers to perform their duties
remotely, those looking for homes will not slow down at all in the coming year.
Real estate demand will remain high.
** Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle, will announce
they are expecting a third child in the coming year. I’m also predicting that
the couple will be at the forefront of a new global effort to eliminate
** The Maine Legislature will vote to allow municipalities to
create a new revenue source by authorizing towns and cities to set-up a system
to license pet cats annually like existing annual dog licensing programs.
As Yogi Berra once said, “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.”
Happy New Year to one and all. <