Sports Illusrated, fresh off an AI article controversy, selected Colorado Buffaloes college football coach Deion Sanders as its Sportsperson of the Year. Mr. Sanders took over as head coach at Colorado after the football team went 1-11 in 2022. Sports Illustrated noted that the team improved greatly in Coach Sanders’ first season:
As for the actual football? It’s been an adventure. Colorado is massively improved over 2022, when it was by far the worst Power 5 program. The Buffaloes were outscored by 29.1 points per game last year, compared to 6.7 this year
The team lost its final six games to finish 4-8. While that is better than the 1-11 record Colorado posted in 2022, it is still sub-par.
Sportsperson of the Year is a nebulous award, But a college football coach coming off a 4-8 season, regardless of the circumstances leading up to the season, does not seem like a likely candidate. If they want to honor Mr. Sanders, why not wait 2-3 seasons to see how Colorado football looks after Mr. Sanders has more time to build the program in his image and bring in his recruits? What award be left to give Coach Sanders if Colorado is 11-1 at this point in 2025?
On the other hand, if the Sportsperson of the Year award is to honor sports figures who give human and AI journalists things to write about, the eminently quotable Coach Sanders had one of the best cases in 2023.
(I would have submitted now former Texas A&M football coach Jimbo Fisher for earning $76.8 million to not coach Texas A&M.)