Once again, Sports Illustrated got it all wrong.
Brett Favre is your 2007 Sportsman of the Year. Not a bad
pick, but this reeks of a lifetime achievement award more than a "Favre was THE
greatest athlete in 2007" honor.
Of course, there are so many deserving candidates, and only
one year. Fortunately, there are 12 months to make use of.
Here's the Second Annual Sportsman of the Month column:
January — Peyton Manning
AFC Championship Game. Colts down 21-6 to the Patriots at
the half. Was Peyton Manning ready to lose yet another big playoff game?
Uh, no. Manning took control, throwing for 349 yards and
leading Indianapolis to a comeback 38-34 victory.
After the game, Manning couldn't stop grinning as he
mimicked ripping the metaphorical monkey off his back. The greatest football
player alive had finally "won the big one."
February — Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith
Dungy's story of crisis (His 18-year-old son committed suicide
in late 2005) and his ensuing comeback is unbelievably compelling, and like
Manning he ripped the monkey off his back and finally won the big one.
And Smith, uh, was rewarded for his faith in Rex Grossman.
Oh, and he paired with Dungy to become the first two black coaches to lead
their teams to the Super Bowl.
March — Florida Gators
True, Billy Donovan's squad didn't actually claim the
college basketball title until April. But the University of Florida entered
elite, uncontested status when the Gators won their second consecutive title in
basketball — sandwiched around a shocking football championship a few months
before. Poor Ohio State.
April — Alex Rodriguez
A-Rod had one of the most jaw-dropping baseball seasons
ever, to finally clam up all those New York fans that wondered why he was even
April was an extended highlight reel: .355 average, 14
homers, 34 RBI and a few dramatic walk-off jacks along the way.
May — LeBron James
If you missed LeBron's Game 5 of the East finals against
Detroit, well, you missed out. The King went off for 48 points — including his
team's final 25 points. LeBron looked absolutely "Jordanesque" and sent the
basketball world into a frenzy over this magical night.
And then two months later, LeBron hosted the ESPYs with
Jimmy Kimmel. What a year.
Of course, even LeBron wasn't good enough for…
June — the San Antonio Spurs
They might have gotten my pick for Sportsman of the Year… if
I still didn't feel that Spurs-Suns melee cost the Suns the rightful NBA championship.
But it's time these guys get their due. They are, in fact, a
dynasty. Four NBA titles in nine years, and they do it the right way, the team
way. Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili don't wow you with their play,
but they're consistently the guys standing at the end.
July — Roger Federer
Greatness. Pure greatness.
Federer won his fifth consecutive Wimbledon, and for once
was pressed to the limit by new foe Rafael Nadal. Nobody had touched the Swiss
stud on his favorite surface — grass — but the Spanish kid with bazooka biceps
forced a fifth set. But instead of wilting under the pressure of history,
Federer prevailed and tied the all-time record for consecutive titles at the
August — Barry Bonds
Quick moment of respect for the new Home Run King…
Moment over. Let's move on.
September — Brett Favre
This just in: A certain gray-bearded 38-year-old quarterback
is absolutely torching defenses this season.
While he probably shouldn't have gotten the SI award, it
seems appropriate that he get the nod for September. After all, he led the Pack
to a surprising 4-0 start — including wins at the New York Giants and over San
Diego — while setting his own giant record with his 421st touchdown pass at
Rocktober — Colorado Rockies
I picked the surprising Detroit Tigers for October last
year, and it only seems right I give the same respect to the kid Rocks. Twenty-one
of 22 wins! Unheard of. We'll probably never see it again.
November — NCAA quarterbacks (Ryan, Williams, Brennan,
Tomorrow the Heisman is announced. This is one of the most
wide-open races ever. And while each of these QBs is flawed, they each had
their own great moment in November.
Matt Ryan against Clemson. Juice Williams against Ohio
State. Chase Daniel against Kansas.
And Colt Brennan and Tim Tebow against, well, everybody.
That's probably what makes those two the favorites.
December — Iowa State women’s volleyball team
C'mon, help me out here. There's only been five days this
month. It's a painful pick, sure, but I'll go with the little team that could,
the team that shocked the high-flying UW volleyball team and is on its way to
the first Sweet 16 in program history.
Brenner's Sportsmen of the year — Boston athletes
Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell. KG and Paul Pierce. Tom Brady
and Randy Moss.
The year started inauspiciously for Beantown (see: Manning,
Peyton). But ever since the baseball season began, it's been all Boston, all
the time this year. They've absolutely taken the sports world by storm.
I'm sick of Boston, you're sick of Boston. But you can't
help but feel jealous for the city and its sports fans.
In the last 50 years, only four cities have won multiple
championships in the same year (among pro football, basketball, baseball and
hockey): Boston (2004), New York (1969) Los Angeles (1988), and Pittsburgh
Nobody's ever won three. Stay tuned.
Love the picks? Hate
'em? Think I left someone or some team out? Post your comment on the message
board or shoot me an e-mail at [email protected]