Sportsman of the Month rundown

first_imgOnce again, Sports Illustrated got it all wrong.Brett Favre is your 2007 Sportsman of the Year. Not a badpick, but this reeks of a lifetime achievement award more than a “Favre was THEgreatest athlete in 2007” honor.Of course, there are so many deserving candidates, and onlyone year. Fortunately, there are 12 months to make use of.Here’s the Second Annual Sportsman of the Month column:January — Peyton ManningAFC Championship Game. Colts down 21-6 to the Patriots atthe half. Was Peyton Manning ready to lose yet another big playoff game?Uh, no. Manning took control, throwing for 349 yards andleading Indianapolis to a comeback 38-34 victory.After the game, Manning couldn’t stop grinning as hemimicked ripping the metaphorical monkey off his back. The greatest footballplayer alive had finally “won the big one.”February — Tony Dungy and Lovie SmithDungy’s story of crisis (His 18-year-old son committed suicidein late 2005) and his ensuing comeback is unbelievably compelling, and likeManning 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 leadtheir teams to the Super Bowl.March — Florida GatorsTrue, Billy Donovan’s squad didn’t actually claim thecollege basketball title until April. But the University of Florida enteredelite, uncontested status when the Gators won their second consecutive title inbasketball — sandwiched around a shocking football championship a few monthsbefore. Poor Ohio State.April — Alex RodriguezA-Rod had one of the most jaw-dropping baseball seasonsever, to finally clam up all those New York fans that wondered why he was eventhere.April was an extended highlight reel: .355 average, 14homers, 34 RBI and a few dramatic walk-off jacks along the way.May — LeBron JamesIf you missed LeBron’s Game 5 of the East finals againstDetroit, well, you missed out. The King went off for 48 points — including histeam’s final 25 points. LeBron looked absolutely “Jordanesque” and sent thebasketball world into a frenzy over this magical night.And then two months later, LeBron hosted the ESPYs withJimmy Kimmel. What a year.Of course, even LeBron wasn’t good enough for…June — the San Antonio SpursThey might have gotten my pick for Sportsman of the Year… ifI 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, adynasty. Four NBA titles in nine years, and they do it the right way, the teamway. 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 FedererGreatness. Pure greatness.Federer won his fifth consecutive Wimbledon, and for oncewas pressed to the limit by new foe Rafael Nadal. Nobody had touched the Swissstud on his favorite surface — grass — but the Spanish kid with bazooka bicepsforced a fifth set. But instead of wilting under the pressure of history,Federer prevailed and tied the all-time record for consecutive titles at theAll-England Club.August — Barry BondsQuick moment of respect for the new Home Run King…Moment over. Let’s move on.September — Brett FavreThis just in: A certain gray-bearded 38-year-old quarterbackis absolutely torching defenses this season.While he probably shouldn’t have gotten the SI award, itseems appropriate that he get the nod for September. After all, he led the Packto a surprising 4-0 start — including wins at the New York Giants and over SanDiego — while setting his own giant record with his 421st touchdown pass atMinnesota.Rocktober — Colorado RockiesI picked the surprising Detroit Tigers for October lastyear, and it only seems right I give the same respect to the kid Rocks. Twenty-oneof 22 wins! Unheard of. We’ll probably never see it again.November — NCAA quarterbacks (Ryan, Williams, Brennan,Daniel, Tebow)Tomorrow the Heisman is announced. This is one of the mostwide-open races ever. And while each of these QBs is flawed, they each hadtheir own great moment in November.Matt Ryan against Clemson. Juice Williams against OhioState. 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 teamC’mon, help me out here. There’s only been five days thismonth. 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 tothe first Sweet 16 in program history.Brenner’s Sportsmen of the year — Boston athletesJosh Beckett and Mike Lowell. KG and Paul Pierce. Tom Bradyand Randy Moss.The year started inauspiciously for Beantown (see: Manning,Peyton). But ever since the baseball season began, it’s been all Boston, allthe 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’thelp but feel jealous for the city and its sports fans.In the last 50 years, only four cities have won multiplechampionships in the same year (among pro football, basketball, baseball andhockey): Boston (2004), New York (1969) Los Angeles (1988), and Pittsburgh(1979).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 messageboard or shoot me an e-mail at ajbrenner@wisc.edu.last_img read more