Russell Wilson’s quiet leadership is exemplary among black quarterbacks

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson hopes to lead his team to consecutive championships.

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson hopes to lead his team to consecutive championships.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

On  Sunday, February 1, 2015, Russell Wilson has a chance to become back-to-back Super Bowl champion. There are only a handful of quarterbacks that have that distinction on their resume, most recently his opponent on Sunday, Tom Brady. However, Russell Wilson has already achieved an historic accomplishment by being the first African-American quarterback to reach the Super Bowl in consecutive years.

Steve McNair had a great deal of success in his career, including his play in the wildly entertaining Super Bowl XXXIV.

Steve McNair had a great deal of success in his career, including his play in the wildly entertaining Super Bowl XXXIV.

Wilson is the fourth African-American quarterback to play in the Super Bowl. In 2004 Donovan McNabb led the Philadelphia Eagles to the Super Bowl and in 1999 Steve McNair also led the Tennessee Titans to the Super Bowl. McNair and McNabb fell short of leading their teams to victory and were ultimately unsuccessful in winning the Super Bowl.

McNabb fell short of Super Bowl victory in 2004, but led the Eagles to several NFC title games.

McNabb fell short of Super Bowl victory in 2004, but led the Eagles to several NFC title games.

In 2012, Colin Kaepernick surprised many by leading the San Francisco 49ers to the Super Bowl in just his 10th career start. He narrowly missed a second opportunity to appear in the Super Bowl last season, losing to the eventual Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks. Wilson, Kaepernick, and Cam Newton are few of the young African-American quarterbacks who are changing perceptions about the position with their varied styles of winning.

Doug Williams put forth one of the best Super Bowl performances of any quarterback when he led the Redskins to victory in 1987.

Doug Williams put forth one of the best Super Bowl performances of any quarterback when he led the Redskins to victory in 1987.

In 1987 Doug Williams guided the Washington Redskins to the Super Bowl and was victorious over the Denver Broncos. Williams’ Super Bowl appearance is not only distinctive because he is African-American, but also because of his superb performance that day. Williams orchestrated a 42 -10 rout of the Denver Broncos with 340 passing yards and 4 touchdowns, en route to being named Super Bowl MVP. As successful as Williams and the Redskins were that day, they were unsuccessful in repeating the following year.

Marshawn Lynch (l) and Richard Sherman (r) have been the main attractions when discussing the Seahawks during this week's media sessions.

Marshawn Lynch (l) and Richard Sherman (r) have been the main attractions when discussing the Seahawks during this week’s media sessions.

Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks hope to add their names to the history books with repeat Super Bowl victories on Sunday against the New England Patriots. While many of Wilson’s teammates like Marshawn Lynch and Richard Sherman have become major headlines during media week, Wilson has flown under the radar. However, his importance to the game cannot be understated.

Wilson hopes this Super Bowl ends the same way the last one did, with the Seahawks victorious.

Wilson hopes this Super Bowl ends the same way the last one did, with the Seahawks victorious.

Wilson is the unquestioned leader on offense and will have to play a much better game than he did in the NFC championship game if the Seahawks are to prevail this Sunday. So far in his career Wilson has been successful in overcoming challenges, so there’s no reason to believe Super Bowl XLIX will be any different.–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr. Is a sports aficionado and a training/benefits consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com. For business inquiries contact (646)309-1938.

Cheating Patriots should be disqualified from Super Bowl, fined steeply

Tom Brady and the New England Patriots will be answering lots of questions over the next week about the deflated footballs in the AFC Championship game.

Tom Brady and the New England Patriots will be answering lots of questions over the next week about the deflated footballs in the AFC Championship game.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

What do the New England Patriots, Alex Rodriquez, and Lance Armstrong have in common? Cheating, lying and championships. Rodriguez and Armstrong are now pariahs and their accomplishments have been completely tarnished. The Patriots are on their way to similar treatment from fans, competitors and some media outlets.

Fans had fun online referencing the cheating ways of the Patriots, at the expense of head coach Bill Belichick.

Fans had fun online referencing the cheating ways of the Patriots, at the expense of head coach Bill Belichick.

News spread quickly that 11 of the 12 footballs the Patriots used in the AFC Championship game were inflated 2 pounds per square inch below NFL standards. This newly dubbed “Deflategate” has moved beyond whether the Patriots did something wrong and is now in the penalty phase.

Has the Patriots' constant cheating landed them in the same league as known cheaters Alex Rodriguez (l) and Lance Armstrong (r)?

Has the Patriots’ constant cheating landed them in the same league as known cheaters Alex Rodriguez (l) and Lance Armstrong (r)?

According to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, “Under NFL rules, no alteration of the footballs is allowed once they are approved. If a person is found breaking league rules and tampering with the footballs, that person could face up to a $25,000 fine and potentially more discipline.”

A pass intended for Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski (l) was intercepted by Colts linebacker D'Qwell Jackson. Jackson noticed the difference in the feel of the football which eventually led the investigation.

A pass intended for Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski (l) was intercepted by Colts linebacker D’Qwell Jackson. Jackson noticed the difference in the feel of the football which eventually led the investigation.

NFL Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice had a very common take on Twitter on the situation stating, “11 of 12 balls under-inflated can anyone spell cheating!!! #Just Saying.” People are not willing to dismiss this latest transgression from the Patriots, despite the large margin of victory over the Indianapolis Colts. Hall of Fame finalist and current ESPN analyst Jerome Bettis referred to the Patriots as “known felons,” referring to their previous punishment for being caught improperly taping their opponents, aka “Spygate.”

Will NFL commissioner Roger Goodell (l) let his close relationship with Patriots owner Robert Kraft (r) affect his ability to properly punish the team for breaking the rules again?

Will NFL commissioner Roger Goodell (l) let his close relationship with Patriots owner Robert Kraft (r) affect his ability to properly punish the team for breaking the rules again?

Roger Goodell levied serious penalties to the New Orleans Saints during “Bountygate,” when Saints players were found to have received financial incentives for intentionally harming opponents. Part of the reason for their stiff penalties was the fact that the team had been warned by the league before ultimately getting caught.

So what should happen to the Patriots? Head coach Bill Belichick should be fired, the team should forfeit multiple draft picks, and they should replay the AFC championship game. Those actions would restore integrity to the NFL, of course, it will not happen. Whatever the punishment we know they’re still going to have a chance to win the Super Bowl against the Seattle Seahawks on February, 1.

A common excuse given after Deflategate is it didn't make a difference in the outcome of the game. Barry Bonds (l) and Roger Clemens (r) wish the Hall of Fame voters would give them the same benefit of the doubt.

A common excuse given after Deflategate is it didn’t make a difference in the outcome of the game. Barry Bonds (l) and Roger Clemens (r) wish the MLB Hall of Fame voters would give them the same benefit of the doubt.

Former NFL tight end Byron Chamberlain pondered via Twitter: “45-7, did deflated football really make that much of a different? #DeflateGate” Grammar aside, the answer is yes for everyone else in sports who is caught cheating. Did Rodriguez or Armstrong need to cheat to be successful in their sport? Shouldn’t the accomplishments over long careers for players like Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds easily grant them entrance into the MLB Hall of Fame? After all, performance-enhancing drugs cannot account for all of their success.

Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman and his teammates do not seem phased by Deflategate.

Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman and his teammates do not seem phased by Deflategate.

The bottom line for the Patriots is coach Belichick leads the team and should receive the majority of the credit, and blame as well. The NFL could make sure the Patriots no longer break rules like this by coming down hard on them. Such punishment might not happen. In the meantime, as Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman adequately put it, “They’re still going to be playing in this [Super Bowl] so whatever they did, the risk/reward was greater.”–OnPointPress.net–


Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and a training/benefits consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com. For business inquiries contact (646)309-1938.

Tim Duncan’s impressive resume is tops in current team sports

Tim Duncan (c) celebrates his 5th NBA championship  with his Spurs teammates.

Tim Duncan (c) celebrates his 5th NBA championship with his Spurs teammates.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

The San Antonio Spurs are again NBA champions, the franchise’s 5th title, all with Tim Duncan on the court and coach Gregg Popovich at the helm. However, as the Spurs continue to be celebrated for their teamwork, Duncan’s individual greatness seems to be a bit undersold. Simply put, Duncan has the best resume of all current players in any American team sport today.

Duncan, pictured with Tony Parker (l) and Bruce Bowen (r), won Finals MVP honors on 3 different occasions.

Duncan, pictured with Tony Parker (l) and Bruce Bowen (r), won Finals MVP honors on 3 different occasions.

Duncan’s resume includes 14 All-Star appearances (in 17 years played), 14 All-NBA selections (10 1st team selections), Rookie of the Year honors, 14 All-Defensive selections (8 1st team and 6 2nd team), 2 NBA MVP awards (2002-2003), 3 NBA Finals MVP awards (!999, 2003, 2005), and 5 NBA championships (1999, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2014).

LeBron James is a 2-time NBA champion with 2 Finals MVP awards but has lost to Tim Duncan and the Spurs on 2 different occasions.

LeBron James is a 2-time NBA champion with 2 Finals MVP awards but has lost to Tim Duncan and the Spurs on 2 different occasions.

The list of comparable players would include huge names in his sport like Kobe Bryant and LeBron James. It would also include baseball players Derek Jeter, Albert Pujols or David Ortiz. Football stars Peyton Manning and Tom Brady would also be included in the list of whose resume’s fall short of Duncan’s.

The case for Duncan stems from the length of time he and his team have been elite, his indiviual excellence in his prime, and the nuumber of championships he has helped lead his team to win. In basketball, the only current star with as many rings as Duncan is Bryant. Bryant was a major part of a Los Angeles Lakers team that won 3 consecutive championships (2000 – 2002) but he has only won NBA MVP once, was given one less Finals MVP award than Duncan, and spent the beginnng half of his career no better than the second best player on his team.

Kobe Bryant is one of the most decorated NBA players of all time. He was awarded Finals MVP twice (2009,2010).

Kobe Bryant is one of the most celebrated NBA players of all time. He was awarded Finals MVP twice (2009,2010).

Though Duncan played his first 6 seasons along side Hall of Fame Center David Robinson, Duncan established himself as the team’s best player by his second season. As Bryant has spent the last two seasons recovering from injuries, Duncan has helped lead his team to consecutive NBA Finals appearances. Duncan’s top notch performances in the last two seasons also illustrate how vital he is to his team’s success.

Derek Jeter is one of the most celebrated baseball players in history and is hoping that his final year playing with the Yankees  ends with a championship.

Derek Jeter is one of the most celebrated baseball players in history and is hoping that his final year playing with the Yankees ends with a championship.

Derek Jeter, the captain of the New York Yankees, is also known for being a classy, productive leader for a winning franchise. Jeter also has 5 championships and was a key part of a team that won 3 consecutive World Series (1998 – 2000) and 4 in 5 years. Jeter was World Series MVP in 2000 and was helped the team win another title in 2009. Yet, Jeter has never won league MVP, and played most of his career surrounded with a plethora of All-Star calliber players, which lessened the reliability of the Yankees on Jeter’s performance.

Peyton Manning is one of the NFL's biggest stars and one of the best quarterbacks of all time. He won Super Bowl MVP in 2006.

Peyton Manning is one of the NFL’s biggest stars and one of the best quarterbacks of all time. He won Super Bowl MVP in 2006.

Brady and Manning seem to be constantly linked as the two quarterbacks that are viewed as the best the NFL has seen in the past 20 years. Manning has had a stellar career to date, amassing 5 NFL MVP awards (2003, 2004, 2008, 2009, 2013), and 2 Offensive Player of the Year awards (2004, 2013). He won Super Bowl MVP in the one Super Bowl his team won in 2006. Manning has been the Super Bowl on two other occasions (2008, 2013) and was unsuccessful in those attempts.

Tom Brady is one of the most famous athletes in the world. Winning 3 Super Bowls and being married to one of the most famous super models in the world (Gisele Bundchen) can boost a person's popularity.

Tom Brady is one of the most famous athletes in the world. Winning 3 Super Bowls and being married to one of the most famous super models in the world (Gisele Bundchen) can boost a person’s popularity.

Brady has been the starting quarterback for the Patriots since 2001 when he helped the team win the first of 3 Super Bowls (2001, 2003, 2004). Brady was named Super Bowl MVP twice (2001, 2003), NFL MVP twice (2007, 2010), and Offensive Player of the year twice (2007, 2010). The Patriots also made it to the Super Bowl in 2007 and 2011 but came up short on both occasions. Brady has played his entire career with the same head coach, Bill Belichek, the same as Duncan and Popovich. While Brady has helped lead his team to the playoffs in many consecutive years, the fact that the Patriots haven’t won the Super Bowl since 2004 shows how difficult winning a championship really is.

Tim Duncan and Gregg Popovich will be forever linked as they have helped lead the Spurs to 5 NBA titles.

Tim Duncan and Gregg Popovich will be forever linked as they have helped lead the Spurs to 5 NBA titles.

Duncan is also known for his humility and stoic demeanor. Duncan is not in many commercials, isn’t married to a super model or a global icon. He is, however, a great basketball player whose career accomplishments stand above his contemporaries, even as he continues his career with no signs of slowing down. He may not want the extra attention that comes with his success, but he certainly deserves it.–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and a management training consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com.

Will Russell Wilson’s success change the perception of black quarterbacks?

 

Super Bowl 48 champion Russell Wilson.

Super Bowl 48 Champion Russell Wilson.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

Year after year football fans were reminded that the only African-American starting quarterback to win the National Football League (NFL) Super Bowl was Doug Williams in 1988. It was more than just reciting a fact, it was like a trivia question on some historical event unlikely to be matched. To date, there have been 48 Super Bowls and 96 starting quarterbacks. Five of the starting quarterbacks have been black, including last year’s runner-up Colin Kaepernick and this year’s winner Russell Wilson.

Super Bowl 22 champion and game MVP Doug Williams.

Super Bowl 22 Champion and game MVP Doug Williams.

Wilson’s success will definitely have an impact on the league going forward. Kurt Badenhausen, writer for Forbes.com, points out that “[Joe] Flacco…,[Aaron] Rodgers…, and [Drew] Brees signed a $100 million deal,” shortly after winning the Super Bowl. He also highlights that, “Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks are the most marketable players in the NFL.” While there have been a good number of African-American quarterbacks to start and succeed in the NFL, Williams and Wilson continue to change the narrative so that black quarterbacks should be viewed as winners as well.

Top rated quarterback prospect Teddy Bridgewater.

Top rated quarterback prospect Teddy Bridgewater.

Yet there are many who believe Wilson joining the illustrious company of Super Bowl- winning quarterbacks is insignificant. ESPN’s Michael Smith on his show Numbers Never Lie (NNL), the day after the Super Bowl stated, “I would like to think we have moved past the point where the color of the skin matters…when it comes to quarterbacks.” He would go on to point out the number of black quarterbacks in the league currently and the high probability that highly touted college prospects Teddy Bridgewater and Jameis Winston will also join that list. There are clearly more starting opportunities given to black quarterbacks now than there ever have been in the NFL.

Colin Kaepernick at Super Bowl 47.

Colin Kaepernick  (c) at Super Bowl 47.

However, the number of African-Americans that are deemed “franchise quarterbacks” is quite small. Franchise quarterbacks are not only given an opportunity to start for their team but are given long-term contracts worth $100 million dollars or more. These rewards come to quarterbacks whose teams feel are the long-term solution for the quarterback position, and who generate confidence of a Super Bowl victory. In this regard, there is still significant room for improvement for racial equality as it appears the determination of franchise quarterback is still easier to achieve for white quarterbacks than anyone else.

Michael Vick has accomplished a great deal in his career including signing 2 different $100 million contracts.

Michael Vick has accomplished a great deal in his career including signing two different $100 million contracts.

Currently, the only black quarterback in the NFL who has signed a $50 million dollar guaranteed contract (or contract extension) or greater since the 2010 season is Michael Vick. In the meantime, there have been at least six of those types of contracts signed by white quarterbacks since the end of the 2012 season alone. Franchises show their belief in the future of the players by signing them to long-term lucrative contracts, not just giving them a chance to prove themselves on the field.

Wilson and Colin Kaepernick are both signed to rookie contracts that paid them less than a million dollars for this entire season ($526,220 and $740,840 respectively). ESPN NFL Insider Dan Graziano explains, “When you’re still a couple of years from really having to pay your franchise quarterback…your GM’s offseason priority list becomes a lot more fun.” With their recent success, there is little doubt that their teams will sign them to lucrative deals in the future.

Will Robert Griffin III (l) or Cam Newton (r) earn lucrative deals from their current team?

Will Robert Griffin III (l) or Cam Newton (r) earn lucrative deals from their current team?

The true test of the evaluation of the black quarterbacks will come when other young black quarterbacks with less success than Wilson and Kaepernick, but showing just as much promise, are available for contract extensions. Will Cam Newton, Robert Griffin III, and Geno Smith be given the same faith by their franchises with long-term contracts as Matthew Stafford, Matt Ryan, or Jay Cutler? Black quarterbacks are beyond the point of proving that they deserve an opportunity. At this point, if the franchises truly believe in these young men, they will show them the money.–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and management training consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com.

It’s Broncos vs Seahawks for a great Super Bowl matchup

 

Russell Wilson leads the Seattle Seahawks to Super Bowl 48 with a chance to win the first championship in franchise history.

Russell Wilson leads the Seattle Seahawks to Super Bowl 48 with a chance to win the first championship in franchise history. Are they the team of destiny?

By Charles Glover

One thing is certain for the upcoming February 2 Super Bowl game: an established, seasoned, white, pocket quarterback will face a younger, exciting, black, dual-threat running quarterback in what will provide a great showcase of two distinct styles of quarterback play. Peyton Manning leads Denver in a structured offense based on timing and precision, while Russell Wilson leads Seattle in a more instinctive offense that reacts to the defense.

Leading up to the AFC and NFC championship games, much of the attention focused on the rivalry between Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. But if the Seahawks wins the Super Bowl, it would be the second time in NFL history that a black quarterback has led his team to Super Bowl victory and it would be the first time that a dual-threat quarterback has done so.

In the AFC game, Manning and the Broncos dominated the Patriots defense throughout, with Brady seeming unable to galvanize his team, while lacking the typical passion that is usually associated with his play. The Broncos won 26-16.

Peyton Manning heads to the Super Bowl for the 3rd time in his 16 year career as the Broncos defeated the Patriots Sunday.

Peyton Manning heads to the Super Bowl for the 3rd time in his 16- year career as the Broncos defeated the Patriots Sunday.

“Being in my 16th season and going to my third Super Bowl I know how hard it is to get here,” Manning said after his team won the game, while Brady expressed disappointment in not getting the result that he wanted, stating that “it was not a good feeling.”

In the NFC game, the 49ers led for most of the game but were plagued by turnovers. Meanwhile, the Seahawks were determined and dogged, as if they felt that they were the team of destiny. they won 23-17. Seahawks team owner Paul Allen, in accepting the championship trophy, thanked “the coaches, the players and the fans,” calling the fans “amazing” while quarterback Wilson thanked “God for bringing us here.”

The Super Bowl game will be an exciting matchup of two vastly different styles of play, featuring a quarterback in Manning who has led his team with the top offensive record. Manning has been in the NFL for 16 seasons and is coming off a spectacular year. In Wilson he will face a younger running quarterback who has led his team all season long to the top defensive record, despite being in the NFL for only two seasons. Stay tuned for what will be a great matchup on Super Bowl Sunday.–OnPointPress.net–

 

Charles Glover Jr. is a sports aficionado and management training consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com.

 

AFC or NFC, which championship game will be better?

Russell Wilson hopes to take the #1 seed Seahawks to the Super Bowl in his second year as a starter in the NFL.

Russell Wilson hopes to take the #1 seed Seahawks to the Super Bowl in his second year as a starter in the NFL.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

Magic, Earvin Johnson versus Larry Bird or Lakers versus Celtics: Epic individual matchup or dynamic team rivalry? Which was better? Like the great games played by those two competitors, the National Football League (NFL) couldn’t have asked for a better championship weekend. The AFC championship will feature the two biggest stars in the NFL over the past decade as Tom Brady leads his New England Patriots to Denver to face Peyton Manning and the Broncos. Two all-time great quarterbacks facing each other with an opportunity to play in the Super Bowl has to be the best game of the weekend, doesn’t it?

Colin Kaepernick will have to be at his best to lead the 49ers to consecutive Super Bowl appearances.

Colin Kaepernick will have to be at his best to lead the 49ers to consecutive Super Bowl appearances.

Meanwhile, the NFC championship will feature the best rivalry in the NFL, the two best defenses remaining in the playoffs, and two of the best young quarterbacks, who are both African-American, in the game. Combine those factors with two head coaches who have a rivalry that goes back to their days coaching in college (Pete Carroll at USC and Jim Harbough at Stanford) and you have a recipe for a combustible contest. The San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks will send a combined 16 players to the pro bowl and both teams play similar styles offensively and defensively. This will also be the third meeting of the season for these teams as both have won on their home field. Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick are two of the most exciting young quarterbacks in the game and they have done nothing but win since they took over as starters in the league. The Seahawks can make it to the Super Bowl for the first time since the 2005-06 season while the 49ers are trying to reach NFL title game for a second consecutive season.

Peyton Manning's last two trips to the AFC championship game were successful. He looks to add to that success this Sunday.

Peyton Manning’s last two trips to the AFC championship game were successful. He looks to add to that success this Sunday.

As intense as the NFC matchup will be, it will not have the historical impact of the AFC contest. Peyton Manning completed a regular season in which he set just about every single season passing record and led his team to the number one seed in consecutive seasons. Tom Brady helped his team overcome a litany of serious injuries as the Patriots continued to dominate the AFC east and reach the AFC title game for 8th time in the Belichek-Brady Era. Manning and Brady will face each other for the 15th time in their careers, with the Patriots beating the Broncos earlier this season. However, the last time they faced each other in the playoffs, Manning and the Colts defeated the Patriots en route to Manning’s only Super bowl win in 2006-07. A win for Manning would put him in the Super Bowl for the third time and allow him a chance at multiple championships. Meanwhile, Brady is trying to join a class with Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana, four time Super Bowl champion quarterbacks.

Tom Brady attempts to lead the Patriots to the Super Bowl for the 6th time.

Tom Brady attempts to lead the Patriots to the Super Bowl for the 6th time.

Both games should be entertaining, intense, and memorable. All the teams remaining won at least 12 games in the regular season and the winner of either matchup will provide NFL fans with something special to look forward to on Super Bowl Sunday. Will Manning cap off a record breaking season with a Super Bowl win? Will Brady get that elusive fourth title? Will the Seahawks get the first Super Bowl victory in franchise history? or, Will the 49ers tie the Pittsburgh Steelers with the most Super Bowl victories for a franchise with its sixth win? One thing is sure, the NFL championship round will be one for the ages.–OnPointPress.net–

 

Charles Glover Jr. is a sports aficionado and management training consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com.

Sports memories of 2013

LeBron James continues to prove he is the best basketball player on the planet as he wins the NBA Championship and  Finals MVP in consecutive years.

LeBron James continues to prove he is the best basketball player on the planet as he wins the NBA Championship and Finals MVP in consecutive years.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

Every year has a unique sports identity and 2013 had a number of trends that immediately come to mind. This year the sports world treated us to fantastic moments like a Super Bowl that was decided in the final minutes and thrilling plays throughout a seven-game series in the NBA Finals. Game 6 of the NBA Finals might be viewed as the game of the year as it provided us with scintillating plays all the way to the end.

Ray Allen (r) makes what might be the play of the year in 2013 as he drills a 3 pointer to tie Game 6 in the final seconds of regulation over Tony Parker (c) and Kawhi Leonard (l).

Ray Allen (r) makes what might be the play of the year in 2013 as he drills a 3-pointer to tie Game 6 in the final seconds of regulation over Tony Parker (c) and Kawhi Leonard (l).

We also witnessed serious tragedy in sports, headlined by the bombings near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. While there was something memorable about the different sporting events throughout 2013, there were some trends that connected the various sports.

 

Derek Jeter (l) and Kobe Bryant (r) are hoping to fully recover from their injuries and have a much better 2014.

Derek Jeter (l) and Kobe Bryant (r) are hoping to fully recover from their injuries and have a much better 2014.

Superstar injuries: 2013 was a year in which some of the biggest names in sports spent a great deal of time on the injured list. Derek Jeter, Kobe Bryant, Derrick Rose, Rob Gronkowski, Matt Harvey, Robert Griffin III, Matt Kemp, Rajon Rondo, Arian Foster and Russell Westbrook were just several of the many All-Star caliber players  who suffered lengthy injuries this calendar year. Adrian Peterson has altered the perception of the impact of some of these injuries as he returned in record time to win the 2012-13 National Football League (NFL) MVP award after tearing the ACL in his knee at the end of the 2011-12 season. It is becoming apparent that Peterson’s recovery was exceptional and that it seems unreasonable to expect any athlete to return to action and be better than they were before the injury.

 

Serena Williams raises her title as she continues her dominance at the U.S. Open.

Serena Williams raises her title as she continues her dominance at the U.S. Open.

Elite performances by the elite performers: The 2013 calendar year was tremendous for the best players in almost every sport. Peyton Manning set NFL records for quarterback in the 2013-14 season en route to a likely fifth MVP award. Miguel Cabrera proved to be the best offensive player in Major League Baseball (MLB), winning the American League (AL) MVP award for the second consecutive season. Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal each won two out of four Grand Slam titles this year on the tennis tour. Tiger Woods reclaimed his position as the number one ranked golfer in the world while winning five tournaments in 2013. Perhaps no performance stands out more than LeBron James capturing his second consecutive National Basketball Association (NBA) Finals MVP award and fourth league MVP award this year as he led the Miami Heat to back-to-back championships.

 

Mariano Rivera was classy as he watched the mess that is New York sports crumble around him,.

Mariano Rivera was classy as he watched the mess that is New York sports crumble around him.

Tough year in New York sports: The Yankees and Mets both faced numerous injuries to key players and failed to make the postseason this year. The Yankees had to watch their rivals the Boston Red Sox win another title. They also have to try to cope with the retirement of legend Mariano Rivera, the loss of their best offensive player Robinson Cano, the unavailability of currently suspended, scandal-plagued player Alex Rodriguez while hoping that Derek Jeter is going to be healthy and productive all season. The Giants and Jets both had mediocre seasons and will be watching the upcoming NFL playoffs from home, missing the chance to play in the Super Bowl which will be played in their hometown. Both football teams will likely make numerous player changes as they look to rebound next year. The Knicks and Nets are off to painfully slow starts to the 2013-14 NBA season. Any talk about NBA championship contention for either team seems extremely far-fetched as both teams have a long way to go just to make the playoffs this year.

 

2013 Boston Marathon participants are emotional wrecks as they witness copious innocent people injured on the street.

2013 Boston Marathon participants are emotional wrecks as they witness copious innocent people injured on the street.

Sporting world’s negative headlines: The two bombs that exploded during the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013 may be the most unfortunately memorable event that took place in sports. With approximately 264 people injured and 3 spectators killed that day, the tragedy unfolded slowly over the next few days after the marathon as the manhunt, shootout with one alleged perpetrator and eventual capture of the other alleged perpetrators played out on television like harrowing scenes from the FOX Network show 24.

Many were surprised to witness Aaron Hernandez being arrested in connection with a murder shortly before the start of the NFL season.

Many were surprised to witness Aaron Hernandez being arrested in connection with a murder shortly before the start of the NFL season.

2013 was also witness to the arrest for murder and gun charges of former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez. Hernandez is currently imprisoned as he awaits trial for the serious charges. The Miami Dolphins sparked greater debates about bullying in athletics as news surfaced about Jonathan Martin walking away from the team after alleging that he was bullied by teammates, specifically Richie Incognito. The NFL is still investigating this matter. Meanwhile, Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston was able to perform on the field while being investigated by local Florida prosecutors after he was accused of sexually assaulting a female who also attends Florida State. The prosecutor’s decision to not pursue charges against Winston still raised questions about whether some athletes get special treatment from law enforcement as the attorney for the accuser remains adamant that her client was violated. At the same time, Winston consistently asserted that his encounter with the accuser was consensual and that he “did nothing wrong.”

The Louisville Cardinals honor injured teammate Kevin Ware as they celebrate winning the National Championship in college basketball.

The Louisville Cardinals honor injured teammate Kevin Ware as they celebrate winning the National Championship in college basketball.

2013 was quite an eventful and memorable sports year. Kevin Ware breaking his leg during the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament was a gruesome sight but provided the impetus to propel the Louisville Cardinals to the national title. College football’s Nick Saban, coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide and Women’s college basketball’s Geno Auriemma of the Connecticut Huskies proved to be the dominant coaches in their sports as they led their teams to another national title.

Ray Lewis' last game in the NFL ended with him holding the Lombardi Trophy as the Baltimore Ravens were victorious.

Ray Lewis’ last game in the NFL ended with him holding the Lombardi Trophy as the Baltimore Ravens were victorious.

The Minnesota Lynx (WNBA) and Miami Heat (NBA) won championships in 2013 and have been in the finals each of the last three years. “Big Papi” David Ortiz led the Boston Red Sox through the post season again to win the World Series over the St. Louis Cardinals. Meanwhile, Ray Lewis was able to retire on top as the Baltimore Ravens pulled out a narrow victory over the San Francisco 49ers. With the Winter Olympics in Russia and World Cup in Brazil (for which the U.S. team was placed in the Group of Death) on docket, 2014 seems poised to garner even more interest than 2013 did in the sports world.–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and management training consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com.