1). Last year I called the SI Sportsman of the Year, Mike Krzyzewski (Blog 3, 4/20) and I have 2 predictions for this season. My first is a no-brainer...anyone who emerges a superstar following the London Olympics. While I do not see another Phelpsian 8-medal haul, it could be another athlete (Dara Torres-if she wins gold, A female boxer...etc.) Or maybe we have already seen the best of my other selection. It will be revealed later in the blog.
2). Has a team ever had a more tumultous off-season than the New Orleans Saints? In short order; they lose their head coach, multiple players off their defense, draft considerations, and their franchise player is still unsigned as we head into the mandatory mini-camps. It remains to be seen if the team has a bump in the road or this will have a historic impact on the 2009 Superbowl Champions.
3). Woman's Boxing is making its debut in the 2012 London Olympics...is it too far fetched to see Olympic MMA at some point? The sport is rising in popularity among multiple demographics and it is only a matter of time when it will (if it hasn't already) surpass boxing. Look for a 2020 timeframe when it will become an official sport.
4). Congrats to the Miami Heat for winning the 2012 NBA Championship...don't remember a team having so many lovers and haters cheering for a particular team. The old school rivalry of the Lakers/Celtics had a deep emotional vibe to it; but the Heat really seems to unleash a real reaction. Now that you have seen how hard it is to win one, you get to experience how much harder it is to defend it.
5). Stick a fork in Tiger Woods. He will never catch the Nicklaus record of 18 Majors. He may win another in his lifetime, but his time has passed. Tiger no longer has the aura he once had as a feared cold-blooded golf god. And while he doesn't ooze the cloak of invincibility he once did, the problem lies more between his ears. It sure looks like he no longer believes he will make the short putts, long putts, short irons, name your shot. His body language almost portrays that he's just waiting to miss the shot. His time has passed.
6). My pick for SI SOY?......Eli Manning. An athlete who is competing in the largest major US sports market, playing in the most popular sport, competing at the hardest position, sibling of one of the greatest sports icons in the same sport, winning another championship, and doing it all without a hint of scandal. And while someone else may do the impossible, unthinkable, or miraculous....Manning should be the frontrunner for SI SOY.