The Best of the Decade
As the decade comes to an end, everyone seems to have rankings for something. Best television show, movie, album, etc. The sports world has given us much to remember over the last 10 years. From the Red Sox breaking the curse to Federer winning the most Grand Slams in history, records have been broken and champions have been crowned. Here’s a look at the players, teams and coaches who defined a decade in sports.
NFL Player of the Decade- Peyton Manning: He may have only won one Super Bowl, but no player meant more to their team this decade than Peyton Manning. His stats are almost surreal; over 40,000 passing yards and over 300 passing touchdowns, not to mention he has basically been a head coach on the field. It is really unclear whether or not the Colts actually have an offensive coordinator at this point. Either way, Manning doesn’t really need the help. Manning had a t least 26 touchdowns in every season this decade and surpassed 4,000 yards in all but one season. He may also be the greatest commercial actor of the decade and that doesn’t hurt his case.
Honorable Mention: Tom Brady, LaDanian Tomlinson, and Brett Favre
NBA Player of the Decade- Kobe Bryant: Kobe’s first title without Shaq last season solidifies his place as player of the decade. Bryant was remarkably durable, playing in over 60 games in every season while averaging more than 25 points per game in eight of ten seasons. Bryant was dominant in the postseason winning four titles, but also had one of the decade’s most memorable regular season performances when he lit up the Raptors for 81 points in January of 2006. Also important was Kobe’s well-rounded game; he made the All-NBA First Team and the All Defensive First Team seven times each in the decade. Although he struggled with image issues at some points, no one ever questioned his on the court abilities and Kobe has finally shed the label of not being able to win without Shaq.
Honorable Mention: Tim Duncan, Shaquille O’Neal, and Kevin Garnett
MLB Player of the Decade-Alex Rodriguez: This is by far the toughest award to hand out because it is impossible to know who was cheating and how much they cheated. It’s also hard to determine whether a pitcher or position player should win the award. If we assume everyone was on the same playing field, Alex Rodriguez has to get the nod. A-Rod smashed over 400 homeruns while hitting over .300 in six of ten seasons. He drove in over 100 runs in every year and also managed to win three MVP’s, three Silver Sluggers, and two Gold Gloves. That’s some serious hardware. Rodriguez couldn’t have been player of the decade if not for his postseason performance this year though. He finally got the clutch hits we had been waiting for and won his first World Series.
Honorable Mention: Albert Pujols, Barry Bonds, and Randy Johnson
Coach of the Decade-Bill Belichick: Belichick became the head coach of the Patriots in the first year of the decade and went 5-11. That would be his only losing season. His teams won ten games or more in eight of ten seasons (assuming they get one more win this year) and he lead them to four Super Bowl (three of them wins). Although many people will remember Belichick for Spygate and the team that won every game except for the one that mattered, he was able to put together teams that over performed on an annual basis.
Honorable Mention: Phil Jackson and Terry Francona
Golfer, Driver, Tennis Player, and Cyclist of the Decade: There is no room for argument for these awards. Tiger Woods, Jimmie Johnson, Roger Federer, and Lance Armstrong. Enough said.