Friday, September 14, 2007

Most Dominant Athlete of All Time

Sunday night, after watching the glorious re-appearance of the NFL for the 2007 season, one thought assaulted my mind: Roger Federer is the most dominant athlete of all time.

Writing this blog, I am aware that tennis isn't the most popular sport. Especially in Canada, where talented tennis players are tough to find among the myriad of professional hockey players and ~cough~ lacrosse players.

The only way I can describe the way Federer dominates tennis is to draw a comparison between an average 20-30 year old male have a slam-dunk contest versus an infant on a 5-foot net.

The only time Federer EVER loses is in the French Open in the finals against Rafael Nadal. That's it. One loss a year. If it weren't for that one loss, Roger would hold the prestigious "Grand Slam" having won all four of the Grand Slam Tournaments in a year. Something that hasn't been done in the Open era of tennis.

Among Federer's records, here are a few of the most prominent:
- Has won 3 of 4 Grand Slam tournaments (U.S. Open, Australian Open and Wimbledon) 3 times.
- Surpassed Jimmy Connors (160) and Steffi Graf (186) with most consecutive weeks as the #1 mens player and #1 singles player respectively(189+).
- Most consecutive U.S. Open wins (4).
- Tied for most consecutive Wimbledon wins (5).
- Won at least 10 singles tournaments for 3 consecutive years.
- Only player to have reached at least the finals for all 4 grand slam tournaments for 2 consecutive years.
- 10 consecutive grand slam final appearances.

Among these are many others. One record which Federer hasn't claimed is the record for most Grand Slam titles. He has 12 and is chasing retired American Pete Sampras who has 14 (Sampras accomplished his feat at 31 years of age and Federer is only 26).

I rest my case with one final argument. If you think Tiger Woods is more dominant at golf than Federer is at tennis, you are an idiot. And golf isn't a sport.

Detrimental Conduct to the League?

Let me start by saying I have no problem admitting that what Micheal Vick did was a heinous and awful act. Dogs should never be treated that way, and I beleive that the way in which Micheal Vick's actions have been disciplined have been appropriate thus far.

Bill Belicheck's however have not.

When Commissioner Roger Goodell ruled that Micheal Vick be suspended due to his actions which were "..detrimental to the welfare of the NFL and have violated the League's Personal Conduct Policy.." he was correct and justified in his indefinate suspension of Micheal Vick. What Micheal Vick was involved in was tarnishing to both the league's image and reputation, and was in full deservance of the suspension that was handed down.

Now, when I look at what Bill Belicheck has been convicted/caught doing by the league, I'm hard pressed to differentiate which act is more "detrimental" to the league. Sure, what Vick did was terrible, but in reality did very little to affect or damage the game of football, and the sport that the NFL markets. Yes, his actions had an affect on the image of the league, but had very little to no effect on the product that is being sold on the field. However, what Belicheck has done has hurt the credibility and legitimacy of the league. His actions have brought into question the fairness of the NFL game, and whether or not coaches are cheating or playing fair.

I beleive football is one of the greatest sports on earth. I enjoy the strategy and planning that can be exerted in football while still remaining on a level playing field. It is fun because it is fair, and it is great because it pits several great athletes against each other and forces them to use tremendous athleticism and strength to defeat their opponent. But all this is for not, if coaches and players are cheating. When a coach does what Belicheck has done, it changes the game. It takes away value from the game, and taints the image of the league.

So why hasn't Belicheck been treated the same way Micheal Vick was treated?

Belicheck has been given a slap on the wrist by being given a $500,000 fine and losing what will likely be a first round draft choice. To a man who makes 6 million dollars a year from his salary alone, not to mention the numerous speaking arrangements and book royalties he receives, this is a joke.

In my opinion, Bill Belicheck's conduct has been far more "detrimental to the League". I'm not saying what Micheal Vick did was right, this time Goodell has acted differently because there's noone like P.E.T.A. staning on his doorstep.


Also, I think it's worth noting that Robert Kraft (owner of the New England Patriots) was the head man of a group of owners who lobbied for Roger Goodell as Commissioner. Coincidence?