In 2011, Aaron Rodgers won his first Superbowl, and had lead the Packers to a regular 15-1 season behind an MVP performance. This led the viewers of The Real Sports Talk, or as it was called back then The Ka$h Kelly and AC Sports Report, to vote Rodgers as 2011 athlete of the year. Fast forward 12 months, and Rodgers has stayed hot but not hot enough to defend his title as Athlete of the Year. Here are the four candidates. Vote at the poll on the bottom of the article. Votes will be counted until December 22.
Eli Manning Quarterback New York Giants-In 2012 Eli Manning truly did reach his goal of being elite. After by far his best regular season of his career, Manning once again upset Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in Superbowl 46, winning his second Superbowl MVP. At the end of 2012, Manning has the Giants sitting on top of the NFC East at 7-5, having tossed 16 TDs and 3,170 yards.
LeBron James Small Forward Miami Heat and Team USA- In 2011 LeBron James was viewed by many as the most unsuccessful athlete of the year. In 2012 “King James” won his third league MVP, and finally got his first NBA Title and Finals MVP. After that LeBron was just adding on by leading the USA Men’s team to Gold in the London Olympics. As 2012 winds down, LeBron is averaging 25 points, 9 rebounds, and 6 assists.
Usain Bolt Sprinter Jamaica- Coming into the 2012 London Olympics, many wondered if 2008 Olympic hero Usain Bolt would be out-shined by his countryman, Yohan Blake. Coming out of the 2012 London games, those same critics wondered if Bolt was the greatest sprinter of all-time. Bolt cruised to a 100 meter dash record 9.63 seconds. Bolt also edged out teammate Yohan Blake, to win his second straight 200 meter title, with a time of 19.32 seconds. Bolt became the first sprinter to ever win the 100 and 200 meter races at back to back Olympics. As we ponder if Bolt is the 2012 Athlete of the Year, he is likely training for the 2016 games, which he has committed to running in.
Miguel Cabrera Third-Baseman Detroit Tigers- After the Tigers signed Prince Fielder, forcing Miguel Cabrera to move to third base, numerous experts thought Cabrera may have a down season. Instead Cabrera won his first MVP, after becoming the first player to hit for the triple crown since Carl Yastrzemski. He did so hitting .330 with 44 homeruns and 139 RBI’s. Cabrera also lead the Tigers to their first World Series appearance since 2006, before the Tigers were swept by the Giants. Regardless of the loss in the World Series, Cabrera had a truly historic year in 2012.
Players who just missed: Johnny Manziel, Manti T’eo, Michael Phelps, Mike Trout, Buster Posey, Kevin Durant, & Anthony Davis.