This weekend on the Corner of Controversy and Criticism we focus on the busy weekend that featured some intriguing stories of multiple legends in their respective sports. On Friday night, Dale Earnhardt Jr. climbed inside the a car again as he drove in the NASCAR Richmond Xfinity Race. That’s the one great thing about having your own team is that you can climb back at any given time. I was a little bit skeptical of this one time race because of how horribly Junior’s career ended. Prior to this race he hadn’t won a race since 2015 at Phoenix in the Monster Energy Series. This year he has been an analyst for NBC’s coverage of NASCAR and has been doing an excellent job so far. In the last few year he’s settled down by getting married and having a child so racing hasn’t been as much of a priority as it once was. When he qualified 2nd I thought to myself that this could be interesting in so many different ways if it goes well. At the end of the night he finished fourth, and in the the process won Stage Two and led 97-laps. As a Dale Jr. fan I was satisfied and happy that if this was his last race he went out the way he wanted to. I personally have this feeling in my gut that Junior could race sporadically until he wins and then he decides to call it quits. An athlete and legend of his caliber deserves to go out on top. For now, I will continue to enjoy his insight and perspective as a color commentator.
One guy who was on top then sunk to rock bottom has once again climbed to the top. Tiger Woods dominated the Tour Championship this weekend for his 80th career win and first since 2013. Tiger Woods has gone through a lot of obstacles, demons and has struggled in his comeback to get to where is now. No matter what you think of what Tiger Woods and his personal life you cannot deny that if it wasn’t for him many people would not have paid attention to golf in the last twenty years. This guy changed the game of golf like Michael Jordan changed basketball, Gretzky changed hockey and Hulk Hogan changed pro wrestling. He’s an icon, a legend and he is having one of the greatest comeback stories that anyone could ever hope for. This weekend proved that he’s got a lot left in the tank and is poised to make another run at being the number one golfer in the world. My good friend and golf enthusiast Rocky Crabtree has a great strategy that Woods should consider doing. He said Woods should focus on the Ryder Cup and once that is over he should take some time off to get ready for next year. He made the suggestion that Woods should focus on the major tournament and not play in as many minor tournaments. I think that is a good strategy that Crabtree described to me and one I think Woods should follow to continue his momentum.
As the weekend came to a close one legend did not have a great Sunday Night. Tom Brady had one of the worst performances of his career on Sunday Night Football in a game that I was skeptical about to begin with. Going into the game I did not feel the Detroit Lions deserve to be on prime-time after being humiliated by the New York Jets on Monday Night Football in week one. I was wrong about this game in every aspect, but the one I did not expect to be wrong about is Tom Brady’s performance. He only threw for 133 yards, one touchdown and had a QBR of 38.1. He was also sacked twice, hit six times and threw for one interception. There a lot of factors as to why Brady performed so poorly. Matt Patricia who now coaches the Lions knows Brady and the Patriots offense better than most. I have also read many reports over the last year how there is dissension between Brady and Bill Belichick. From the game I watched on Sunday night it seemed like Brady didn’t care. It wasn’t the same Tom Brady I have been accustomed to seeing over the last sixteen years. Brady has expressed desire to play until he’s 45 and that would mean he would have to play four more years. If he and the Patriots continue to struggle like they have the first three games then I don’t see it happening. I also don’t see Brady playing for another team because it just wouldn’t be right. It would be as odd as when Joe Montana played for the Kansas City Chiefs. I will be curious to see how the Patriots season unfolds because depending how it goes it gives us an indication what the future holds for Brady.
Athletes like Dale, Tiger and Tom are once in lifetime athletes and most likely won’t see for a long time. They all have made their own significant mark on their sports. Some might say Dale Jr. doesn’t deserve to be in the same category as the other two because he didn’t win a championship, but he brought a lot of attention and advertising to the sport. He also reinvested in the sport by forming Junior Motorsports in the XFinity Series. Will Brady and Woods reinvest in their sports when their time is done? That’s a question for another time, but greatness comes in all different forms. With the month of October approaching quickly we will see College Football, MLB, NASCAR, NBA, NFL, NHL, and the PGA Tour all in the same month. There will be a lot of great stories that come out of October so I urge to stay tune for all things sports. Remember that Controversy Doesn’t Come Without Criticism.