Around this time of year the sports landscape is dominated by the professional football and basketball along with the collegiate version of both. While football and basketball are still a ways away from anointing their respective champions there were a couple in different sports that were crowned last weekend.
Major League Soccer finished up its fourteenth season on Sunday thinking it would be seeing David Beckham and Landon Donovan lifting the championship trophy. Instead, Real Salt Lake proved that any team can win on any given game day and set a professional sports record in the process. With Robbie Russell’s kick in the seventh round of penalty kicks the underdog team from Utah became the first team in professional sports history to its league championship after compiling a losing record in the regular season (they were 11-12-7).
It would have been easy for Real Salt Lake to just throw in the towel at any point during the playoffs and during the championship on Sunday (November 22). The sign of a good team is not always in the record, but in how they respond when the chips are down. In this case, the league MVP, Landon Donovan, sent a kick over the crossbar allowing Robbie Russell and Real Salt Lake the opportunity to win. Congratulations gentlemen; well done.
While the MLS championship came down to penalty kicks NASCAR pretty much knew who their champion was going to be before the race at the Homestead- Miami Speedway began. Defending champion Jimmie Johnson could have come in 25th and still won the title, but instead finished 5th on his way to winning his record fourth consecutive title.
In the process Johnson joined some pretty elite company. Only three other drivers have won more than three titles. Racing greats Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty have both won seven and Jeff Gordon has won four.
So while Brett Favre threw another touchdown (and set a Viking completion percentage record) and Mathew Stafford made a tremendous comeback against the lowly Browns (and set the record for youngest player to throw five touchdowns in a single game) there were record setting champions crowned.
I never thought I would say it, but Jimmie Johnson and Real Salt Lake have proven to me there is more to life than football. Congratulations on such great seasons, gentlemen.
If Jimmie Johnson were a Real Salt Lake fan he might be inclined to toast their record setting victory after he is done toasting his own with a Monkshine from the Four + Brewing Company in Salt Lake City, Utah. This Belgian pale ale has a fruity, peach like sent and pours a nice golden color with little head. Sweet yet spicy too, this brew packs a pretty decent punch at 6.8% ABV.