This article marks the beginning of my new bi-weekly series of posts that will cover all of sports’ biggest stories. Look for them every Monday and Thursday from now on!
The Heisman Trophy is the pinnacle of the NCAA football world and has been awarded to the game's top player since 1935. 76 collegiate standouts have been honored – give or take a Reggie Bush here and there – and this year history was made. Johnny Manziel aka “Johnny Football” became a sensation playing QB for Texas A&M this season as he morphed into what the runner-up to his Heisman Trophy Manti Te’o described as "a human video game." Manziel, the first freshman to ever win this prestigious award, passed for 3,419 yards and 24 touchdowns along with 1,181 yards rushing and 19 more touchdowns of the running variety. He led the Aggies to a 10-2 record this year, which was their first season as a part of the SEC.
Manziel set the SEC record for offensive production with 4,600 total yards – surpassing numbers set by fellow Heisman winners Tim Tebow and Cam Newton. He also became the fifth player in NCAA history to pass for 3,000 yards and rush for 1,000 yards in a season – the first ever freshman to do so and he did it in the fewest amount of games. The 20-year-old (his birthday was last Thursday) will have another two NCAA seasons before he can bolt for the NFL and there’s a good chance he’ll compete for at least one more Heisman Trophy – only Archie Griffin has won more than one Heisman. “Johnny Football” received 474 of the 928 first place votes for a total of 2,029 points. Be sure to tune in January 4 for the 2013 Cotton Bowl as Manziel leads Texas A&M against the Oklahoma Sooners.
• The Kansas City Royals and Tampa Bay Rays agreed to terms on a huge trade late Sunday night. The Rays will be sending SP James Shields and P Wade Davis to the Royals for top prospect and last season’s minor league player of the year Wil Myers along with pitching prospects Jake Odorizzi and Mike Montgomery. The Royals also gave up minor league 3B Patrick Leonard. I can see why Kansas City agreed to this deal – they finally get an ace pitcher in Shields (one of the most durable pitchers in baseball with the second most IP the past two years) along with a very promising young arm with MLB experience in Wade Davis – who had been relegated to bullpen duty in Tampa but will likely return to the rotation for the Royals – but they gave up a lot. Wil Myers could be making a lot of noise some time this season in the outfield for Tampa should they decide to call him up. Odorizzi was one of the top pitching prospects in Kansas City's system and Montgomery still has a lot of promise despite struggling for the past two years. Kansas City will probably reap the rewards of this trade instantly with two potential top of the rotation guys, but I’m thinking Wil Myers and the Rays will have the last laugh.
• The Green Bay Packers took over sole possession of first place in the NFC North after they defeated their divisional rival Detroit Lions 27-20 in the snowy tundra of Lambeau Field. With the Chicago Bears falling to the Minnesota Vikings, the Packers now find themselves a full game up on the 8-5 Bears as the two teams prepare to face off in a pivotal matchup in Soldier Field next week. Green Bay benefited from some sloppy play out of Detroit's QB Matthew Stafford who threw one interception along with a costly fumble that led to a defensive TD for Green Bay and proved to be a turning point in the game (Detroit was up 14-3 before the fumble). Green Bay will look to clinch the division next week after starting the season 2-3.
• The Los Angeles Lakers lost their second game in a row last night as the Utah Jazz defeated them in L.A. 117-110. The Lakers have now lost seven of their past 10 games and are only 7-6 at home. The 9-12 Lakers drop to the 11th seed in the West as they continue to struggle with chemistry and injuries. Somehow, I don't think Laker fans were envisioning Chris Duhon coming over from Orlando and scoring more points than Dwight Howard in a game. How long until we can hit the panic button? Some may say that would be presumptuous, but the Lakers themselves did so when they fired Mike Brown just a few weeks into the season. Mike D’Antoni hasn’t faired much better.
• Tragedy struck the Dallas Cowboys on Saturday when it was announced that nose tackle Josh Brent was arrested for intoxicated manslaughter after crashing his car that had fellow teammate Jerry Brown sitting passenger. Brown died in the accident as his former college teammate Josh Brent was taken into custody. Police reported that when they arrived to the scene, Brent was attempting to pull Brown’s body from the wreckage. Brent was released from jail after posting a $500,000 bond on Sunday and could only watch as his Dallas Cowboys team managed to squeak out an emotional close victory against the Cincinnati Bengals thanks to a late game-winning FG from Dan Bailey.
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