September is the month where dreams either take flight or go to die.
If you’re a baseball fan, your favorite team is either making vacation plans for the offseason or celebrating and preparing for the postseason. If you’re a football fan, your favorite team is probably still full of high hopes as the season has just begun. (Unless you’re a Chicago Bears or Texas Longhorns fan, then we apologize in advance.) Sometimes you just have to tip your cap to the hand that’s been dealt.
This is the month of September, as the excitement of football coming back into our lives officially fades and the beginning of the MLB playoffs are just around the corner. Add to the mix the opening of training camp for the NBA and preseason hockey starting up in the NHL, business is starting to pick up.
Once again, we’ve decided to break out the athletes, moments and other things of interest that won and lost at sports in the month of September. Some will be truly awesome moments of spectacle. Others will only be here to make you laugh. Because winning at sports is important.
Winner: Leonard Fournette
The LSU Tigers’ tailback is averaging over 210 yards per game, more than 40 yards better than the next best rusher in college football, and it’s starting to look like a running back has a chance to bring home the Heisman hardware for the first time in six years.
Loser: Texas Longhorns
When you lose a game by a missed extra point and a botched punt, it’s hard not to feel sorry for the Texas Longhorns. (Unless you’re a fan of the Oklahoma Sooners, then we understand your pettiness.) The glimmer of hope is redshirt freshman quarterback Jerrod Heard, as the young stud is doing all he can to keep hope alive in Austin.
Winner: Tom Brady
The New England Patriots are just unfair. The defending Super Bowl champions are undefeated thus far in the 2015 NFL season and their star quarterback just achieved a milestone in their win over Jacksonville. Brady threw for two touchdowns, including the 400th of his career to Danny Amendola, and now gets to kick his feet up for the week as the Patriots cruise into the bye week with not a worry in sight.
Loser: Drew Brees
The New Orleans Saints find themselves with an 0-3 record in September. What’s worse? Their franchise quarterback might be on his last legs…or arm. Head coach Sean Payton stated that Drew Brees would not miss multiple weeks with a rotator cuff injury, but Brees was held out of the Saints’ Week 3 loss to the Carolina Panthers. Is it fair to ask whether we’ll ever see #9 back in top form for the Saints?
Winner: Kansas City Royals
The Royals were the darlings of the postseason last year, as their improbable run earned them a trip to the 2014 World Series. To prove last year was no fluke, Kansas City one-upped their regular season success by clinching the AL Central title in September. Well done, KC.
Loser: Greg Holland
Unfortunately, the Royals will have to make do without reliever Greg Holland for the 2015 postseason, and possibly even longer, as the closer has been shut down due to a significant tear in his UCL. It’s possible he may need the dreaded Tommy John surgery depending on the results of exam. It’s also possible that the Royals can’t win a championship without their ace in the bullpen.
Winner: Julio Jones
The best wide receiver in the NFL has emerged as Julio Jones has risen to take the top spot. With game-breaking plays and highlight-reel catches on full display, Jones has helped lead the Atlanta Falcons to a 3-0 record and put all cornerbacks on notice when their team has to face #11.
Loser: Dez Bryant
The loss of Dez Bryant in week one is terrifying news for Dallas Cowboys fans. Coupled with the loss of Tony Romo, the Cowboys offense went from good, to bad, to ugly in the span of two weeks. Some would argue that when healthy, (and sane) Bryant is the best wideout in the game, but for now all we can look forward to is Bryant getting hype for his teammates when they do well.
Winner: Metta World Peace
The Panda’s Friend aka Metta World Peace aka Ron Artest has returned to the Los Angeles Lakers on a one-year non-guaranteed deal this month. Why did the Lakers decide to bring MWP back? To be a mentor and tutor to young players like D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle on the Lakers roster. Raise your hand if you thought Artest would be the seasoned vet taking rookies under his tutelage ten years ago.
Loser: Anthony Bennett
The Minnesota Timberwolves released the former #1 overall pick from the 2013 NBA Draft this month, and now Bennett is being compared to LaRue Martin as the worst #1 overall pick of all-time. A note to all future #1 overall picks, you don’t ever want to be compared to LaRue Martin…and maybe, Anthony Bennett.
(Note: Bennett was picked up by his hometown Toronto Raptors.)
Winner: Matt Cassel
For a quarterback who has been statistically a mediocre NFL quarterback his entire career, the former USC backup has found a way to keep cashing those checks. With Tony Romo down for two months with a broken clavicle, it’s Cassel who’s been called in to push Brandon Weeden for the starting QB role with the Dallas Cowboys. Matt Cassel stays winning.
Loser: Kam Chancellor
Standing on principle, Kam Chancellor fought for what he believed in regarding his contract holdout with the Seattle Seahawks. Whether you agree or disagree with the Pro Bowl strong safety, the net result was nearly seven figures worth of salary lost and the defending NFC champions losing their first two games. With Chancellor’s return, can both he and the Seahawks find a way to return to their winning ways?
Winner: P.K. Subban
When you decide to donate $10 million to the Montreal Children’s Hospital and create a fund dedicated to assisting vulnerable families financially hurt by a child’s illness, you’re already a winner in our book. When you can also effectively pull off a Don Cherry impersonation? You’re elite.
Loser: Chicago Blackhawks
With three Stanley Cup titles in the past six years, the Chicago Blackhawks are the closest thing to a dynasty the NHL has seen in ages. Yet with the disturbing allegations and recent controversy that hovers over their superstar Patrick Kane, coupled with the loss of quality role players like Patrick Sharp and Brad Richards to other teams, the Blackhawks are on shaky ground going into the new season.
Winner: Yoenis Cespedes
Sometimes a change of scenery is all that’s needed to turn things around. For Cespedes, a mid-season trade to the New York Mets has turned the talented but inconsistent outfielder into a legitimate MVP candidate. Sure, Bryce Harper probably has the best case to win, but Cespedes has helped lead the Mets into divisional champs and a chance to play for the World Series. Advantage, Cespedes.
Loser: Matt Williams
When you are the leader of a team that many thought had a roster that could be the best in baseball, expectations are high. The Washington Nationals have dealt with a plethora of injuries and questionable decision-making that now has manager Matt Williams on the hottest of seats. What’s worse, is that when he tried to use his managerial authority, his players had no desire to listen. Mr. Williams, get ready to brush that resume off.
Winner: Ohio State Spin Moves
Hitting the circle button while playing the Madden NFL video game is one of the greatest feelings of all-time, if executed properly. Hitting a spin move while playing football in real life, is probably even greater. For current Ohio State Buckeys star Braxton Miller and former Buckeyes star Carlos Hyde, both executed the spin move at an elite level.
Loser: Coaches dancing after big wins
— Chad Frye (@chad_frye) September 18, 2015
A new trend in college football are coaches attempting to be cool with their millennial student athletes by doing their favorite dances. The net result, a whole bunch of fail. Kudos to the coaches for having no shame, which can be endearing to the team and help build unity. However, if you’re going to be a dancing coach, then you better be as good as this Ohio State Buckeyes’ assistant coach.
Winner: Robert Lewandowski
When you score five goals in nine minutes? You’re a winner. All hail Robert Lewandowski.
Loser: Lionel Messi
When the best soccer player in the world goes down with a tear in the internal collateral ligament of his left knee, everyone is a loser. Leo Messi, get well soon brother, we’re all rooting for you. (That is, everyone except the rest of La Liga.)
Winner: Floyd Mayweather
Floyd Mayweather (allegedly) has fought his final fight as a professional boxer as he won a decisive 12-round bout versus Andre Berto in Las Vegas. With a pristine 49-0 record and no real big fight on the table, the infamous “Money” Mayweather goes out as a world champion in five weight classes. Now, can we get any of ‘The Money Team’ apparel on discount now that he’s retired? XXL, please.
Loser: Ronda Rousey
The only rival Floyd Mayweather really has these days is Ronda Rousey, but the reason why she’s a loser is because she’s hinted at retirement in two years. On behalf of all selfish sports fans who don’t have to get grappled and punched in the face in the ring, please Ronda…don’t retire, we need more of you finishing opponents in 30 seconds while also making absurd Carl’s Jr. commercials and firing jokes back and forth with Floyd. Don’t leave, Ronda!
Eddie Maisonet is the founder and editor emeritus of The Sports Fan Journal. Currently, he serves as an associate editor for ESPN.com. He is an unabashed Russell Westbrook and Barry Switzer apologist, owns over 100 fitteds and snapbacks, and lives by Reggie Jackson’s famous quote, “I am the straw that stirs the drink.”