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Who needs a career topper?

tom jones' two cents

Tim Tebow

No matter what the former Heisman Trophy winner from Florida does in his NFL career, Tebow is always going to have those who criticize his game and question his abilities. Even as Tebow quarterbacked the Broncos to the playoffs last season and led them to a postseason victory over the Steelers, many still attempted to diminish Tebow's role in Denver's success. And now he is a Jet. Know what will shut everyone up? A trophy. Here's hoping Tebow — whether he is a quarterback, running back, tight end, hybrid or water boy — helps a team win a Super Bowl so he can have the last laugh.

LeBron James now has his championship. Who's next? Actually, a better way to phrase it is "Who needs to be next?" This season the pressure was on James to finally win an NBA title or keep the label of a guy who can't win the big one. Who is under the heat lamp now? Who are the next athletes who need to win a title?

Tiger Woods

Wait, what? Woods has won 14 majors, second all time to Jack Nicklaus' 18. So why is he on this list? He hasn't won a major since the 2008 U.S. Open. Then came the scandal that turned his life and golf game upside down. Forget about the four majors he needs to catch Nicklaus. The question is "Can Woods win even one more?" With each passing major tournament — and his win drought is 16 (he played in 12 and missed four) — the pressure builds and the doubts become stronger. He's on the list because it's like we're talking about two different Tiger Woods. There's the prescandal Woods, who was arguably the best golfer ever. And there's the postscandal Woods, who is still looking for a major win.

Mike Martin

It's difficult to criticize the job done by Martin, the 68-year-old baseball coach who has been at Florida State since 1980. He never has had a losing record in 33 seasons. He has won more than 1,700 games and has the second-highest winning percentage in NCAA history. He has taken the Seminoles to the College World Series 16 times. But — and it's a big but — he has never won it all. Martin's drought at the World Series reached 16 this week when the Seminoles came home from Omaha, Neb., once again without a trophy. Winning a College World Series is tough stuff, but his 0-for-16 streak is the first thing you think of when you think of Martin.

Tony Romo

You play one of the most high-profile positions in sports (quarterback). You play for one of the most famous team in sports (Cowboys). You've had relationships with famous women (Jessica Simpson, Carrie Underwood). You're married to a former Miss Missouri USA. Your life could be featured in Sports Illustrated, Southern Living, People and So you've got everything you could want … except a championship ring.

Danica Patrick

The 30-year-old race car driver does have a professional victory, the IndyCar Japan 300 in 2008. And let's be clear about this: Patrick is a good driver. She once finished third at the Indy 500 and finished an American-best sixth in the 2008 IndyCar standings. That takes way more than luck. These days she is driving on NASCAR's Nationwide circuit and from time to time in Sprint Cup races. To expect a rookie driver to take home a checkered flag is probably unreasonable, but there is so much focus on Patrick that she eventually needs to win, even if it's in the Nationwide series, to get the detractors off her back.

Josh Hamilton

Back-to-back losses in the World Series, including last season when the Rangers twice were one out away from winning it all, has Hamilton itching for a championship. Considering where Hamilton has come from in his life with his battles against substance abuse, anything he does in baseball from here on is icing on the cake. Still, who doesn't like lots of icing on their cake?

Alex Ovechkin

The first overall pick in the 2004 NHL draft, Ovechkin was supposed to lead the Capitals to glory. It's true that he has turned around the franchise. Ovechkin joined the worst team in the NHL and catapulted it into a solid playoff team. The Caps have made the playoffs the past five seasons, winning four division titles. But Ovechkin is known more for his playoff failures than his playoff appearances. Ovechkin's Caps are 2-4 in Game 7s, and three of those losses came at home. Even worse, his nemesis, Sidney Crosby of the Penguins, has been to two Stanley Cup finals and has won a championship.

Don Mattingly

For a brief spell, Mattingly was known for two things. One was being one of the best players in baseball. Two was being one of the rare players to spend his career with the Yankees and not appear in a World Series. "Donnie Baseball" came just after the Reggie Jackson Yankees of the late 1970s and before the Derek Jeter Yankees of the mid 1990s. Mattingly's career began in 1982 (a year after the Yankees reached the World Series) and ended in 1995 (a year before the Yankees appeared in and won a World Series). But he might get his World Series ring as a manager. His Dodgers have the best record in the National League right now.

tom jones' two cents

Who needs a career topper? 06/22/12 [Last modified: Friday, June 22, 2012 9:32pm]
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