Tom Brady moves up to top spot
Let's just sum up what every NFL fan is thinking right now: "Really, Tom Brady?" As if the Super Bowl rings and supermodel wife weren't enough, the Patriots QB has now thrown for 940 combined yards in two games -- second most in league history over a two-game span.
Brady's three-TD day against the Chargers narrowly edged Justin Verlander's 11th and 12th consecutive victories and -- wait -- is that "Enter Sandman" playing in the background? Mariano Rivera earned third billing in this week's list when he became baseball's all-time saves leader.
So, who did our panel miss? Are you OK with Brady being No. 1? For better suggestions (or really nice compliments), sound off in the comments section below!
2010-11 Power Rankings: Week 72
|Brady's 423 yards against the Chargers propelled him past Jim Kelly on the NFL's all-time passing yards list. And yet he refuses to acknowledge that his QB skills are, you know, above average. When asked about his 400-plus yards over the first two games, he stressed complementary football and how tough Buffalo will be next weekend. Come on, admit it ... we are not worthy.|
|Verlander has frequented the Cross-Sport Power Rankings all summer. Do you even need to hear any more of his ridiculous stats? OK, just one more: With his 24th win and 244th strikeout, Verlander became the first AL pitcher since Ron Guidry in 1978 to top 24 wins and 240 K's in a season. Now that the Tigers have clinched their first division title since 1987, expect to see Verlander in this space all through autumn, too.|
|After his record-setting 602nd career save, Mariano Rivera offered nary a fist pump. He shook hands with his teammates and grinned through a standing ovation from the home crowd before walking, head bowed, off the field. That modesty makes it easy to overlook him for rankings like this, and yet it's also part of the reason he's here. Staying classy and making history, that's just what all-time saves leaders do.|
|Newton set a handful of rookie records with his second-straight 400-plus-yard performance on Sunday. At this pace, he will throw for 6,832 yards this season while the Panthers go 0-16. Still, watching Newton lose beats watching Jimmy Clausen do just about anything, right? And who really thought we'd be talking about Cam Newton this fall the way we talked about him last fall?|
|South Carolina beat Navy at its own game -- i.e. running the ball relentlessly -- and Lattimore did most of the damage with his career-high 246 rushing yards and three TDs. The sophomore is now averaging 178 yards per game for the unbeaten No. 12 Gamecocks. Who says Steve Spurrier's teams can't run?|
|Pandas are notoriously lazy (nothing personal, pandas, but it's true). So you might expect the same from San Francisco's own Kung-Fu Panda, Sandoval, with the Giants' postseason hopes dwindling. Instead, Sandoval got busy in a very un-panda-like way this week, hitting for the cycle Thursday before clubbing two home runs Sunday in the same inning.|
|Maybe you want to think twice before giving Mayweather a hug. Former welterweight champ Victor Ortiz seemed only to want to embrace Mayweather in the fourth round of their title fight Saturday, only to have "Money" knock him out with a vicious combo. Pretty Boy's record moves to a sterling 42-0, but the win will go down as his most controversial. You know what they say ... Mo' money, mo' problems.|
|What a difference a week makes. After going 5-for-12 with two turnovers in last week's fourth-quarter Cowboys meltdown, Tony Romo led a fourth-quarter comeback in an OT win over the 49ers. He finished the game 20-for-33 with 345 yards (and no turnovers). Oh and, minor detail, he played a good chunk of the game with a fractured rib and punctured lung. Yikes.|
|We think Stewart's crew chief Darian Grubb spoke for everyone affiliated with the No. 14 car when he said, "Boy, does champagne feel good right now." After a winless regular season, and a lot of frustrated Tony Stewart postrace interviews, Smoke found Victory Lane at Chicagoland. He jumps from ninth to second in the Chase standings and hopes the momentum carries into this weekend's race at New Hampshire.|
|On a day made for NFL headlines, 16-year-old LPGA golfer Lexi Thompson stole the show. Her 5-shot win in the Navistar LPGA Classic makes Thompson the youngest LPGA tournament winner in history. The other record she might set this week? Most Twitter thank-yous per hour. Ah, to be young again.|
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CROSS-SPORT POWER RANKINGS 2011
Cross-Sport Power Rankings compares the best athletes across all professional sports. Check out the rest of our individual sport power rankings.