EDMONTON (CUP) — They don’t boast outstanding stats or shine under the media spotlight. It could be their face-in-the-crowd looks and blue-collar effort, but whatever their draw may be, there’s something endearing about the underrated athlete. Although the definition of an underrated athlete is subjective, here are some who are overlooked and/or under-loved in the sports world.
To be a wide receiver in the NFL these days, it takes a great deal of attention-whoring to actually get noticed for anything-not that there’s anything wrong with that. However, it greatly detracts acknowledgment from other solid players: case in point, Arizona Cardinals wideout Larry Fitzgerald. First of all, it’s one thing to have to establish yourself at a young age in the NFL. but to have to do it on one of the worst and most consistently ridiculed teams is a completely different task. Fitzgerald, in only his sophomore year in the league, certainly merited recognition, finishing 2005/06 first in receptions, fourth in receiving yards, seventh in receiving touchdowns, and earning his first Pro Bowl appearance. Not to mention he’s being thrown to by one of the biggest one-year-wonders in recent memory, Kurt Warner. Get an actual quarterback throwing to this guy, combine it with the fact that at six-foot-three, Fitzgerald has the extra height to make grabs over almost any defensive player, and watch his stock soar in the next few years. Yet, despite this, he never seems to come up in conversation with the rest of the league’s great players. Maybe when he scores a touchdown he should bust out some of those b-boy moves.
From anyone on this year’s World Series-winning Chicago White Sox squad, to every offensive lineman in any football league since the beginning of time, there are just too many athletes that never get their due. That’s why my choice doesn’t go to the most underrated athlete, but to the most underrated manager of all-time-the Canadian Football League Commissioner Tom Wright.
Despite the fact that he has less power than Paul Martin once had and is tasked with running a league that’s as together as Ron Artest’s brain, Wright has managed to drag the CFL into some sunny days. He’s overseen a growth in TV revenues to all-time highs, and lured new fans and ensured that attendance is up across the league. If that wasn’t enough, Wright just managed to push through a new, enforceable salary cap over the discontent of a few powerful clubs.
Not a bad resum