11. Peyton Manning, QB, Denver Broncos – Not only did he remarkably comeback from a neck infusion and play at the best of his ability, but he picked up Offensive Player of the Year and led the Broncos to the playoffs on the way. He threw for 4,659 yards and tossed 37 touchdowns in 2012. No reason that he can’t better those numbers in 2013.
12. Michael Phelps, Olympic Swimmer – For starters, Phelps was named the the top athlete of 2012 by the Associated Press. At the 2012 London Olympics, he sealed his career as the most accomplished Olympian to ever live. Nineteen Olympic medals. I mean, wow. That says enough. This will be the last year for Phelps to be on a list such as this because, as I noted, his career is over.
13. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers – Rodgers just became the highest paid player in NFL history by signing a 5-year, $110 million contract extension. He finished the season first in the NFL in passer rating (108.0) and touchdowns per attempt. He was also second in touchdown passes (39) and third in completion percentage (67.2%). The only reason he’s not the best quarterback is because he didn’t comeback from a serious injury like Manning did.
14. Tiger Woods, Golfer – Woods is currently the top ranked golfer in the world. He won his ¬†first World Golf Championship in nearly four years at the Cadillac Championship on March 10. He still hasn’t won a Major Championship, but I’m sure one is soon to come. It’s been good to see Woods ascend back to the top after his epic decline.
15. Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots -¬†Like Rodgers, Brady recently agreed to a new contract extension as well. Brady’s was a three-year deal, which makes him a Patriot through the 2017 season. ¬†He led the Patriots to score 557 total points, which is the third-highest in NFL history. It was his fourth time he has led New England to score 500 points or more in a single season. ¬†He also became the first¬†quarterback¬†to lead his team to 10 division titles. He also picked up his seventeenth playoff win — the most in NFL history.
16. Gabby Douglas, Olympic Gymnast -¬†Douglas became a US superstar with her performance in the 2012 London Olympics. She won all-around champion and brought American a team gold medal. Douglas was the first gymnast to ever win both of those.¬†¬†She posted the best scores on both vault and balance beam and placed third and fourth in her other two events. She is, almost unanimously, the best gymnast in the world.
17. Missy Franklin, Olympic Swimmer -¬†Franklin, like Douglas, became an American icon after winning four Olympic gold medals to go along with her bronze in London. She was named World Swimmer of the Year by Swimming World Magazine,¬†over Michael Phelps. It’s fair to say that Franklin could quite possibly become the best female Olympic swimmer of all-time.
18. Novak Djokovic, Tennis - Currently the top ranked tennis player in the world, and finished 2012 that way as well. He’s won the men’s singles championship for three years in a row, including 2013. He’s already defeated Andy Murray, Tomas Berdych, John Isner, Sam Querrey, and Rafael Nadal (in straight sets). He also had a 22 match winning streak before losing to Juan Martin del Potro in March. Djokovic is the best player in the world, plus, he’s from the small nation of Serbia., which makes him that much more significant.
19. Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid, Soccer -¬†Ronaldo became the first La Liga player to score 30 or more goals in two seasons in 2012, and he’s no doubt the second best player in the world behind only Lionel Messi. 15 games with two goals or more in 2013. He also recently scored his 200th goal with Real Madrid, the sixth to reach the feat, and quickest to reach it.
20. Alex Morgan, US Women’s Soccer - Marta may¬†bet¬†he better athlete, but because Morgan is American, a gold medalist, and an up-and-comer, I opted for her. She’s arguably the best women’s soccer player in the world, and she showed why in the Olympics with an equalizing and game-winning goal in the comeback win over France.
Honorable Mentions:¬†Miguel Cabrera (CF, Detroit Tigers), Serena Williams (tennis), Carmelo Anthony (SF, New York Knicks), Kobe Bryant (SG, Los Angeles Lakers), Aly Raisman (gymnastics), Brittney Griner (C, Baylor Lady Bears)
Final tally (not including honorable mentions): 5 NFL, 3 soccer, 2 swimming, 2 NBA, 2 UFC, 1 boxing, 1 golfing, 1 gymnastics, 1 MLB, 1 tennis, 1 track and field
And there you have it. The 20 best, most accomplished athletes in the world. It’s a hard list to compile, and no two lists are ever going to be the same because you’re comparing one sport to another. I mean, it’s like comparing water (soccer) to a cherry limeade (football).
Alright, ok. I only kid. But let’s be real. Football over everything. That’s why we’ll be returning to fantasy football after rankings these top 20 athletes. Which is why I’ll need your suggestions for my blogs. Send them to my Twitter. See you all again real soon. Have a wonderful Friday!
Don’t forget to check out Part 1, which ranks the top 10 athletes in the world today.