Question of the day: Who is the coolest athlete currently playing sports today?
Writers from around Tribune Co. weigh in on the topic. Check back throughout the day for more responses and feel free to leave a comment of your own.
Dom Amore, Hartford Courant
The coolest athlete playing today? Peyton Manning.
In a sport where trash-talking went over the top years ago and keeps on going, Manning has mastered the art of being open without being obnoxious. He does a ton of commercials, but has anyone ever said, hey, enough already? No, because they’re fun to watch. He has charisma, and he seems like a natural when you’re watching those commercials.
Peyton also knows how to make fun of himself. And in a league where 'I' is fast replacing ‘we,’ especially among those who play football’s most demanding position, he still gets it, the team thing.
Could you imagine a cooler big brother? And while you’re imagining, Peyton Manning would be a great guy to have a beer with. Seems like he’d enjoy meeting you, and there would be a few laughs.
And, of course, he is pretty cool as a QB and leader, too.
Teddy Greenstein, Chicago Tribune
The only way I can get away with picking an old white guy is to grade on a curve.
Really, how can golf’s Fred Couples compete with the likes of: David Beckham, who almost makes scarves look manly; Tom Brady, with his modified-Fabio hair and whiplash-hot wife; Rafael Nadal, who sports a silky name and tanned guns; and Dwyane Wade, who inspired Jay Z’s, “If Jeezy is payin’ LeBron, I’m payin’ Dwayne Wade”?
Couples has a mailman’s first name and is musically associated with Hootie & The Blowfish. But still … everything about his swing and look is smooth and effortless. He’s too cool to wear a golf glove –- or socks. The black-and-orange kicks he used at Augusta National last year were the talk of the Masters.
And if you ask him about being cool, he’ll probably shrug. Like all cool guys do.
NOTE: There’s a debate about whether the Jay-Z lyric is “Jeezy” or “Jesus.” My money’s on “Jeezy” …
[Updated at 10:35 a.m.
Barry Stavro, Los Angeles Times
An easy pick: Derek Jeter.
Sustained grace and excellence — on and off the diamond — for 16 seasons, dating back to the first term of the Clinton administration.
Along the way he’s picked up five championships, 11 All-Star appearances, a World Series most valuable player, five Gold Gloves, has a Hall of Fame spot awaiting, and has done all this without any hint of being juiced. In a TMZ-era he’s avoided public spats with his managers, has broad respect from his peers, and a list of memorable plays — think of his shovel throw from the on-deck circle against the A’s in the playoffs — plus an eye for stylish clothes.
Jeter has also pulled off the rarest feat in pro sports: he plays hard every night.]
Photo: Peyton Manning. Credit: Kirby Lee / US Presswire.