It’s summertime, and that means it’s time for another SportzEdge ® Bracket-style, 64-team tournament! Feel the excitement!!!
Last year, we changed the course of modern human civilization with the Coolest NCAA Logo Tournament, which became a national phenomenon along the lines of a presidential election, Caitlyn Jenner’s ESPY speech, or DeAndre Jordan changing his mind about where he wants to play basketball.
This year, we decided to take on a question scholars have been debating since the 1800’s, maybe.
Who is the greatest athlete in Connecticut history?
There are plenty of outstanding candidates, from Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young, to four-time Boston Marathon champion Bill Rogers, to all-time great featherweight boxer Willie Pep.
The athletes we considered must have grown up in Connecticut, and we counted only their prowess on the playing field, so coaches, executives and contributors like Walter Camp were not considered.
VOTING FOR SECOND ROUND ENDS MONDAY AT 3 P.M.
JIM CALHOUN REGION
1. Brian Leetch
NHL defenseman: 1987-2006
1st Round: Defeated 16. Chris Dudley 79.07% to 20.93%
Leetch became a star athlete very early in his life. In high school, he shined in both baseball and hockey at Cheshire High School, and later, at Avon Old Farms. In college, Leetch focused solely on hockey at Boston College where he was an All-American. He was also a top-10 draft pick by the New York Rangers in 1986.
Leetch played 19 NHL seasons– 17 seasons with the New York Rangers. He won a Stanley Cup in 1994 and was the NHL Playoffs MVP in that same year. Leetch is one of 82 players with 1,000 career points. He’s a Hall of Famer and arguably the “Greatest Ranger of All-Time.”
9. Ken Strong
NFL/AFL full back: 1929-39, 1944-1947
1st Round: Defeated 8. Max Pacioretty 57.06% to 42.94%
The multi-year All-American at New York University played 14 seasons in professional football. In 131 games, Strong scored 31 touchdowns– 24 of them on the ground. He was an NFL Champion in 1934, a five-time All-Pro selection, and a part of the NFL’s 1930s All-Decade Team.
Strong is both a Pro and College Football Hall of Famer, and his No. 50 is retired by the New York Giants.