Completing any task five consecutive times is a triumph within itself, whether it is something as mundane as taking out the trash or something as complex as decoding scripts for web programming; doing it five straight times is an impressive and note worthy feat. In the world of sports we as fans, followers and experts salivate over the idea of a team or individual putting together an multiple championship seasons on their way to becoming a dynasty however when it comes to the world of auto racing we have seemed to under-appreciate true greatness.
Jimmie Johnson has just recently completed the first ever five-peat (if you will) in NASCAR Cup Series history, in fact he now sits alone in third place on the NASCAR Cup Series all-time championship list with those five behind only Dale Earnhardt Sr. and Richard Petty (who both have seven and neither have won more than two consecutive titles). At the completion of the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup season when Johnson pulled off his fourth straight championship he was already sailing chartered waters now with his fifth he is the captain of an industry in which it appears that no other competitor even has a paddle to row.
Simply sit and reflect upon the great teams and individuals that have been able that put together five consecutive seasons of being called the best at what they do and then truly admit to yourself first that Johnson is one of the best. There won’t be many instances to ponder on, only the 1949-53 New York Yankees, the 1959-66 Boston Celtics (eight consecutive NBA titles), the 1956-60 Montreal Canadiens and Tiger Woods from 1999-2003 (PGA Player of the Year) have been able to reach the pinnacle of their respective sports at least five consecutive seasons.
The closest thing that the NFL has seen to a run like Johnson’s is Vince Lombardi’s 1965-67 Green Bay Packers, who won three consecutive NFL titles by winning the final NFL Championship Game and the initial two Super Bowls. In cycling Lance Armstrong won seven consecutive Tour De Frances (1999-2005) and in tennis Andre Federer has won two separate Grand Slam events five consecutive times (Wimbledon 2003-2007 and the U.S. Open 2004-2008) however those are just single events, major events none the less however they don’t require everything that one must put in throughout the course of entire season to achieve greatness within your sport.
These are all recognized as some of the greatest dynasties in the history of professional sports, so why not include Johnson on this list, isn’t it far over due to do so! The problem is many sports enthusiasts and their lack of respect for NSACAR. Granted it’s not a physically enduring sport such as football and not a sheer skilled sport like basketball however you must have a multitude physical endurance and a plethora of unique skills in order to race a two ton vehicle around a track at speeds up to and over 200mph 400 and 500 times in one race with others doing the same over a duration of 36 separate races. Now take into consideration again (this time for a different perspective) that Jimmie Johnson has now completed this test on five consecutive occasions. Just imagine the physical and endurance and immense skill set that JJ has when it comes to racing and isn’t that what it’s all about for him.
Johnson is a race car driver not a quarterback, not a shortstop, not a golfer or a center (of any kind accept NASCAR attention). We as pundits and fans don’t feel the need to discredit or disregard Peyton Manning because he doesn’t play another sport, neither do we do it Kobe Bryant or even Eldrick (pre-scandal of course); so why is it fair to do it to the greatest NSACAR driver of his generation and possibly of all-time (he’s still got plenty of years left in him to top Petty and Earnhardt Sr.)?
A five-time consecutive “banker of the year” would earn respect from others besides fellow financial institution employees and the same could be said about a five time consecutive “teacher of the year”; so where’s the love for JJ, why can’t he finally receive his due from everyone? I personally am far from the biggest NSACAR supporter on the planet however REAL recognizes REAL and right now JJ is looking very familiar to me. Give the man all of the credit, due, kudos and respect he deserves and has earned plus the scariest thing about him is there are no signs of him slowing down anytime soon. Respect Jimmie Johnson’s authority as the supreme dynasty currently in the world of professional sports.