Against the backdrop of celebrations marking Michael Schumacher’s 50th birthday on Thursday, the medical condition of Formula One’s most successful driver remains just as fiercely guarded by his close family.More than five years after a near-fatal brain injury in a skiing accident, the seven-time F1 champion continues to be cared for in total secrecy at home in the quiet Swiss town of Gland on the shores of Lake Geneva. He has been there since being transferred from a hospital in September 2014.”You can be sure that he is in the very best of hands and that we are doing everything humanly possible to help him,” Schumacher’s family said in a rare statement Wednesday. “Please understand if we are following Michael’s wishes and keeping such a sensitive subject as health, as it has always been, in privacy.”It was while skiing with his teenage son Mick in the French Alps at Meribel that Schumacher fell on December 29, 2013. He hit the right side of his head on a rock, splitting open his helmet. Doctors at Grenoble hospital removed blood clots, but others were left untouched because too deeply embedded in his brain.With unsourced stories abounding, updates on his condition went from scarce to non-existent as his family closed ranks around him . But the family understands the level of devotion toward Schumacher from his legions of fans.Happy Birthday, #MichaelSchumacher – You are a hero and I wish you all the best on this special day! pic.twitter.com/WEOTYe6T0wadvertisementLothar Matthäus (@LMatthaeus10) January 3, 2019Coinciding with his birthday, the family released the Official Michael Schumacher App offering a virtual museum tour of his greatest achievements.”The app is another milestone in our effort to do justice to him and you, his fans, by celebrating his accomplishments,” the statement said.Many of those accomplishments were with Ferrari, where the German driving ace won five titles. The Italian manufacturer is honoring his 50th with a special museum exhibition of his achievements at its Maranello headquarters in northern Italy.Today we join the sporting world in sending our best wishes to Michael Schumacher on his 50th birthday. Laureus World Sports Awards winner and legend #KeepFightingMichael pic.twitter.com/6pz0oTAc5iLaureus (@LaureusSport) January 3, 2019His stature is Ferrari folklore is immense, while his impact on F1 is unparalleled with perhaps the exception of the late Brazilian great Ayrton Senna.Our champ turns 50 today. We’re all with you Michael #KeepFighting pic.twitter.com/hN4n8Br1apScuderia Ferrari (@ScuderiaFerrari) January 3, 2019Wishing a Happy 50th Birthday to the one and only Michael Schumacher.#KeepFightingMichael pic.twitter.com/uPX0iJDcKeWILLIAMS RACING (@WilliamsRacing) January 3, 2019Schumacher’s winners’ aura was perhaps unfairly viewed from the outside as cold and distant, when in essence he was incredibly appreciative of those he worked closely with. In 2000, he delivered Ferrari from years of frustration with a first world title since Jody Scheckter in 1979.All of us at McLaren are sending our best wishes to Michael @Schumacher and his friends and family as he celebrates his 50th birthday today. #KeepFightingMichael #Michael50 pic.twitter.com/K47xMQy1A3McLaren (@McLarenF1) January 3, 2019We join the whole of the #F1 family in sending Michael @Schumacher our very best wishes on his 50th birthday#KeepFightingMichael #Michael50 pic.twitter.com/jrewTNipSbFormula 1 (@F1) January 3, 2019Happy birthday champ. Wishing you the very best on your 50th. #KeepFightingMichael #Michael50 pic.twitter.com/7J4c4OZLm9Renault Sport F1 (@RenaultSportF1) January 3, 201950 years ago, a star was born. A star who shaped and changed @F1 forever. Who broke records, redefined excellence and helped lay the foundations for our future success.We’d like to send our very best wishes to Michael @Schumacher on his 50th birthday. #KeepFighting #Michael50 pic.twitter.com/247WKprWCDMercedes-AMG F1 (@MercedesAMGF1) January 3, 2019Happy 50th birthday, Goat!Stay strong and keep fighting!! pic.twitter.com/kHI3micbGhNico Hülkenberg (@HulkHulkenberg) January 3, 2019At the time, Schumacher spoke about the emotions he felt as the team celebrated wildly around him.”Those faces. Bright eyes everywhere and everyone cheering,” Schumacher said in recognition. “I would have loved to hug and kiss each and every one of them.”Schumacher won the next four F1 titles – even securing the 2002 title an astonishing six races before the end – on his way to a record 91 GP wins. His speed, consistency and work ethic were all unmatched.”He was winning races sometimes he shouldn’t have won,” said F1’s managing director Ross Brawn, who worked with Schumacher on all seven F1 titles. “He just had a majesty about him in that period.”advertisementDuring Schumacher’s glory years, F1 even rivalled soccer as the No. 1 sport in Italy – quite an achievement. Memorabilia from those halcyon days, including cars and race-worn helmets, has been on display in the German city of Cologne at The Michael Schumacher Private Collection since June of last year.”Michael can be proud of what he has achieved, and so are we,” his family’s statement said. “We want to remember and celebrate his victories, his records and his jubilation.”Schumacher has not been seen in public since his accident.Brawn and Jean Todt – the head of motorsport’s governing body FIA – are very close friends and have visited him at his Swiss home. Brawn reiterated the need for Schumacher to be shielded from the media spotlight.”I am constantly in touch with (Schumacher’s wife) Corinna and I totally agree with their decision,” Brawn said. “Michael has always been a very private person.”The exhibitions in Cologne and Maranello are initiatives of the Keep Fighting Foundation, launched by Schumacher’s family and of which Brawn and Todt are trustees.RISING STARIt was then-Ferrari general manager Todt who persuaded Schumacher to join him there after world titles with Benetton in 1994 and 1995, where he had developed a dazzlingly successful rapport with Brawn.Todt rarely speaks publicly about Schumacher, out of respect, but revealed he watched the Brazilian GP with Schumacher at his Switzerland home in November.Brawn spotted the young Schumacher’s brazen talent during the World Sportscar Championship.”He was doing lap times on less fuel than the others, and beating them by a mile,” Brawn said, underling how even then Schumacher was “clearly incredibly quick.”They started working together at Benetton in 1991. A year later, Schumacher won his first F1 race at the Belgian GP and his astonishing career took off.”In ’94 when he won the first championship he was incredible,” Brawn said.Given his age and lack of experience at the time, Schumacher’s breakthrough Benetton days were arguably equal to his stellar time with Ferrari.”It’s difficult to define a peak,” Brawn told F1’s official podcast.HAMILTON CLOSING INFive-time F1 champion Lewis Hamilton has Schumacher’s records within his sights, and age relatively on his side.Given that the British driver is contracted with Mercedes for at least this season and next, he has a strong chance of equaling Schumacher’s seven titles and number of race wins.The 33-year-old Hamilton has won 73 races – 18 behind but with a slightly higher win ratio than Schumacher had.Hamilton, arguably F1’s greatest ever talent in qualifying, has eclipsed Schumacher’s record for pole positions: 83-68.They are level for most podiums in a season with 17. But Schumacher leads him in terms of consecutive podiums finishes overall 19-16, as well as fastest laps with a staggering 77-41.Schumacher also holds the F1 record for most wins at a single race: eight at the French GP.RISING SONHaving raced against Schumacher in F1 and then replaced him at Mercedes, Hamilton could well end up driving against Schumacher’s son.advertisementAll eyes will be on Mick Schumacher this year as he competes in F2 with the Prema Racing team.The 19-year-old Schumacher won last year’s F3 championship in style with eight wins and seven pole positions.It was another racing title for the Schumacher family, and maybe not the last.If Schumacher wins the F2 championship in 2019 then he, like other drivers such as Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, could well be fast-tracked into F1.
Photo Attribution: Corie BrianneI’m not entirely sure how you go from “Heisman front-runner” to “possibly not even in the top ten” in the span of 17 days, but those who vote on such things have managed to do it to Brandon Weeden and the 693 yards + 3 TD he put up over that period.There are a few Heisman blogs heavy in the prediction business this time of year, and they all have Robert Griffin winning the Heisman. One blog, specifically, does a great job aggregating real votes by real voters to give a snapshot of what the overall picture is going to look like. Kind of like what Fox News does with the presidential race except, you know, accurate.Here’s how it stands as of this post (with 122 of the 600+ ballots collected):Griffin – 268 pointsLuck – 132 pointsRichardson – 100 pointsBall – 47 pointsHoney Badger – 44 pointsBarkley – 17 pointsMoore – 4 pointsWilson – 5 pointsLaMichael – 2 pointsWeeden – 4 pointsKeenum – 2 pointsKlein – 1 pointI bet you’re interested to know where those 4 Weeden points came from. Fittingly, they came from probably the only three voters in the country who watched the Baylor-OSU game.Bob Barry Jr. – 1st – Griffin | 2nd – Weeden | 3rd – LuckJenni Carlson – 1st – Luck | 2nd – Richardson | 3rd – WeedenJohn Helsley – 1st – Luck | 2nd – Honey Badger | 3rd – WeedenI don’t agree with Luck over Weeden, or Luck over Griffin or Barkley for that matter, but just remember these three as some of the only people in the country backing our guy before the next time you say everybody at the Oklahoman is “just in love with OU all the time.”If you’re looking for the comments section, it has moved to our forum, The Chamber. You can go there to comment and holler about these articles, specifically in these threads. You can register for a free account right here and will need one to comment.If you’re wondering why we decided to do this, we wrote about that here. Thank you and cheers!