Bragging Rights: The Romeros

Mannings, Williams, Millers...Romeros?

Mannings, Williams, Millers...Romeros?

The Manning brothers revolutionized the quarterback position.The Williams sisters put women's tennis on the map.The Miller siblings dominated the sport of b

Apr 25, 2016 by Sarah Hoffman
Mannings, Williams, Millers...Romeros?
The Manning brothers revolutionized the quarterback position.
The Williams sisters put women's tennis on the map.
The Miller siblings dominated the sport of basketball.

But the sports world has never seen a sibling pair like the Romeros.


The Mannings vs. The Romeros

When you hear “brother quarterbacks,” the Mannings immediately come to mind. Similarly, when you hear “sister infielders,” your first thought should be the Romeros.

The Mannings’ and Romeros’ dominance in their respective fields is remarkably comparable. The elder Manning is a two-time Super Bowl champion, five-time MVP, seven-time NFL First Team All-Pro, and 14-time Pro Bowl selection. In his four years as a Tennessee Volunteer, Peyton was named SEC Freshman of the Year, two-time All-American, and SEC Player of the year and ESPY’s Best College Football Player as a senior. He was also selected first overall in the 1998 draft.

Sierra, the elder Romero, boasts a similar laundry list of awards: Big Ten Freshman of the Year, Big Ten Player of the Year as a sophomore, and soon-to-be four-time All-American at Michigan. In addition, Sierra has twice been a top-three finalist for USA Softball’s Collegiate Player of the Year, and will go down in history as one of the greatest to ever don the Maize and Blue. Most recently, she was selected second overall in the 2016 National Pro Fastpitch draft.

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Eli Manning, like his older brother, is a two-time Super Bowl champ and MVP. Also like Peyton, Eli was drafted first overall in the NFL draft. At Ole Miss, he was a two-time All-American and gathered prestigious accolades like the Maxwell Award (which honors the nation's top player), the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award (designated for the nation’s top quarterback), and SEC Player of the Year — twice.

nullSydney Romero, a freshman at Oklahoma, is off to a good start. She’s batting .365 with 23 RBIs and has only struck out four times the entire season. Widely regarded as one of the best freshmen of 2016, Sydney is in the running for the NCAA Freshman of the Year. The younger Romero actually boasts better high school stats than her legendary sister, having eclipsed Sierra’s high school marks in batting average, on base percentage, and hits. She won two national championships in her club ball career, and was named FloSoftball’s Hot 100 No. 3 player in the class of 2015.

Some say that if the Mannings played in matching uniforms, it would be difficult to tell them apart; the same can be said of the Romero sisters.

nullBut if you look closely, you’ll notice their personalities set them apart. The elder Manning and Romero siblings bring an intensity and fierceness to their games, while the younger brother and sister carry a cool and lighter demeanor onto the field.

The Mannings have faced off against each other enough for their competitive meetings to be dubbed “The Manning Bowls,” in which Peyton notched a perfect 3-0 against Eli. Although NFL fans got to enjoy several on-field Manning duels, collegiate softball fans likely won’t see another Romero matchup.

Unless Michigan and Oklahoma square off against each other in the postseason, Sierra and Sydney will have met only once in their collegiate careers at this year’s Mary Nutter tournament, where Sierra’s Wolverines bested Sydney’s Sooners 16-9.

One thing is clear: The Romero sisters— the only siblings to ever play on Team USA together— carry the kind of weight on the diamond that the Manning brothers carried on the gridiron.

Watch Sierra and Sydney face off in what could be the only time they play each other

The Williams vs. The Romeros

Sure, there was Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova, and Steffi Graf and Martina Hingis, but no one put women’s tennis in the limelight quite like Venus and Serena Williams. Though younger sister Serena boasts a more successful career, both women have cemented their legacies as two of the best female tennis players ever with their multiple grand slam titles, Olympic gold medals, and long-time No. 1 rankings.

nullBut what’s more impressive than their illustrious careers is how the sisters managed to bring attention to women’s tennis in a male-dominated sports world. They’ve both earned eight figures in career prize money, secured multiple endorsements, created their own fashion lines, and have consistently grabbed headlines from media that overwhelmingly favor male athletes.

What the Williams sisters did for women’s tennis, the Romero sisters can do for softball.
The Williams sisters won because they were great tennis players, but they became the faces of their sport because they embraced their image. In turn, the tennis governing bodies recognized and promoted their athletic prowess, superstar potential and marketability. Already stars at the collegiate level, the Romeros are more than able to follow their lead.

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Let’s be honest: Softball has failed to do what women’s tennis—and even more successfully, women’s soccer—has done for its female athletes. Softball needs to do more to promote its athletes, and it should start by making the Romeros the faces of the game. If softball is reinstated into the 2020 Olympics, there’s a good chance we’ll see both Romeros on the team—they’re that great. Like the Williams sisters, featuring the Romeros would not only propel individual athletes into the limelight, but also begin to launch softball into a new dimension of popularity.

Let’s take a page out of tennis’ book, shall we?

The Millers vs. The Romeros

Both Hall-of-Famers with prestigious collegiate and post-collegiate careers, Cheryl and Reggie Miller were professional basketball’s first brother-sister combo.

Their sibling rivalry began on the playground. It’s widely understood that, in the beginning, Cheryl routinely beat her younger brother one-on-one. But after Reggie got tall enough to block his sister’s shots, they stopped playing together. To this day, these stories continue to spark debates on who the better basketball player was.

nullThose conversations sounds eerily similar to the ones being had about the Romero sisters right now. Much like Cheryl, Sierra blazed her own trail to greatness. And Sydney, much like Reggie, is the younger sibling striving to outdo the older one. Sierra even admits in our documentary about the sisters that, “I hate to admit it, but part of me thinks she [Sydney] will do it [leave her mark] better.”

Arguments can made for the elders being better than their younger siblings and vice-versa, but these pairs give the sports community more than a debate on whose career was, or will be, the greatest. They also provide us a glimpse into the competitive relationships and strong bonds that only great sibling athletes can share.