by Robert Ferringo - 01/04/2006
Well boys and girls, it's once again the time of year for every self-important know-it-all sportswriter and/or TV bobble head to start spewing nonsense about his or her choices for the National Football League's postseason awards. Since I aspire to be a know-it-all and/or bobble head, I guess that means that I have to throw out my inconsequential theories about who should win what. But for being such good sports, you'll be treated to some of my own "special" awards:
Most Valuable Player:
Yes, the touchdown record is getting watered down in a way similar to baseball's home run record. However, Shaun Alexander ran for nearly 1,900 and 28 touchdowns on the NFC's best team, so he deserves the MVP. I would have gone with Manning, but he hasn't played since Thanksgiving. And all the talk about Brady is just ridiculous (see: Ferringo Report on Week 16).
Coach of the Year:
Chicago has gone from 80-to-1 odds to win the Super Bowl to 8-to-1 odds, and it was all Lovie Smith. Lovie deftly handled the Grossman-Hutchinson-Orton-Grossman quarterback carousel without the team or the fans forming an angry mob. Smith also dealt with Cedric Benson's holdout, he released Doug Brien and signed a no-name rookie kicker, and he quelled any team dissension after his Pro Bowl center broke the jaw of his starting right tackle at a party with a bunch of FBI agents. I mean, this was as much turmoil as any team in the league, but Lovie pushed all the right buttons and has led an afterthought team to within two games of the Super Bowl.
Offensive Player of the Year:
It's going to go to Alexander, but my vote would go to Larry Johnson. He finished third in the NFL in rushing, and he didn't even start until Week 9. As I mentioned early this week, he was on pace for 2,400 yards and 34 TD's. That's ridiculous.
Defensive Player of the Year:
I hope that after Brian Urlacher snags this award, he leads the other 10 Bears defensive starters over to The Sporting News, and they burn the place to the ground and have a barbeque with its ashes. It was TSN that suggested Urlacher was the most overrated player in the NFL just two seasons ago. Now he's only the linchpin for what may end up being one of the best defenses of the last 30 years.
Offensive Rookie of the Year:
Tampa Bay's Cadillac Williams won the award, and it's tough to argue with.
Defensive Rookie of the Year:
If I were going to bet on it, I would wager on Shawn Merriman. He won the award with one good game against the Colts. Well, I shouldn't say he only had one good game all year, but I will say he that was one-dimensional (10 sacks but only 57 tackles) and may not have been the best player on the Chargers' D. I believe the award should go to Cincinnati's Odell Thurman, who was the only Bengal that actually hit anyone all year. Also, Thurman's numbers were more impressive (98 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 5 interceptions, 1 fumble recover, 1 touchdown).
The Larry Brown-Scott Mitchell "Did we really think this was a huge free agent signing?" Award:
Remember when the Derrick Mason signing was supposed to cure all that ailed the Baltimore offense? Not so much. He signed a five-year, $20 million deal with a $7 million signing bonus, but only managed three touchdowns and zero catches for more than 40 yards. L.J. Shelton and Derrick Blaylock were close competition here, but no one thought that adding them would propel their team to a Super Bowl run.
Worst Coaching Maneuver:
Mike Tice scalping his Super Bowl tickets back in February. That's as close as he's ever going to get to the Big Game.
Best TD Celebration:
Chad Johnson's 2005 may go down in history as the Greatest Single-Season of TD Celebrations ever. He's up there with Billy "White Shoes" Johnson in 1977 and Deion Sanders from 1991-94. However, I thought the best individual celebration this year was Hines Ward breaking out the Ickey Shuffle on Cincinnati. Not only a classic, retro move, but also the one time this season where someone on the same field as Johnson upstaged him.
Jason Voorhees Award (given annually to the player that murders the most fantasy football teams):
In a landslide, this award goes to Dante Culpepper, who backed up my long-running theory that he sucks. Culpepper is now averaging around 230 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT in games without Randy Moss, and he may have lost his job to Brad Johnson. Tough year.
Drew Bledsoe made a strong case for this one (Pro Bowl numbers but a propensity to make crippling plays that blow key games) but the winner has to be the Arizona Cardinals. I mean, who thought that Denny Green + Kurt Warner + no offensive line + no defense + The Bidwell Family + playing in a college stadium = playoffs? Actually, about 85 percent of the mainstream (ESPN) media, that's who.
Hottest Off-Field Lesbian Action:
The Culpepper-led Vikings made a strong push in this category on the Love Boat, but the award has to go to Renee Thomas and Angela Keathley. The much-ballyhooed Carolina cheerleaders got down and dirty in a dank bathroom stall at some hole-in-the-wall Tampa bar. What's hotter than that?
Worst Gambling Moment:
We all have our horror stories, but mine would be Cadillac Williams' 71-yard touchdown run against Minnesota in Week 1. The Vikings were down 17-13 with a minute to play before that happened, blowing two teasers and an eliminator pool for me. Not the way I wanted to start the season.
Best Gambling Moment:
I owe Ryan Fitzpatrick a steak dinner. He led St. Louis from about 84 points down with just over a minute left in regulation before earning an overtime win against Houston. That not only won my straight bet, but two other three-team parlays as well.
This one was tough, but my winner is Hurricane Katrina. Katrina came out of nowhere to cripple an entire franchise, help the Giants make the playoffs, and crush the hopes and dreams of millions of people in the Gulf Coast region. That's tough to top.
Questions or comments for Robert? E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out his Insider Page here.
The views expressed in this article are not necessarily those of Doc's football picks service.