I don't write about sports nearly as often as I should. So without further ado, here are the Bill Simmons inspired Too Early For Midseason Midseason NFL Awards:
The award for best player, QB, and overall human being: Aaron Rodgers. I could have sworn the large statue of Jesus at my local church had been replaced with an effigy of Rodgers. The man is simply unstoppable. He's on pace for well over 5000 yards passing, and his QB rating of 117 last game was his worst of the season. I know we all suffer from very short-term memory syndrome when it comes to sports, but Rodgers is well on the way to having one of the best seasons in NFL history.
Here are some others that come to mind:
LT's record breaking season. This is one is the standard. You just knew that LT was going to pop off every single game. And he did. Between 2004-2009, LT ruined Fantasy Football for me. I play in a two-player keeper league, and LT was on my buddy Dan's team throughout that whole stretch. In that span, Dan played in three championships, won two of them, and still holds most of our league's scoring records.
Tom Brady's 2007 season. Aka the F-U season. The Pats (Bill Belicheck) were determined to literally set the league on fire by absolutely annihilating every team in it's path. The slaughter's apex took place in a game against the Redskins. Without doing a Google search, I think the Pats dropped a fifty-burger on the 'Skins. Oh yeah, Brady set the modern day single-season touchdown record en route to his first MVP award.
And that's pretty much it. If Rodgers keeps his pace, I guaran-damn-tee that no one talks about those other seasons ever again.
The award for the player I'd consider giving 1/3 of my liver to if he could just stay consistent and win a damn game: Mike Vick. I love me some Mike Vick. I used to pretend I was Mike Vick as I practiced throwing and running in my basement...when I was 24. We've never, ever witnessed someone with as much athletic gifts as him.
So why can't he get over the hump? Vick seems to only succeed when no one thinks he will. When everyone and their dog (bad analogy) thinks he's going to play like the best quarterback on the planet, he stinks it up. I think it has more to do with Andy Reid. I love the big guy. I really do. But the last play before the half of yesterday's game was eerily reminiscent of almost every McNabb game of the last 9 years. If the Eagles fall to 1-5, Reid will be taking over for Jon Gruden on MNF by the start of next season.
The award for the team that has absolutely no reason to be good, they're good: The Seattle Seahawks. I don't know how this happened. In a previous conversation with someone, I said with conviction that the 'hawks might set the bar for the worst NFL franchise ever assembled. Check out it's opening day roster for Pete (Carroll's) sake:
Quarterback: Tavaris "TJ" Jackson. I would say the biggest write-off at the QB position since Jesse Palmer.
Running Back: Marshawn Lynch. He flatout refused to play in Buffalo, and had an attitude worse than Allen Iverson's during two-a-day practices.
Receivers: Sidney Rice. Hadn't had a relevant snap in almost a year and a half. Golden Tate. Should change his name to "Rusted Tin" Tate.
And you get the idea. A horribly rounded team...that's now 3-2 after knocking off a damn good Giants team. Keep your eye(s) on this one. They're good.
The award for the best team no one's talking about: The San Francisco 49ers. At 4-1, they might as well be 1-4, because no one, I MEAN NO ONE, is talking about this squad. I think it's due mostly because of the inflated yet warranted expectations given to them like the Scarlett Letter each season. They were supposed to be this good since '07. It looks like Alex Smith finally gets it. It seems like Frank Gore has never been in worse shape, yet is having the best start in his career. Mike Crabtree is horrible. Braylon Edwards is even worse. I just don't get it. I figured this team would have regressed, finally release Smith, and become full fledged members of the Suck For Luck campaign. Now, they're easily going to win the division, get a a first round bye, and get stomped by the Pack in the NFC championship. It'll be like the 1990's all over again.
The award for the player who'll be banned for the first 4 games next season because of HGH: Fred Jackson. No, I'm sorry, there's absolutely no rhyme or reason to Jackson's performance thus far. I haven't seen a running back hit the holes this hard since Emmit Smith. He seems to rip seven yards every clip. And he's 30 fricken years old. I think the key to his success is his maturity and his relatively fresh legs. He's only been playing in the NFL for five seasons. He's old enough to know what to do, and more importantly, what not to do. Think about it. If you could re-do most things in your early 20s (the age of most NFL starting running backs) with the mind set of a 30-year old, I'm sure a lot of things would work out better for you, including the calibre of your play.
The award for a friendship gone awry: Curtis Painter and Dallas Clark. I'd like to think of myself as somewhat of a Fantasy Football guru. It took me some years and some bad draft picks to get there, but I can honesty say I know my stuff. In a two-player keeper league, the first round is the least important. The draft and season are won in rounds 3-5, and maybe 6. This year, I took Colts tight end Dallas Clark with my first pick. Drafting a tight end in the first round is viewed in some circles as blasphemy. But, if you can get a player who delivers high value in a position that usually offers everything but, I say you go for it.
So far, with Clarks' combined point total of 11, the pick is looking like a mitigated disaster. But, I'm still in first place.
I like happy teams. Teams that get along both on and off the field. I just get the feeling the Painter and DC don't like each other. Hell, I wouldn't like Painter if I was Clark either. He looks like the thin version of the Pillsbury Dough Boy.
The award for a reinforced vertebrae goes to Peyton Manning. Things just aren't the same without him.