Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Time for the Prime Time Sports NFL Awards - Part 1

Maybe I'm alone, but if one thing gets my goat in the NFL its the fact that you can start voting for the Pro Bowl ridiculously early in the season. Don't get me started on the merits of even bothering to play the game, but actually being called a Pro Bowl starter does at least add a few $'s to the pay packet for those with incentive laden contracts.

It is with that in mind and the onset of the rather dark time ahead for American football fans between the Super Bowl and the draft that I will dish out the first ever set of Prime Time Sports NFL awards.

Some categories you will recognise, but some will be new to all you NFL fans. So in no particular order, lets join M.I.A. in sticking up a middle digit to all those awards that are given out before the season even closes....

Comeback player of the year - Matthew Stafford, Quarterback, Detroit Lions

Stafford came back from 3 starts in 2010 to become a member of the 5,000 yard club. In all the hype surrounding Drew Brees breaking Dan Marino's record (5084 passing yards) and Tom Brady leading the AFC in passing, Stafford must have posted the quietest 5000 yard season in NFL history. If he stays upright Stafford will take the Lions to a conference championship within two seasons.

Most pointless comeback player of the year - Kerry Collins, Quarterback, Indianapolis Colts

When it was announced that Eli's older brother, some guy named Patton I think, was unable to play the 2011 season, some bright spark in the Colts organisation decided to coax Kerry Collins out of retirement. 39 year old Collins managed 3 games, 3 losses, completed 49% of his passes, fumbled four times (losing three) and tossed two touchdowns, including what was likely his last in an NFL uniform. Collins was a warrior who left the NFL having notched up over 40,000 career passing yards and a Super Bowl loss, but he certainly as Monty Python would say 'was not the messiah' in Indianapolis.

The 'Week 1 who the hell is he, who then ends up an All Pro by the end of the season' award - Victor Cruz, Wide Receiver, New York Giants

Trust me it's not that common that a second year player goes from 0 catches as a rookie to 82 in his second year. It's even rarer that a guy who went undrafted becomes the main focal point of an entire team defense in the Super Bowl. That's what happened to Victor Cruz, a man who managed over 1,500 yards in the air in the regular season and then led his team to a Super Bowl victory by not only scoring the opening touchdown in the big game, he drew double and even triple coverage, thus leaving his team mates as open as Madonna's diary.

Best performance in a supporting role - Jake Ballard, Tight End, New York Giants.

Yep this is an Oscar category, but I simply couldn't let the performance of Jake Ballard in the Super Bowl slip by. Ballard scored the winning touchdown when the Giants beat the Patriots in the regular season. Jake then helped his team to the Super Bowl but was one of the Giants to be struck by the injury bug in the big game. His attempt to try and run up the sideline after he had a crushing knee injury in the big dance was up there with De Niro in Taxi Driver. The sniper inside the stadium truly hit the bullseye, as Ballard crumpled in a heap to the turf. Cue the soppy speech and him thanking god, his disciples and the holy ghost.

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