In a tradition unlike any other, I am bringing you the NFL’s mid-season awards.
Relative to other sports, football is the shortest of the pro variety. However, the day in and day out analysis, breakdown, and over-hyping of the 16-week season is quite arduous. In addition, after about 8, 9, 10 games, it almost seems as if it has been ages since the start.
That’s why NFL analysts across the sports landscape find themselves giving out mid-season awards, because the latter half of the season can breed something quite different from the former. So why not award the players who have done this well, thus far.
Surprisingly Bad Team: St. Louis Rams – Maybe it is just me, but I thought the Rams were definitely headed in the right direct this past off-season. Last year, they got off to that tremendous start, but injuries and poor play quickly derailed them and Seattle was able to come back and win the division. I thought going into this season that the new commitment to Stephen Jackson would lead them to an NFC West Division Championship, but early injuries to Orlando Pace, Stephen Jackson, Marc Bulger, and an off-season knee surgery to Tory Holt have the Rams winless through the first 8 weeks of the season.
Surprisingly Good Team: Green Bay Packers – Some people might say the Detroit Lions, but I had already assumed they would be good this year. The Packers, however, is a whole other story. I thought they would be good, but 6-1 in their first seven games? Wow! I certainly did not see that coming, especially with the lost of Ahman Green and no apparent playmaker on offense for Favre to go to other than Donald Driver. However, Favre has this team rolling, and the defense is very solid with Charles Woodson and Al Harris leading the way at the cornerback positions.
Best Rookie: Adrian Peterson – It’s not even close. After 8 weeks, AP led the league in rushing yards and yards from scrimmage. Immediately following his freshman season at Oklahoma, I knew he was going to be special. And on draft day, I predicted that he would be the second best back in the league within his first 3 years. Well, he looks as if he is already battling Stephen Jackson, LaDainian Tomlinson, and Larry Johnson for the first position in only his rookie season, and if he continues to play at his current rate, the proof will be in the pudding.
Worst Coach: Eric Mangini – He is supposed to be the all-great descendent of Bill Belichick, and in his first season, that’s what he looked like. However, in his second season with the New York Jets, and with virtually the same players plus Running Back Thomas Jones, the team is performing much worse. The only team they beat in the first 8 weeks was the Miami Dolphins, and they are winless. I did not think the Jets record would improve upon their 10 wins last year, but 1-7? That’s disappointing.
Best Coach: Tom Coughlin – The New York Giants were left for dead after starting the season 0-2. However, Coughlin quickly turned the team around with a stunning set of half-time adjustments to come back and beat the Skins in Week 3 to salvage their season. Since then, they won their next five games, finished Week 8 with a 6-2 record, and are well on their way to the NFC Playoffs.
Most Valuable Player (MVP): Randy Moss – Some people want to call Tom Brady the MVP, but is he really playing any differently than he has in the past? The real difference in Brady’s game is not even Brady himself, it is Randy Moss. Not only is out running corners, catching the ball in double and triple teams and jumping over every body who gets in his way, but he is also opening up the field for both the running and passing game, thereby making everyone better. Thus, Randy’s making himself most valuable and the best player in the league through the first half of the season.