Now it’s time for me to present the midseason awards. I am sure every player has been anxiously waiting to see if they end up on my list and where.
OFFENSIVE PLAYER: Peyton Manning, QB, Indianapolis Colts
I know there will be a lot of grousing and second guessing from my distinguished fellow football fans on this one. I’ve already heard carping about my picking Manning over Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints, as Offensive Player of the Year on my Midseason All Pro Team. But really, you could flip a coin between the two for this award. They are both having great seasons.
My main reason for choosing Manning is I think he has had a slightly better season and has lead a slightly less talented team than the Saints to a 6-0 record. Brees has chunked up some interceptions and almost lost against the Dolphins. While Manning struggled a bit against the 49’ers last week, his game against Miami scoring 27 points with less than 15 minutes of possession left me a little mesmerized.
Drew Brees and Chris Johnson were in the running.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER: Jared Allen, DE, Minnesota Vikings
Right now Jared Allen is the best defensive player in the league and is absolutely a beast. He’s almost unblockable one-on-one and sometimes even when he is double or tripled teamed. He has a motor that never stops and he never quits on a play. He has owned Green Bay this year as much as Brett Favre has.
Other players in the running included Darren Sharper, FS, New Orleans Saints who leads the league in interceptions on a much improved Saints offense.
Elvis Dumervil, OLB, Denver Broncos leads the AFC in sacks with 10 and has been a key reason, along with SS Brian Dawkins, for Denver’s turnaround on defense.
OFFENSIVE ROOKIE: Mark Sanchez, QB, New York Jets
While he walks, talks, acts, and plays like a rookie at times, Sanchez has had a decent rookie season at quarterback, the most difficult and important position in professional football.
I will also call out Percy Harvin, KR/WR, Minnesota Vikings for making an impact on his team, especially in the return game and Michael Oher, RT, Baltimore Ravens, who has had an excellent rookie season on the line of scrimmage. (Note there is a made for TV movie about Michael Oher’s story coming out soon).
DEFENSIVE ROOKIE: Jairus Byrd, S, Buffalo Bills
Byrd has been a turnover machine the past few weeks and has made a clear impact for the Bills on the defensive side of the ball. It makes me feel like the Patriots picked the wrong Oregon defensive back in Patrick Chung.
The only other player considered for this illustrious midseason honor was Brian Cushing, the USC linebacker now playing for the Houston Texans who leads all rookies in tackles.
LEAGUE MVP: Brett Favre, QB, Minnesota Vikings
I have to admit I have been rather sick of the Brett Favre retirement saga but what to say? He is the main difference personnel wise on the talented Vikings team and has completely turned this team into an elite squad. The difference he has made can be seen not only in their 7-1 record but the players’ attitudes on and off the field. Only time will tell if he can keep it up. And this is clear evidence of how important the quarterback position is in today’s NFL.
HEAD COACH: Josh McDaniels, Denver Broncos
I was one of those piling on the abuse of both Josh McDaniels and Jay Cutler in the seemingly chaotic offseason the Denver Broncos had. So far McDaniels has had the last laugh, completely turning around the Broncos into, at this stage, one of the elite teams in the league. And he’s done it with Kyle Orton as quarterback instead of Jay Cutler. Meanwhile the Bears are struggling with Cutler at the helm. Go figure!
COMEBACK PLAYER: Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots
After suffering a season ending ACL injury last year, Brady has come back and played well this year. While he might not look like the Brady of old quite yet, he certainly is progressing in that direction as the season unfolds.
BIGGEST SURPRISE: Denver Broncos
The Broncos were basically a mediocre to even poor team by the end of last season and their defense was one of the worst in the league. This year they have started out 6-1 and have an efficient offense that can score and one of the best defenses in the league. After the chaotic offseason where the team seemed in disarray I thought the Broncos would be lucky to have an 8-8 record this year. I guess I have been proven wrong and I am certainly surprised.
BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT: Tennessee Titans
How does a team go from Super Bowl contender to one of the worst teams in the league so quickly? I know the Titans have suffered injuries and lost players but that still does not explain the complete collapse of the team. Worse yet, the players look like they quit in some games. And what is really shocking is this is a Jeff Fisher coached team, one of the most respected coaches in the league. If the Titans think Vince Young is going to lead them out of this slump they are in for a huge disappointment.
GOAT: Jake Delhomme, QB, Carolina Panthers
Jake Delhomme picked up right where he left off last year, where he threw five interceptions in an atrocious performance in the playoffs. He has already thrown 13 interceptions in the first seven games of the season and is playing so poorly that I do not understand why the Panthers are so reluctant to start Matt Moore. Jake Delhomme has obviously seen his better days so if Matt Moore is not the future of the franchise, the Panthers better start finding somebody who is.
PUNK: Larry Johnson, RB, Kansas City Chiefs
Larry Johnson has a history of abusing women which makes him a super punk. This year he is once again showing what a punk he is by trashing his coach and using gay slurs in public, leading to a suspension. He has wanted out of Kansas City for a few years now so maybe this is just a ploy to accomplish that. But who would want a washed up, bad attitude running back who is a me first player who doesn’t care about his team or his teammates? Maybe the Raiders.
Others in the running are Roy Williams, WR, Dallas Cowboys, who is pulling a TO and punking his QB Tony Romo. When will Dallas ever find a top flight receiver who is not a me first player who cares more about winning games than piling up statistics?
Clinton Portis, RB, Washington Redskins, also was considered for calling out his offensive line and causing trouble in the locker room with fullback Mike Sellers. This is the second or maybe even third season in a row Portis has publically criticized his teammates and offensive line. While part of his complaints are true, maybe he also needs to look in the mirror.
Jerry Porter is a loudmouth punk. I can’t stand him. Shut up already.