Bleacher Report's Wacky Awards for the 2011 NFL Season
The regular season has come to an exciting conclusion, and as we wait an agonizing five days for the start of playoff football, it's time to look at some of the best action of the 2011 season.
Having already established the standard awards for the best and worst plays and players, now it's time to look at the more silly side of the season's actions.
From wacky bounces, to bizarre decision making, and all the interesting celebrations in between, there was a lot to love about the NFL this year beyond the action on the field.
Here are Bleacher Report's Wacky Awards for the 2011 Season.
Bounce of the Year: Kevin Walter
This has to be one of the most bizarre bounces I've ever seen in an NFL play.
After bouncing off New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Casillas, this pass from Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub somehow finds its way to wide receiver Kevin Walter.
Taking the wild pass, Walter was able to move the ball into the end zone for the touchdown.
While it wasn't enough for the Texans to win, it was certainly a touchdown reception Walter won't forget anytime soon.
Shoe Gotta Be Kidding Me Award: D'Brickashaw Ferguson
When New England Patriots safety Patrick Chung lost his shoe in a game earlier this season, he probably would not have guessed that it ended up in the facemask of New York Jets offensive lineman D'Brickashaw Ferguson.
However, that's where his shoe went when the two players were caught in a gang tackle in the team's Week 5 matchup.
Both players were OK, and the shoe was removed after a few pulls.
Shane Falco Replacement of the Year Award: Matt Flynn
Green Bay Packers quarterback Matt Flynn looked like a seasoned veteran Sunday as he broke team records for touchdowns (6) and passing yards (480) as the Packers downed the Detroit Lions 45-41.
In fact, Sunday's game was only the second start of his pro career.
With starter Aaron Rodgers cheering him on from the sidelines, Flynn led several long drives for scores against a Lions team desperate to avoid a tough matchup against the New Orleans Saints in the first round.
Despite his inexperience, he took advantage of the opportunity, showing everyone he can be a big star in the NFL.
Set to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason, he will surely be a target for several teams desperate for a new starter under center.
Celebration of the Year: Pierre Thomas
The NFL may get a bad rap as the "no-fun league," but as long as players—like New Orleans Saints running back Pierre Thomas—are willing to commit to celebrations like this, fans will know the league will never be able to keep player creativity wrapped up.
Soggiest Game of the Year: Carolina Panthers vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
In one of the wet and wildest games in recent memory, the Carolina Panthers were able to squeeze out a victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 3.
With a torrential downpour affecting gameplay, both teams struggled to gain any offensive momentum—perhaps they were too busy collecting two of every animal.
However, the two sides regained some form in the second half, and the Panthers were able to win 16-10.
Worst NFL Pitchman: Brian Orakpo
Apparently choosing to appear in an advertisement that won't make you look like a fool is not so easy to do.
The Geico Caveman couldn't figure it out, and neither could Washington Redskins linebacker Brian Orakpo.
Blunder of the Year: Ronnie Brown
In one of the dumbest plays I've ever seen, Philadelphia Eagles running back Ronnie Brown attempted to pass the ball backwards as he was being tackled by the goal line against the 49ers.
The pass attempt failed disastrously, and the opposing San Francisco 49ers were able to recover the ball. Instead of an easy score, the Eagles would come away empty-handed.
Did I mention the Eagles lost the game 24-23?
Special Teams Blunder of the Year: Pat Lee
I would have left it with just the Ronnie Brown blunder, but this play from Green Bay Packers return man Pat Lee yesterday was especially woeful.
Bobbling the initial kickoff outside of the end zone, Lee attempted to bring the ball back in. Unfortunately, since the ball had crossed over the line, the result of the kneel-down was a safety.
The mistake may have been egregious, but fortunately for the Packers it didn't cost them the game.
The Packers beat the Detroit Lions 45-41.
Innocent Bystander Award: Michael Boley
Nothing says celebrating a good play... like beaming a football at a guy standing behind the end zone. Classy move, New York Giants linebacker Michael Boley.
Healthy Treat Award: Marshawn Lynch
It's not a bad idea to have a healthy snack when resting after athletic activity.
Unfortunately for Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch, his snack of choice was some Skittles.
While the choice may not be the dentist's—or his coach's—favorite, he has been breaking off some sweet runs on the way to another solid year.
Taste the rainbow, Marshawn. Taste the rainbow.
Lowblow of the Year: Brian Robison
Minnesota Vikings defensive end Brian Robison must have been nuts if he thought he could get away with this cheapshot on Green Bay Packers guard T.J. Lang.
However, the lowblow was caught on camera, and will hopefully hang with him for a while. Kind of like the pain when you get hit below the belt.
Flinch of the Year Award: Mark Sanchez
With the NFL's rules protecting quarterbacks so well, it may have come as a surprise to the New York Jets' Mark Sanchez that he had a guy in his face.
Playing against the Buffalo Bills, Sanchez was spooked by opposing corner Drayton Florence as he stood on the side in a wildcat-style rush. Expecting a big hit, Sanchez leaped out of the way like his life depended on it.
After the initial flinch, Sanchez added insult to earlier insult when he was flagged for holding on the play.
Excuse of the Year: DeSean Jackson
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson may not have had the best season—in fantasy land, too, as he seriously killed my fantasy football team, Block Busters—but he did have the best excuse for missing a team meeting, which led to a one-game suspension.
Asked about it, he said he had missed the meeting after his alarm clock didn't work. Team officials weren't impressed, and he was held out of the Eagles game against the Arizona Cardinals, which they would end up losing.
I have no way to confirm this, but I also assume that Jackson wrote a letter of apology which was unfortunately eaten by his dog.
Lookout Award: Ron Winters
Being an NFL referee is dangerous business.
Ask referee Ron Winters, who found himself on the wrong end of this scrum for a loose ball between players of the Cincinnati Bengals and Baltimore Ravens.
Despite the dangerous situation he found himself in, Winters was fortunately able to finish the game.
Acrobat of the Year: Jerome Simpson
He may have gotten a lot of credit for this front flip touchdown, but Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Jerome Simpson had shown off his gymnastic ability only weeks earlier in the team's game against the Cleveland Browns.
After getting into a small shoving match with the Browns' Scott Fujita, Simpson took Fujita's slight touch and threw himself across the air. Convinced he was brutally assaulted—what other conclusion could you come to with that kind of airtime?—referees assessed a penalty against Fujita.
Fortunately, a penalty had already been called against the Bengals, meaning the two penalties offset.
No. 1 No. 1 of the Year: Nick Novak
When you gotta go, you gotta go.
That was the case for San Diego Chargers kicker Nick Novak, who had to deal with a No. 1 priority in the team's game against the Denver Broncos.
While Novak may have been able to relieve himself on the sideline, Chargers fans were far from relieved as Novak missed a pair of potentially game winning field goals, which allowed the Broncos the opportunity to take the victory.