ESPY Awards 2013: Ranking the Top Nominees That Went Home Empty-Handed

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistJuly 18, 2013

NEW ORLEANS, LA - FEBRUARY 02:  NFL player Peyton Manning attends DIRECTV'S Seventh Annual Celebrity Beach Bowl at DTV SuperFan Stadium at Mardi Gras World on February 2, 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images For DirecTV)
Jason Merritt/Getty Images

To modify something that Bill Hader said at the 2013 ESPY Awards while spoofing Vladimir Putin, the ESPYs are where we hand out awards for winning awards. 

So what better way to look back on the event than to hand out a hypothetical award for the nominee that wasn't awarded an award?

When the ballots feature such a wide array of amazing teams and athletes across the world of sports, there are bound to be a few that go home empty-handed. Despite their incredible achievements, they only hand out so many awards. 

Here are the nominees for Best Nominee to Go Home Empty-Handed. 

3. Calvin Johnson

Poor Megatron just can't win—literally. 

Usually it's because he's a member of the Detroit Lions, a franchise that isn't generally a contender and finished just 4-12 this season despite a record-breaking season from the receiver. 

On Wednesday night he couldn't win, either. He was a nominee for best player in the NFL, which rightfully went to the reigning MVP, Adrian Peterson. He also lost out on the Best Record-Breaking Performance when Michael Phelps was given the nod for being the most decorated Olympian of all time. 

Again, the award went to the right candidate, but it still stings that Johnson caught 122 passes for 1,964 yards last season and still had to walk away with no honors from the ESPYs. 

2. Peyton Manning

Adrian Peterson's tremendous season didn't just deny one NFL star the spotlight at the ESPYs—his amazing comeback ensured that Manning wouldn't be recognized for his own. 

It's difficult to remember given the success he's had this season, but it wasn't long ago that there was speculation Manning would be forced to retire before last season. 

Not only did that speculation turn out to be false, but Manning went on to have one of the best seasons of his career. His 4,659 yards, 37 touchdowns against 11 interceptions and quarterback rating of 105.8 is outdone only by his historic 2004 campaign. 

Peterson was deserving of the award. There's no denying his season was equally impressive, and he took a far less-talented team to the playoffs. 

At least Manning finishes as the runner-up for this completely fictitious honor. 

And the winner is...

1. Juan Manuel Marquez for His Upset Victory over Manny Pacquiao

Yes, Florida Gulf Coast's victory over Georgetown was impressive. 

It takes a special team to prevail as a No. 15 seed over a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament. The fact that they advanced all the way to the Sweet 16 after that makes it even more impressive. 

But the honor for best upset of the year has to go to Juan Manuel Marquez for knocking out Manny Pacquiao in the sixth round of their title fight. 

FGCU's upset was fun to watch, but it wasn't that surprising. After all, they were the third No. 15 seed to win in the last two years. 

Marquez upset was one that made you gasp as you watched; it was surreal. Pacquiao—a mainstay on boxing's pound-for-pound rankings—appeared in control of the fight after a competitive start and well on his way to earning yet another victory when Marquez landed the perfect overhand right to put him to sleep just before the bell rang in the sixth round. 

Boxing's version of a buzzer-beater to defeat one of the top boxers of this generation? That doesn't happen every year, and it should have walked away with an ESPY.