What NFL season would be complete without a few awards for being the absolute best…and absolute worst?
Here now are the winners of this year’s "Best of" awards for 2007. For the record, I’m guessing that baseball is everyone’s favorite sport to talk about...
2007 Best NFL Team (1st Half):
In a playoff that was mauled with shockers and controversy, no better shocker came than when Peyton Manning finally got the best of Tom Brady in the AFC Championship.
Despite injuries to the team and people saying that history would repeat itself in Indy, the Colts managed to pull one over on Bill Belichick and his beloved Patriots. But a quick “Did You Know” moment courtesy of SI, reveals that the last two teams to win the Super Bowl were wild entrants (Pittsburgh and Indianapolis).
Manning continued his dominance and made his first trip to the show worth it, as his Colts decimated Rex Grossman and the Chicago Bears. Turns out that the Bears didn’t have the stingiest defense in the postseason. It was actually Indy, as they kept the Bears grounded and made them miss their snow in Chicago.
Runners Up: New Orleans, New England, Chicago
2007 Best NFL Team (2nd Half): New England Patriots
Even with all the hype and controversy that surrounded them this season, the Patriots even managed to put a smile on my face.
Not because they are heading to the playoffs. Not because they are three wins away from clinching their dynasty tag. Not even because Randy Moss is actually playing like Randy Moss again.
The real reason I was so excited about the Pats this year was because they finally shut the ’72 Dolphins up.
Despite what many are saying at this moment, these Patriots have already surpassed those Dolphins. I think it’s safe to say that even if they don’t win the Super Bowl, the Patriots have hit the curve, backed up, and hit it again.
Runners Up: Dallas, Green Bay, Cleveland
Best Quarterback of 2007 (1st Half): Drew Brees, New Orleans
Despite the big hype about Peyton Manning, no one resurrected their career quicker this season than Drew Brees.
Brees was ousted by a shady management team in San Diego because they thought that he didn’t have it anymore. They put the future of their Superchargers in the hands of the phenom from NC State, Philip Rivers.
What did Brees do in return? He went out and led the Saints to the NFC Championship Game in their first season back home following Hurricane Katrina.
With rookie sensations Reggie Bush and Marques Colston in the backfield, Brees made plenty of noise and made sure the league was taking notice. Trust me when I say this: We were paying attention. Loud and clear.
Runners Up: Peyton Manning, Indianapolis and Tom Brady, New England
Best Quarterback of 2007 (2nd Half): Tom Brady, New England
What started as a simple game turned into a triple threat shootout between the past, the present, and future of NFL quarterbacks.
In the end, the present outlasted the past and the future, as Tom Brady led his Patriots to a perfect season, another division title, another first round bye, another home field advantage throughout the playoffs, and perhaps to another Super Bowl.
That said, Brady remains focused, and has helped his teammate Randy Moss mature.
Annual contract: $10 million.
Clothes for the baby-: $1000/month.
Gas for your hybrid: $20 a month.
A perfect season: Inevitable.
A perfect season with a Super Bowl championship to end it all: Priceless.
Runners Up: Tony Romo, Dallas and Brett Favre, Green Bay
Best Running Back of 2007 (1st Half): LaDanian Tomlinson, San Diego
He ran up, over, and around defenders all season. Tomlinson set a new record for most touchdowns in a season, while his team faltered in the playoffs once again. Despite all that, LT earned enough street cred to beat out Reggie Bush, Maurice Jones-Drew, and Joseph Addai for the honor of best back in the first half.
Not much to say except for his sake, I hope that San Diego finally makes it there. Otherwise, expect the Human Joystick to be Joysticking somewhere else next season. Maybe New England, perhaps.
Runners Up: Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville and Reggie Bush, New Orleans
Best Running Back of 2007 (2nd Half): Adrian Peterson, Minnesota and Ryan Grant, Green Bay
No two running backs made more noise this season than the Boomer Sooner and Unknown Tundra Phenom. Peterson set records in games that Minnesota wasn’t supposed to win, but they did mainly because of his legs.
That’s why Peterson was named the Offensive Rookie of the Year this season—but he had competition, namely in the form of a guy who became a starter by mere chance.
After DeShawn Wynn went down with a season ending injury, Ryan Grant stepped in behind the Great One, Brett Favre, and gave teams a reason to take notice of the Packers and the NFC North in general. The shootouts between these two created plenty of buzz for the teams, but in the end, Peterson needed at least one trophy after the broken collarbone he suffered at Oklahoma.
As for Grant, he has a chance to lead the Packers to another Super Bowl. What more can you ask for?
Runners Up: LaDanian Tomlinson, San Diego and Marion Barber, Dallas
Best Wide Receivers of 2007 (1st Half): Chad Johnson, Cincinnati and Marques Colston, New Orleans
Who made more noise and caused more anarchy on the field than Chad Johnson?
If he wasn’t finding another new and exciting way to get fined by the departing Paul Tagliabue, he was earning his pay by coming through in the clutch for the Bengals (or whoever wasn’t in lockup that weekend). It was clear that Mr. Ocho Cinco was Carson Palmer’s favorite target last season, but unfortunately, teams started to realize that as well. His numbers still ended up being pretty good this season, but he would have preferred some better ones.
As for Colston, well, you be the judge. How many times do you have to make the veterans look bad before you can officially be called a Legend Killer in the making? That’s exactly what this young stud did all last season, and he carried that into the postseason with him. He quickly became Brees’ favorite target and didn’t let him down when the ball came his direction. Simply put: One man made noise en route to the end zone, while the other made noise after he got there.
Runners Up: Torry Holt, St. Louis and Terrell Owens, Dallas
Best Wide Receivers of 2007 (2nd Half): Terrell Owens, Dallas and Randy Moss, New England
If anyone can think of a reason why these two should not be given these awards, let them speak now and run fast, or forever hold your peace.
No two men resurrected their careers this season to a greater extent than Owens and Moss. Everyone knows about their alter egos—but they were simply nowhere to be found this season.
While Owens was having fun playing catch with Romo, Moss was enjoying his new surroundings with Brady. Moss found in Brady a quarterback he could trust, while Owens found a quarterback in Romo who wasn't afraid to go to him in the clutch.
Both Wade Phillips and Bill Belichick are intimidating men, but they weren’t about to start holding back two of the most dangerous wideouts in the NFL. Simply put: if the sports gods have anything to say about it, you’ll be seeing Owens-Moss 2 in Tempe.
Runners Up: Wes Welker (New England), Donald Driver (Green Bay), and Torry Holt (St. Louis)
Best Head Coach of 2007 (1st Half): Tony Dungy (Indianapolis), Sean Payton (New Orleans), and Lovie Smith (Chicago)
There are three winners mainly because these three men led the charge into history. Sean Payton brought the Saints back to contention, and almost did it again this season as well. The resurrection of the New Orleans Saints obviously starts at the top, and Sean Payton definitely deserved the coach of the year honors he received.
As for Dungy and Smith, that’s a given. These two made history by becoming the first African American head coaches the NFL to make it to the Super Bowl. Dungy went on to make that historic moment sweeter by becoming the first African American head coach to win the big one.
So much for throwing race onto the table....
Though Payton and Smith will be watching this year’s playoffs from home, Dungy will attempt to make history again as the Colts will defend their Super Bowl crown in two weeks.
Runner Up: Bill Belichick, New England
Best Head Coach of 2007 (2nd Half): All Five Nominees
I absolutely will not single out any one team on this exchange.
Why? Here’s why:
Belichick led his Patriots to a perfect season.
Wade Phillips has the Cowboys playing like they did in their dynasty days.
Mike McCarthy has led the Packers back to postseason glory, and has given Favre one more shot at greatness before he retires.
Mike Tomlin is in his first year as head coach, and the Steelers are in the postseason.
And last but not least, Romeo Crennel led the Cleveland Browns (Yes—the Cleveland Browns) to a 10-6 mark this season, helping them post their first winning record in the new franchise’s history.
Have objections to me not picking an absolute winner? Feel free to place your pick and reasons below in the comment threads.
Worst Head Coach of 2007: Cam Cameron, Miami
His tenure with Miami went from bad to worst, as Cameron led the Dolphins to a 1-15 record this season, falling one loss short of joining the old school Buccaneers as the only team to fail to win a game in a single season.
Though there was a vote for Mike Nolan, to his credit, he did win some games.
However the funniest vote I received was for Dennis Green, and I agree to a certain extent. If Denny had spent more time making his teams better instead of trying to silence the STL "Bob-n-Weave" Express, he might still have a job in the NFL.
Cameron’s downfall started when he decided to pass on Brady Quinn for Ted Ginn, Jr., and we all know how that turned out. The worst for Cameron is yet to come.
Hopefully, Cameron learned something from the 1000+ mistakes he made in 2007 alone. Maybe Tuna will do better…but they might want to start looking at quarterbacks since the Dolphins have all that free time to work on their golf game.
Runners Up: Scott Linehan, St. Louis and Mike Shanahan, Denver
Worst Team of 2007: Miami Dolphins
Amazing: one Dolphins team just got their heart broken, while another has been getting their heart broken all season long.
I’m not even going into detail on this one. All I’ll say is that the Dolphins just plain sucked this year! And I’m a St. Louis Rams fan, so that’s a huge insult coming from me.
Dan Marino, if you’re listening, come save your beloved Fish!
Biggest Bust of 2007: Shaun Alexander, Seattle
This one was a landslide victory for Alexander. Hey, he had to win something right? Unfortunately, this is one award that he should smile about.
After a breakout season in ’06, Alexander has been an enigma in 07'—and that’s not always a good thing. In the NFC West, it’s about who is in your backfield, period. The Niners had Frank Gore. The Rams had Stephen Jackson. The Cardinals had The Edge. And the Seahawks had…ummm…I forget.
Alexander was absolutely mediocre this season, and Seattle suffered because of it. They backed into the playoffs and won the division by default (mainly because the other teams were more pathetic than them).
So Shaun Alexander: Seattle sucked this year, and you weren’t any better. You are the Biggest Bust of 2007! How do you like ‘Dem Apples?
Damn! I did it again...
Runners Up: Chicago Bears
2007 Derrick Thomas Memorial Award Recipients: Darrent Williams, Denver and Sean Taylor, Washington
I wasn’t going to allow any voting for this one. In honor of Derrick Thomas, who was by far the most intimidating defensive player of his era, I am giving this award to two defensive players who were becoming stars at their respective positions.
Darrent Williams, aka “Fro-Hawk,” was a nice compliment to Champ Bailey while with the Denver Broncos. Unfortunately, his life was cut short back on New Year’s Day last year after a drive by shooting took him from the rest of the world.
Shortly after that incident, the Broncos lost running back Damian Nash, who died while at a charity basketball tournament in St. Louis. But the worst was yet to come.
In a season that saw many stars put under a microscope, Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor died from a gunshot wound suffered at his Miami home during a botched burglary attempt. To honor him, the Skins went out on their first play against the Bills with only ten men instead of eleven.
To culminate their playing spirits, I have created the Derrick Thomas Memorial Award in honor of the legend himself, who was killed in a dangerous car crash a few years ago.
Those are the winners. Hope everyone enjoyed this as much as I did. Thanks to those who voted.