Since the Super Bowl has a bye week, so do I. Instead of churning out pointless dribble about who I think is going to win the Super Bowl and why, I'm going to hand out some awards for the 2004-05 NFL Playoffs up until this point. Because everybody loves awards! Right? And don't fret - I will churn out my pointless dribble next week, when we're closer to the actual game.
In the meantime, let's get 'er done.
The Special Award for Self-Righteous Announcing in the Face of Extreme Adversity goes to...Fox announcer Joe Buck, who was so appalled by Randy Moss' fake-mooning against the Green Bay Packers, that he went so far as to apologize on behalf of the entire network. Now, Fox needs to apologize for many things - one of them being Buck - but nobody needed to hear this commentary about why it was so "disgraceful" when Randy Moss fake pulled his pants down. In the realm of terrible things that can possibly happen during a football game (bad injuries, dirty hits, Herm Edwards) this wasn't one of them. One wonders what Buck's reaction would be to something truly disgraceful, like for example, child labor within the sweatshops of Indonesia. Or â€œThe Rebel Billionaire." Where's our apology for THAT?
The Marty Schottenheimer Award for Poor Playoff Coaching goes to...Marty Schottenheimer. You would think the term "Marty Ball" is a fun game that you can play at parties where nobody gets hurt. But in reality, "Marty Ball" is a term associated with how Schottenheimer-coached teams perform in the playoffs, which is "badly." And many people get hurt. In this case, it was San Diego Chargers' fans, who had to watch their team blow a playoff game, at home, to the Jets in overtime. The Chargers were tight the entire game, and when they had the chance to put the game away by getting their rookie kicker in decent field goal position, Schottenheimer ran three consecutive plays up the middle with tailback LaDanian Tomlinson that got the team nowhere. When rookie kicker Nate Kaeding missed the subsequent field goal attempt, "Marty Ball" lived on. Again - not a fun game.
The "This Team Unity Thing Is Fun! - I Hate You Guys" Award goes to...the Minnesota Vikings, who all "blew their hair out" to signify team unity, and then never showed up to play the Eagles. It used to be that team unity was represented by the fact that members of a team just wore the same uniform. But the Vikings weren't content with this, and their expanded hair experiment worked only against Green Bay. After that, Randy Moss was walking off the field during trick plays and the rest of the team wasn't talking to each other on the sidelines. Nevertheless, the Vikings blew their hair out to signify that it was "them against the world." Unfortunately, the world won.
The "I Didn't Want That Ball Anyway!" Award goes to...Indianapolis Colts' running back Dominic Rhodes, who had the football stripped right from his grasp by the Patriots' Tedy Bruschi, thus symbolizing the Colts' soft effort against the defending Super Bowl champs. Now I don't play in the NFL, but I would imagine that handing the ball off to the other team doesn't make you the most popular guy in the locker room, unless Rhodes accidentally walked into the wrong locker room. If he did, he probably handed Tedy Bruschi a towel.
The Most Inappropriate Use of the Term "Receiver" Award goes to...the Seattle Seahawks wide receivers, who got the "wide" part right, but dropped WAY too many passes against the St. Louis Rams. It all culminated with Bobby Engram dropping a Matt Hasselbeck pass in the end zone that would have given the Seahawks the win. And at one point in the game, during a play that did not involve him, wideout Darrell Jackson just ran downfield and never looked back, like Forrest Gump. The only guy who didn't drop a pass just happened to be the greatest pass catcher in history, Jerry Rice. Unfortunately, he didn't catch one either. Oh well. You can't catch everything, I guess. Thankfully for Seattle, it wasn't a big game.
The "Who Else Can We Blame For This Monumental Loss?" Award goes to...the New York Jets, who, well...ya' know. So whose fault was it? Herm Edwards? Paul Hackett? Doug Brien? Chad Pennington? Javier Vasquez? Mine? Former Mayor David Dinkins? Hey, here's one - who cares?
The "What Time Does the Game Start? - Wait, We Lost?" Award goes to...the Denver Broncos, who put forth one heck of a lousy effort against the Colts. They didn't even give Jake Plummer enough time to throw a costly interception. I mean, sure â€” he threw one, but at that point it didn't really matter. And that's no fun. Thanks a lot, stupid Broncos.
The Best Use of a Sombrero-Sized Beret Award goes to...Shannon Sharpe, who proudly donned this enormous headgear during the CBS Pre-Game Show for the Pats and Steelers matchup last Sunday. Really though, it looked like he was wearing a deflated beanbag chair on his head. You go, Shannon!
The Best Terrell Owens Impression Award goes to...Eagles' wideout Greg Lewis, who made big play after big play during Philly's romp to the Super Bowl. Sure, Freddie Mitchell did his part too, but when it came to Donovan McNabb throwing the ball downfield, it was Lewis who always seemed to be on the other end, doing whatever he had to do to make the catch.
The Greatest Sideline Performance Award goes to...Falcons' head coach Jim Mora, Jr., who, during the waning moments of the NFC Championship Game, ripped something off of him, threw it down on the ground, and then tried to stomp on it. I couldn't really figure out what exactly it was that he threw to the ground. Maybe it was a piece of paper that said "Falcons' Super Bowl hopes." Nevertheless, his actions seemed to adequately capture the moment, like anytime I would watch Jeff Weaver yelling at himself on the mound while somebody was rounding the bases behind him. Boy, do I miss those days! (Coming in second place was Herm Edwards, who got in a shouting match with his running backs' coach during the Jets/Chargers game. He didn't win the award however, because this was the first time during his tenure that I actually saw Edwards doing something on the sidelines that didn't include staring at the game clock with a confused look on his face. Sorry, Herm. Maybe next year.)
And finally, The Greatest Time Wasted Spent Making a Sign Award goes to...that lady in the stands at the AFC Championship Game in Pittsburg, rooting her team on by holding up a homemade sign that read, "We Do What We Do!" Never have I seen more in-depth analysis of how a football team operates, as summarized in a sign. Great job, lady! But just to get things straight, what you're saying is, your team DOESN'T do what it DOESN'T do? Do I understand you right? I'm a little confused. And what, exactly DOES your team do? Lose AFC Championship Games at home? I'm not sure I would be bragging about that.
There's still more hardware to be handed out for the 2004-05 NFL Playoffs. Like that Vince Lombardi Trophy. But congratulations to all of MY award winners! You've done us proud this year. And remember - keep "doing what you do."
Whatever that is.