Mark Craig: It's time for awards, and for new categories

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 26, 2012 - 7:02 AM

Who is the Most Valuable Manning? Which team had the biggest collapse? Answers ahead.

hide

Peyton Manning has looked like the Manning of old, and he has turned the Broncos into Super Bowl contenders.

Photo: David Zalubowski, Associated Press

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Let's take a break from discussing the NFL MVP, Comeback Player of the Year and any other awards that are within Adrian Peterson's Kung Fu grip.

Here are some other "awards" to consider as we take a spin around the league during a regular season-ending week that features 15 teams still alive for the postseason and nine games with playoff implications:

Most Valuable Manning: Once upon a time, the Broncos were 2-3 and Peyton was the old, noodle-armed, runner-up Manning. Today, Denver is 12-3 while hopes of an All-Manning Super Bowl are as off target as Eli's completion percentage (56.1) since the Giants were 6-2.

Worst Collapse By a Team Still Barely in Contention Award: Eli's Giants, who are 2-5 their past seven games. No, wait. The Bears, also 2-5 since a 7-1 start. Flip a coin. Or, better yet, first one to lose Sunday wins.

Worst Dream Team EV-er Award: E-A-G-L-E-S!

Big, Big, Huge Mistake That Everyone Saw Coming But Them Award: J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets!

Most Dangerous Team Award: Yeah, the Broncos are riding a 10-game winning streak. Yeah, the Packers are 9-1 since a 2-3 start. Yeah, the Redskins are 6-0 since a 3-6 start prompted coach Mike Shanahan to say, "Now we get a chance to evaluate players and see where we're at." But Seattle has won four straight, including the past three by a combined score of 150-20. The Seahawks are also 7-0 at home.

Most Confusing Team Award: If anyone can figure out the 49ers, give Jim Harbaugh a call. They're consistently inconsistent. They've lost or tied every third game this season.

Most Unreasonable Pressure Award: Beat the Redskins on Sunday and the Cowboys claim the NFC East based on the third tiebreaker (common opponents). Lose and Tony Romo's reputation for choking in December grows another layer of scar tissue, regardless of how he plays. For the record, the Cowboys are 3-1 this month with Romo passing for 10 touchdowns and one interception and earning a 112.0 passer rating. In Sunday's loss to the Saints, Romo threw for 416 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions.

Who's The Dummy Now Award: Who says you can't lose Peyton Manning, Joseph Addai, Dallas Clark, Gary Brackett, Melvin Bullitt and Pierre Garcon and still be successful? Not 34-year-old Colts receiver Reggie Wayne, who had a chance to jump ship in Indy but stayed put last offseason. Today, Wayne has topped 100 catches (102) for the fourth time in six years and is part of the league's most amazing story this season.

Maybe This Might Work After All Award: It's not often that a 9-4 team fires its offensive coordinator. But that's what the slumping Ravens did to Cam Cameron on Dec. 10. Tempo, or lack thereof, was considered Cameron's downfall as the offense consistently had to wait too long for play calls. Proper tempo is considered a strength of former Colts coach Jim Caldwell, who replaced Cameron. In Caldwell's first game with a full week to prepare, the Ravens offense responded with season highs for total yards (534) and rushing yards (225) in a 33-14 rout of the Giants.

The Ha! In-Your-Face Award: Remember last year when the Steelers announced that offensive coordinator Bruce Arians had "retired"? Remember a few days later when Arians took his job in Indianapolis? The Steelers hired Todd Haley as offensive coordinator, a move that clearly has not set well with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Meanwhile, Arians took over as Colts interim coach when Chuck Pagano left the team to battle leukemia for three months. On Sunday, the Steelers were eliminated from the playoffs while Arians improved his interim record to 9-3 and clinched a playoff berth in time to hand the Colts back to Pagano on Monday.

Who Invited the Kids Award: If Robert Griffin III and Christian Ponder make the playoffs, half of the 12-team field will have either rookie or second-year quarterbacks. The most impressive might be the least talked about: Cincinnati's Andy Dalton. He has led the Bengals from a 3-5 to a 9-6 record this season and back-to-back playoff berths for only the second time in franchise history (1981-82 was the other).

Best Potential Playoff Matchups Award: How about Peyton Manning against the Colts? Or the Colts against their former hometown, Baltimore? Or Peyton vs. a Patriots team that has defied parity by winning the AFC East for the ninth time in 10 seasons? Or, wait. How about the Vikings traveling to Atlanta? In a tight game against the Falcons, the Vikings have the best kicker in the league. What could possibly go wrong there, eh?

Mark Craig • mcraig@startribune.com

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

NY Yankees - LP: M. Pineda 0 FINAL
Toronto - WP: D. Hutchison 2
Detroit - LP: M. Scherzer 3 FINAL
Chicago WSox - WP: C. Sale 6
Chicago Cubs - WP: F. Doubront 5 FINAL
St. Louis - LP: J. Masterson 1
Cincinnati - LP: A. Simon 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: V. Worley 3
Minnesota - LP: J. Burton 2 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: A. Miller 3
Philadelphia - WP: J. Williams 7 FINAL
NY Mets - LP: B. Colon 2
Miami - WP: J. Cosart 4 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: A. Harang 0
Boston - LP: A. Webster 0 FINAL
Tampa Bay - WP: J. Odorizzi 7
Cleveland 1 Bottom 10th Inning
Kansas City 1
Detroit - WP: K. Ryan 8 FINAL
Chicago WSox - LP: C. Bassitt 4
Texas - LP: P. Klein 0 FINAL
Houston - WP: S. Feldman 2
Colorado 2 FINAL
Arizona 0
Chicago Cubs 1 Bottom 8th Inning
St. Louis 5
Los Angeles 1 Top 8th Inning
San Diego 1
Milwaukee 0 Top 6th Inning
San Francisco 3
Oakland 0 Bottom 5th Inning
LA Angels 2
Washington 3 Bottom 5th Inning
Seattle 0
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
BYU 35 FINAL
Connecticut 10
(6) Jacksonville St 7 FINAL
(8) Michigan State 45
Bowling Green 31 FINAL
Western Ky 59
TX-San Antonio 27 FINAL
Houston 7
Colorado State 31 FINAL
Colorado 17
UNLV 13 FINAL
Arizona 58
Penn State 26 FINAL
UCF 24
Troy 10 FINAL
UAB 48
(7) UCLA 28 FINAL
Virginia 20
Western Mich 34 FINAL
Purdue 43
(5) Ohio State 34 FINAL
Navy 17
Appalachian St 14 FINAL
Michigan 52
Ga Southern 23 FINAL
NC State 24
Boston College 30 FINAL
Massachusetts 7
West Virginia 23 FINAL
(2) Alabama 33
Rice 17 FINAL
(17) Notre Dame 48
(10) South Dakota St 18 FINAL
(24) Missouri 38
Fla Atlantic 7 FINAL
(22) Nebraska 55
California 31 FINAL
Northwestern 24
Marshall 42 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 27
UC Davis 0 FINAL
(11) Stanford 45
Arkansas 21 FINAL
(6) Auburn 45
(16) Clemson 21 FINAL
(12) Georgia 45
Liberty 29 FINAL
(23) North Carolina 56
Ohio U 17 FINAL
Kent State 14
Louisiana Tech 16 FINAL
(4) Oklahoma 48
Stephen F Austin 16 FINAL
(20) Kansas State 55
Southern Miss 0 FINAL
Miss State 49
Fresno State 13 4th Qtr 1:53
(15) USC 52
Texas-El Paso 24 4th Qtr 4:43
New Mexico 24
North Texas 0 4th Qtr 7:23
Texas 28
(1) Florida State 27 3rd Qtr 0:55
Oklahoma State 17
(14) Wisconsin 17 2nd Qtr 1:16
(13) LSU 7
Idaho 0 Postponed 14:50
Florida 0
South Dakota 0 1st Qtr 9:25
(3) Oregon 8
(25) Washington 0 1st Qtr 9:41
Hawaii 7
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
Tennessee
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Louisville
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
SMU 9/6/14 11:00 AM
North Texas
Fla Atlantic 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(2) Alabama
Buffalo 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Army
(24) Missouri 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Toledo
Arkansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
(8) McNeese State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(22) Nebraska
Central Mich 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Akron 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Western Ill 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(14) Wisconsin
(20) Kansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
(4) Oklahoma 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tulsa
Western Ky 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
SC State 9/6/14 11:30 AM
(16) Clemson
Navy 9/6/14 12:00 PM
Temple
UAB 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Miss State
South Alabama 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Kent State
New Mexico St 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Colorado 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Fresno State 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Utah
(1) Eastern Wash 9/6/14 2:00 PM
(25) Washington
(15) USC 9/6/14 2:30 PM
(11) Stanford
Ohio U 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Middle Tennessee 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Minnesota
Northern Ill 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Missouri State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Ball State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Iowa
Maryland 9/6/14 2:30 PM
So Florida
Eastern Mich 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Florida
Georgia Tech 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Tulane
(18) Ole Miss 9/6/14 3:30 PM
Vanderbilt
Old Dominion 9/6/14 5:00 PM
NC State
(8) Michigan State 9/6/14 5:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(19) Arizona State 9/6/14 6:00 PM
New Mexico
Louisiana Tech 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
San Jose St 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(6) Auburn
East Carolina 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Duke 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Troy
Idaho 9/6/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(17) Sam Houston St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(13) LSU
Michigan 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
Lamar 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(21) Texas A&M
Northwestern St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
BYU 9/6/14 6:30 PM
Texas
Citadel 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(1) Florida State
San Diego St 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Virginia Tech 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(5) Ohio State
Memphis 9/6/14 9:00 PM
(7) UCLA
Colorado State 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Boise State
Air Force 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Wyoming
Oregon State 9/6/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Texas Tech 9/6/14 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Colorado 0 FINAL
Seattle 1
New England 3 FINAL
Toronto FC 0
Columbus 0 FINAL
Montreal 2
FC Dallas 0 FINAL
Chicago 1
Real Salt Lake 0 1st Half 44:55
San Jose 0
Portland 0 1st Half 44:55
Vancouver FC 0
Ottawa 10 FINAL
Montreal 20
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Saskatchewan 9/7/14 3:00 PM
Winnipeg
Chicago 70 FINAL
Indiana 77

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How many fantasy football teams do you draft?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close