The 2nd Annual Davey Awards

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November 26, 2001
The 2nd Annual Davey Awards
By Dave Sabo

What a deluge of e-mail I received after last year’s choices! After reading both of them, I knew that the Daveys would become a permanent fixture. So, without further ado, here is the best and worst of the first half of the 2001 NFL season.

Midseason MVP, Offense
Nominees: Rich Gannon, Jeff Garcia, Curtis Martin, Terrell Owens

And the Davey Award goes to: Rich Gannon. There’s just no downside to Gannon this year; he’s doing it all. The league’s highest rated-passer, Gannon has all the physical tools to go along with one of the best minds in the game. He’s accurate, mobile and, so far this season, he flat does not turn the ball over having thrown only two INT’s in 315 attempts. If the Raiders had a better running game, they’d be virtually unstoppable (despite their weak D). If the Raiders are playing deep into January, they’ll have Rich Gannon to thank for it.

Midseason MVP, Defense
Nominees: Mike Brown, Ray Lewis, Jamir Miller, Michael Strahan

And the Davey Award goes to: Michael Strahan. Simply unbelievable through the first half. Everybody knows that he’s well on his way to shattering Mark Gastineu’s single season sack mark, but what a lot of people are discovering is that he’s just as effective stopping the run. Like Lewis, he’s in on seemingly every play and he never quits. Next time the Giants are on, keep an eye on him. You won’t be disappointed.

Rookie of the Half Season, Offense
Nominees: Rod Gardner, Anthony Thomas, LaDainian Tomlinson, Correll Buckhalter

And the Davey Award goes to: LaDainian Tomlinson. Michael who? San Diego had no interest in drafting Michael Vick, so they traded down, collected a couple more picks and the always-entertaining Tim Dwight and still managed to draft the player they coveted. Tomlinson has made them look like geniuses by leading all rookies in rushing and is third in the league in rushing touchdowns. With the injury to Jamal Anderson, think the Falcons wouldn’t mind taking a mulligan?

Rookie of the Half Season, Defense
Nominees: Kendrell Bell, Shaun Rodgers, Fred Smoot, Gerard Warren

And the Davey Award goes to: Kendrell Bell. He’s playing a starring role for the league’s best defense. He’s second on the team in tackles with 45 and third in sacks with 5. His numbers should improve over the second half as he’s seeing more playing time.

Coach of the Half Season
Nominees: Bill Cowher, Butch Davis, Herman Edwards, Dick Jauron

And the Davey Award goes to: Dick Jauron. He’s done more with less than anybody else in the NFL has this season. While many would claim that the two overtime wins were the result of luck, it can’t be denied that he’s been able to put rookies (Anthony Thomas, David Terrell) led by marginal talent (Jim Miller, Shane Matthews) in a position to win week in and week out.

Best Team of the Half Season
Nominees: Chicago Bears, Oakland Raiders, St. Louis Rams, San Francisco 49ers

And the Davey Award goes to: St. Louis Rams. They’ve finally put it together on the other side of the ball thanks to Defensive Coordinator, Lovie Smith. Simply the most complete team in the NFL today.

Most Improved Player of the Half Season
Nominees: Garrison Hearst, Garrison Hearst, Garrison Hearst, Garrison Hearst

And the Davey Award goes to: Garrison Hearst. What’s with this guy?! He missed 2 full seasons when his ankle exploded and was apparently moments away from being cut in training camp. So, he rushes for 776 yards and picks up another 279 receiving. Bit of an improvement from last season. This also isn’t the first time this has happened. He missed most of the ’93 season with a knee injury, struggled through a painful ’94 season missing 7 games and then rushed for over 1,000 yards in ’95. You can’t stop this guy. He’s like Dracula. Or Michael Myers. Or Ronald Reagan.

Biggest Surprise of the Half Season
Nominees: Chicago Bears, Shaun Alexander, Tom Brady, Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila

And the Davey Award goes to: Tom Brady. Drew who? Can’t think of a reason why Brady wouldn’t fit in perfectly with the Texans. It’s not like he’s really got anything to work with up in New England and he’s been absolutely stellar. If nothing else, he’s shown he doesn’t need to be surrounded by Pro Bowlers to deliver. The Pats front office gave the wrong guy $100 million.

Worst Team of the Half Season
Nominees: Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers, Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Lions

And the Davey Award goes to: Detroit Lions. I’m not even gonna waste my time.

Biggest Disappointment of the Half Season
Nominees: Eddie George, Randy Moss, Warren Sapp, Michael Vick

And the Davey Award goes to: Eddie George. It’s painful to watch. I appreciate everything about this guy, his work ethic, his talent, his effort and attitude. Too bad having to pick up the “Oilers” and carry them on his back year in and year out has finally caught up to him. He deserves better. If you saw Earl back in the day, you have a good idea what this could be leading to. He’s yet to rush for 100 yards in a game this year and at this rate, he’ll fall short of 1,000 for the season.

Biggest Idiot of the Half Season
Nominees: Terrell Owens, Damien Robinson, Deion Sanders, Fred Smoot

And the Davey Award goes to: Damien Robinson. Turley should have killed him. I can’t believe that he (Turley) was the only Saint that went after Robinson while he was kneeling on Aaron Brooks and twisting his head around by his facemask. And that a month after showing up in NYC with an assault rifle. Idiot.

Worst Trend of the Half Season
Nominees: Headlines that read, “Here’s the Story of a Man Named Brady”, playing “Hell’s Bells” between every play, putting a finger to your lips to quiet a road crowd after scoring

And the Davey Award goes to: Headlines that read, “Here’s the Story of a Man Named Brady”. It’s replaced, “HoustonÂ…We Have a Problem” as the single most overused and least imaginative headline EVER. I’m sure Tom Brady’s thrilled with it, too. Kudos to frequent Post Patterns contributor, texansin2002, who beat me to the punch on pointing this out.

Lamest Fans of the Half Season
Nominees: Dallas Cowboys, Oakland Raiders, The “Oilers”, Washington Redskins

And the Davey Award goes to: The “Oilers.” I was all set to give this one to the Cryboys fans for a record-extending 42nd year in a row. But Tennessee’s meltdown on Monday Night against the Ravens, and the resultant puling of “Oilers” fans in Nashpatch was simply too much for even the long time champions to overcome. Titan fans’ desperation for a win, any win, no matter how tainted, undeserved or illegal, over the Ravens has become so severe that I couldn’t deny them. Truly pathetic.

Worst Job of the Half Season
Nominees: Dallas Cryboys’ Special Teams Coach, Detroit Lions PR Director, Veterans Stadium Groundskeeper

And the Davey Award goes to: Dallas Cryboys’ Special Teams Coach. This is why: in case you missed it, not long ago, Ol’ Yella Teeth announced that he bought an arena football team. They unveiled the name, logo and colors. And the head coach, Joe Avezzano. Now, I knew Avezzano was the Cryboys’ Special Teams Coach and my first thought was, “Man, that’s gotta be embarrassing, being demoted from an NFL coaching position to run an expansion team in a gimmick league.” Turns out, it’s not a demotion, IT’S AN ADDITIONAL RESPONSIBILTY!!! You read that right, Jerry Jones is presiding over the operation of one of the worst teams in the NFL and he’s decided that having one his Special Teams Coach waste his time with an Arena League team is a good idea. “Hey, Joe, get my pretend football league team up and running and, if ya have some free time, see what you can do with these kicker guys!” Why do I have this feeling that the theme song from “The Benny Hill Show” is piped into the Cryboys offices?

The Deion Sanders, “Way Past His ‘Primetime'” Award
Nominees: Terry Allen, Bruce Matthews, Jerry Rice, Emmitt Smith

And the Davey Award goes to: Bruce Matthews. This one hurts. Bruce Matthews is arguably the greatest offensive lineman in the history of football. They should treat him like Gretzky and usher him right into the Hall of Fame the moment he retires. That why it is soooooo sad to watch him this year. He’s just getting pummeled out there. Odds are good that he’s gonna get “Ripkened” into the Pro Bowl again, but he sure isn’t worthy. Shoulda hung ’em up last year. I’ll mention that it’s as painful as watching Hakeem flounder around in purple Canadian pajamas if only to ensure that I drop the name of a superstar from the other three of the “Big Four” professional leagues.

Dave Sabo recently made the move from Laurel to Frederick (AKA Fredneck), MD where he spent every dime he owns (plus a whole lotta dimes he doesn’t) on a house. If you know of a good contractor, contact him at [email protected]. Rich Gannon Rich Gannon Return to Houston Pro Football If you have a question, comment or suggestion, contact Dave Catch up on past installments of The Armchair Quarterback