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October 25, 2000
The Davey Awards
by Dave Sabo

Yeah, it’s midseason and like every sportswriter in America, I’m taking the easy way out and writing a First Half Awards (which I’ve cleverly named after myself) column in lieu of doing any real writing. So, here’s to the best and worst of the first half of the 2000 NFL season. Enjoy!

Midseason MVP, Offense
NOMINEES: Marshall Faulk, Jeff Garcia, Brian Griese, Kurt Warner

And the Davey Award goes to: Kurt Warner. Please. While Faulk’s 1,182 yards from scrimmage would lock up the award in any normal season, Warner is on track to, not just break, but shatter every passing record known to man. I should say Warner WAS on track to shatter every passing record known to man. The broken finger he suffered on Sunday should prevent him from making a mockery of the record book.

Midseason MVP, Defense

NOMINEES: Trace Armstrong, Sam Cowart, Bruce Smith, Brian Urlacher

And the Davey Award goes to: Brian Urlacher. The only bright spot on a woefully underachieving Bears team that many experts predicted would make the playoffs, Urlacher is making quite a name for himself. Amongst league leaders with 57 tackles and a top pass rusher (7 sacks), Urlacher is an early favorite for Rookie of the Year.

Rookie of the Half Season, Offense

NOMINEES: Mike Anderson, Plaxico Burress, Ron Dayne, Chris Samuels

And the Davey Award goes to: Mike Anderson. The fact that Anderson stepped in and excelled immediately may say more about Denver’s overall running game (and the lack of impact players in last year’s draft) than Anderson’s talents as a runner.  Still, this season’s Olandis Gary should have Terrell Davis worried about his future in Colorado. Unfortunately, salary dictates that Davis return as starter once he’s healthy.

Rookie of the Half Season, Defense

NOMINEES: Courtney Brown, Keith Bullock, Brian Urlacher

And the Davey Award goes to: Brian Urlacher. See Midseason MVP, Defense

Coach of the Half Season
NOMINEES: Jeff Fisher, Dennis Green, Al Groh, Dave Wannstedt

And the Davey Award goes to: Dennis Green. If for no other reason than he was right about Duante Culpepper. So far, he’s done everything right and has a highly motivated 7-0 team. What other head coach can say the same?

Best Team

NOMINEES: Minnesota Vikings, Oakland Raiders, St. Louis Rams, Tennessee Titans

And the Davey Award goes to: the St. Louis Rams. This was a no-brainer until last Sunday. Still, despite the debacle in KC, the Rams were the best team of the first half. It remains to be seen what effect the injuries to Warner and Faulk will mean to their Super Bowl aspirations.

Most Improved Player

NOMINEES: Tiki Barber, Joe Horn, Lamar Smith, Rickey Williams

And the Davey Award goes to: Rickey Williams. Without Ditka forcing Rickey to play through injuries and justify his blowing the Saints entire future, Williams has become the runner that Longhorn fans knew he was. He looks much more at ease and any animosity that developed between he and his teammates in the off-season seems to have been left in the past.

Biggest Surprise

NOMINEES: Mike Anderson, Jeff Garcia, New Orleans’ defense, Melissa Stark

And the Davey Award goes to: Jeff Garcia. Anybody who says that they started this guy on their fantasy team on opening day is lying. With the injury to Warner, Garcia is now a contender for MVP as he has put up great numbers and has managed to make a sorry 49ers squad (deemed the worst in the League by many experts) look somewhat less than atrocious.

Worst Team

NOMINEES: Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, Dallas Cowboys, San Diego Chargers

And the Davey Award goes to: the Cincinnati Bengals. They’ve set the standard for bad over the last decade. The League is considering installing a “salary floor” to try to force them to be better. No, really. Before last Sunday, they averaged about 6 points a game, had been shutout three times and ranked 31st in total offense. The upset of Denver is pretty much the definition of the word “anomaly” 


Biggest Disappointment

NOMINEES: LaVar Arrington, Jevon Kearse, Deion Sanders, Chicago Bears

And the Davey Award goes to: Jevon Kearse. How overrated is this guy?! “The Freak”?  More like “The Fluke”. The word is that he relies far too much on his quickness, doesn’t like getting physical and generally plays soft. Anybody see him get absolutely demolished by Jimmy Smith last Monday night? Titans fans are already whining that he’s being multiple-teamed, but that’s never stopped truly great pass rushers like Reggie White, Bruce Smith, Warren Sapp, etc. And it’d be a cold day in hell when one of those guys got rocked by a freakin’ wide receiver. 

Biggest Idiot

NOMINEES: Terrell Owens, George Teague, Emmitt Smith, Dan Snyder

And the Davey Award goes to:  George Teague. Terrell and Emmitt had this one all sewn up with their bush league antics at the Stadium at Arlington. That is until Teague one-upped them with his cowardly cheap shot on Owens. Honorable mention goes out to any Cryboy fans that consider Teague’s thuggery “heroic”.

Worst Game

NOMINEES: Baltimore at Cleveland, Week 5; Baltimore at Washington, Week 7; Philadelphia at Green Bay, Week 3; San Diego at Oakland Week 1

And the Davey Award goes to: Philadelphia 3 at Green Bay 6, Week 3  Just plain boring. I would actually consider watching the ridiculous and meaningless-to-anybody-outside-of –NYC Subway Series rather than this yawnfest.

Worst Trend

NOMINEES: “Who Let the Dogs Out?”, dunking footballs as endzone celebration, special teamers that celebrate like idiots after making a tackle on a return man that just broke one for about 50 yards, young quarterbacks thinking “run” first

And the Davey Award goes to: Who Let the Dogs Out? A better question is who let Baha Men record this tripe? This season’s “Macarena” sucks on so many levels. I get the feeling that every marketing guy in the NFL is currently taking credit for “discovering” this abomination.

Lamest Fans

NOMINEES: Dallas Cowboys, Oakland Raiders, Tennessee Titans, Washington Redskins

And the Davey Award goes to:  For a record setting 41st season in a row, Dallas Cryboys fans. While it was very tempting to give it to those front-runners in Nashville that are under the impression that they invented painting your face, yelling real loud and selling out a stadium, the Cryboys fans legacy of lameness was simply too much to overcome. Face it, nobody in the NFL front runs, whines or excuse makes as much as Cryboys fans.

The Deion Sanders, “Way Past His ‘Primetime'” Award

NOMINEES: Deion Sanders, Reggie White, Irving Fryar, Jerry Rice

And the Davey Award goes to: Deion Sanders. This one is so obvious that I’ve named the award after him. Whether he’s losing his return job to James Thrash or getting burned on a deep ball his overblown ego still refuses to allow him to admit that he should have hung ’em up a couple of years ago.

So, there ya go! Your 2000 Davey Award winners! Let’s hear it for ’em!

Dave Sabo is an Archives Specialist with the National Archives and Records Administration. A native of Spring, TX and a life-long Oiler fan now languishing in the heart of Redskins country (Laurel, MD), Dave is utterly convinced that new ‘Skins owner, Daniel Snyder, is, indeed, the anti-Christ.

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