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15 Feb 2005

2004 Football Outsiders Award Winners

comments by Aaron Schatz

Once again, I would like to thank everyone who voted on the awards this season. Last year before we published the results of our awards voting, we had to explain that our readership was somewhat tilted in favor of New England fans because we got our first exposure on the website Boston Sports Media Watch.  This year it seems pretty clear -- starting with the very first award -- that our readers, like our writers, now represent a broad cross-section of NFL fans. The New England bias doesn't show up until the award for best independent football website.

You can read last year's award results here.

Who is your choice as Offensive MVP for 2004? (Last year's winner: Peyton Manning)


69.7% Peyton Manning
6.0% Tom Brady
6.0% Terrell Owens
4.7% Antonio Gates
4.7% Donovan McNabb
4.3% Corey Dillon
3.7% Daunte Culpepper
1.0% Muhsin Muhammad

Last year Manning won with about 35% of the vote; this year, he won with twice that. I had a couple people ask why I did not list Curtis Martin as a nominee. I decided that even though Martin had a great season, the fact that LaMont Jordan could ring up a higher DVOA was a good indicator that a lot of the value here was in the offensive line. Speaking of New York running backs, I left off Tiki Barber because the Giants faded in the second half, but he did have a great season.

Who is your choice as Defensive MVP for 2004? (Last year's winner: Ray Lewis)


32.7% Ed Reed
19.3% James Farrior
18.0% Tedy Bruschi
10.0% Julius Peppers
6.3% Rodney Harrison
5.3% Donnie Edwards
3.3% Takeo Spikes
2.7% Dwight Freeney
1.3% Aaron Smith
1.0% Antonio Pierce

And so, the torch is passed in Baltimore, and Ray Lewis goes from best defensive player to most overrated (see below).  I had a really hard time picking the nominees for this award -- at various times, the list also included Lewis, Richard Seymour, and Joey Porter.

Who is your choice as NFL Rookie of the Year for 2004? (Last year's winner: Anquan Boldin)


71.0% Ben Roethlisberger
11.7% Jonathan Vilma
9.7% Michael Clayton
2.7% Sean Taylor
2.0% Lee Evans
1.7% Julius Jones
0.7% Igor Olshansky
0.7% D.J. Williams

For the second straight year, an overwhelming single choice. I wanted to make sure Olshansky was listed because he's the kind of blocker-absorbing 3-4 lineman that we like to publicize at Football Outsiders. Someone pointed out that we should have had Kevin Jones of Detroit listed as well, that's my fault for forgetting him.

Who was the best offensive lineman of 2004? (Open question, top 12 listed) (Last year's winner: Jonathan Ogden)


24.4% Alan Faneca (G, PIT)
14.4% Mike Wahle (G, GB)
8.6% Kevin Mawae (C, NYJ)
7.7% Walter Jones (T, SEA)
6.2% Jeff Saturday (C, IND)
4.8% Hank Fraley (C, PHI)
4.3% Will Shields (G, KC)
4.3% Dan Koppen (C, NE)
3.8% Matt Light (T, NE)
2.4% Jonathan Ogden (T, BAL)
2.4% Willie Roaf (T, KC)
1.4% Orlando Pace (T, STL)

This year's winner didn't even make last year's top 12, while Damien Woody went from second to absent. We got votes for " the entire Kansas City line," "the entire Indianapolis line," and "anyone blocking for Emmitt Smith or Jerome Bettis."  Plus a vote for Willie McGinest from someone who is sincerely confused. It is interesting to have two guards lead the way, since they are usually seen as less important than tackles and centers.

Who is your choice for NFL Coach of the Year in 2004? (Last year's winner: Bill Belichick)


50.7% Bill Belichick
16.3% Marty Schottenheimer
10.7% Bill Cowher
9.3% Andy Reid
8.0% Jim Mora Jr.
5.0% John Fox

When you are regularly getting compared to Vince Lombardi, beating Marty Schottenheimer for this award is not difficult. I was surprised not to see more votes for Fox, who took an injury-riddled squad from a 1-7 start to the brink of the playoffs.

Who is your choice for the Keep Choppin' Wood award for 2004 (player who most hurt his team)? (Last year's winner: Keyshawn Johnson)


33.0% Ricky Williams
30.7% Mark Brunell
14.0% Koren Robinson
8.3% Eli Manning
4.7% Kevan Barlow
4.3% Martin Grammatica
3.7% Drew Bledsoe
1.3% Terrence Newman

Last year, when Keyshawn Johnson won this award, I wrote, "Football Outsiders readers agree -- It is worse to torpedo your team with a bad attitude than with poor performance."  This year, Football Outsiders readers agree -- It is worse to torpedo your team with no performance than with poor performance.

Who is your choice for the Keep Choppin' Wood award for the worst coach of 2004? (Last year's winner: Bill Callahan)


29.0% Mike Martz
25.0% Butch Davis
17.3% Dennis Green
13.7% Dennis Erickson
8.0% Dave Wannstedt
4.3% Mike Holmgren
2.7% Jon Gruden

Every time we write something bad about Mike Martz, there's a commenter who always shows up to defend him.  OK, come on back, man, here's another opportunity.  I'm not quite sure what I think about Martz personally. He clearly is a smart guy with a lot of interesting ideas, and he seems to do a good job handling the team, and just when you've decided he really is a good coach, the Rams will do something during the game so odd that you wonder what the heck Martz could be thinking. I voted for Butch Davis, who completely lost the Browns, but I also think that it was an embarrassment for that Seattle team -- loaded with talent and playing in the NFL's worst division -- to stumble into the playoffs at 9-7.

The most overrated offensive player in the NFL is: (open question, top 12 listed) (Last year's winner: Terrell Owens)


19.8% Michael Vick
14.5% Brett Favre
8.8% Randy Moss
7.6% Tom Brady
6.5% Peyton Manning
4.6% Clinton Portis
3.8% Terrell Owens
3.4% Ben Roethlisberger
2.3% Shaun Alexander
2.3% Keyshawn Johnson
1.9% Marshall Faulk
1.9% Daunte Culpepper

Um, could we have last year's answer back? Not only was Terrell Owens number one last year, Donovan McNabb was number three.  This year, they were not quite so overrated. Keyshawn Johnson apparently has fallen so far in publicity that he's no longer overrated -- everyone agrees he isn't great anymore. Interestingly, only one vote for an offensive lineman this year, Jonathan Ogden.  We got one vote for "any Denver running back."

The most overrated defensive player in the NFL is: (open question, top 12 listed) (Last year's winner: Warren Sapp)


55.0% Ray Lewis
10.1% Champ Bailey
7.4% Warren Sapp
6.2% Brian Urlacher
3.1% Dwight Freeney
1.9% Jevon Kearse
1.6% LaVar Arrington
1.2% Tedy Bruschi
1.2% Roy Williams
1.2% Charles Woodson
0.8% John Abraham
0.8% Michael Strahan

Last year I joked that we would be renaming this award in future seasons to the "Warren Sapp Most Overrated Defensive Player Award."  This year, Ray Lewis actually got a higher percentage of the vote than Sapp did last year.  I think that these two men represent different concepts of "overrated."  Sapp, a once-great player, is no longer very good.  Lewis, once the best defensive player in the NFL, was "just" a very good linebacker this season.  I do hope we can all agree that the guy is still an excellent player, especially in pursuit and tackling. But we're all so damn sick of him showing up on television all the time, miked up so we can hear his ridiculous in-game ramblings, and we just want him to go away. Champ Bailey didn't get a vote for this last season but he's second this year.  Other than Bailey replacing Junior Seau, the players in this year's top six were all in last year's top six.

The most underrated offensive player in the NFL is: (open question, top 12 listed) (Last year's winner: LaDainian Tomlinson)


5.8% Deion Branch
5.4% Tom Brady
5.4% Brian Westbrook
5.0% Curtis Martin
2.9% Tiki Barber
2.9% LaDainian Tomlinson
2.9% Hines Ward
2.5% Jake Delhomme
2.5% Warrick Dunn
2.5% Muhsin Muhammad
2.1% Nate Burleson
2.1% Jeff Saturday

These votes came in before the Super Bowl, which shows that a) our readers know what they are talking about and b) Branch probably will not be underrated anymore.  Tomlinson won this award last year with more than twice as many votes as Branch, a clear indicator that no single player stuck out as underrated this season. There was a vote for "the other San Diego running back."  That's Jesse Chatman. I joked before the season that nobody even could name the backup to Tomlinson, and then Chatman went out, gained roughly six yards per carry, and had a higher DVOA than his better-known teammate. So whoever voted for Chatman, good choice. (He's so underrated that when I posted this Tuesday afternoon, I called him "Jerome.") I liked the William Henderson vote also.

The most underrated defensive player in the NFL is: (open question, top 12 listed) (Last year's winner: Tedy Bruschi)


16.1% Tedy Bruschi (LB, NE)
6.8% Donnie Edwards (LB, SD)
4.7% Aaron Smith (DE, PIT)
3.0% Eugene Wilson (S, NE)
2.5% Sheldon Brown (CB, PHI)
2.5% Mike Vrabel (LB, NE)
2.5% Rodney "Dangerfield" Harrison (S, NE)
2.5% Shawn Springs (CB, WAS)
2.1% Keith Bulluck (LB, TEN)
2.1% Ed Hartwell (LB, BAL)
2.1% Antonio Pierce (LB, WAS)
2.1% Antoine Winfield (CB, MIN)

Bruschi runs away with this one for the second straight year, but I think after a feature article in Sports Illustrated followed by a cover appearance and a Pro Bowl selection as an injury replacement we can take Mr. Bruschi off the "underrated" list. We also learned from the Super Bowl that Eugene Wilson is, in fact, very underrated. My vote went to Keith Bulluck, who was the defensive version of Jake Delhomme, playing well as the entire unit around him crumbled due to injury. Another couple of lesser-known players getting multiple votes: Baltimore NT Kelly Gregg, Philadelphia DT Sam Rayburn, and San Diego DT Jamal Williams. Grady Jackson, much discussed on this website, only received a single vote -- which makes sense, as he was not as good this year as he was last year.

The most underrated special teams player in the NFL is: (open question, top 10 listed) (Last year's winner: Bethel Johnson)


14.1% David Akers (K. PHI)
7.8% Larry Izzo (coverage, NE)
6.3% Eddie Drummond (KR/PR, DET)
5.7% Allen Rossum (KR/PR, ATL)
3.1% Ike Reese (coverage, PHI)
2.8% Adam Vinatieri (K, NE)
2.5% Terrence McGee (KR/PR, BUF)
2.5% Sean Morey (coverage, PIT)
2.5% Bethel Johnson (KR, NE)
2.1% Tedy Bruschi (coverage, NE)

On one hand, I'm glad that everyone is drinking my Kool-Aid and recognizing that David Akers is, in fact, the best kicker in the NFL. On the other hand, it seems a bit weird to have an award called "most underrated" where the top seven vote-getters all were chosen for the Pro Bowl. (Rossum was the injury replacement for Drummond.) Cincinnati's Shayne Graham was the highest non-Pro Bowl kicker. No punters in the top ten, but a bunch of punters were tied right below, including Chris Gardocki, Dirk Johnson, Brad Maynard, and Brian Moorman.  Other coverage guys with multiple votes included Philadelphia's Roderick Hood (who does coverage and returns), Kansas City's Gary Stills, Philadelphia's Jason Short, and Pittsburgh's James Harrison.

Once again, no overrated special teams player awards, because special teams players are never really overrated.  Although given some of the press Dante Hall received this season, perhaps next year we'll need that award.

2004's biggest disappointment in fantasy football was: (Last year's winner: Rich Gannon)


30.7% Clinton Portis
17.3% Matt Hasselbeck
17.0% Kevan Barlow
13.3% Jamal Lewis
9.3% Marshall Faulk
7.7% Kellen Winslow
3.7% Duce Staley
1.0% Hines Ward

I'm not sure if anyone was as shocked as I was by Clinton Portis's bad year in Washington. Remember, I wrote an article before the season pointing out how a) Portis had stood head-and-shoulders above the rest of Denver's running backs, and b) Washington's run blocking was not as bad as people thought. Then the guy just went out and looked horrible for most of the season. Andre Johnson was listed, but didn't receive any votes, and Hines Ward only received a couple of votes. I thought they were both big disappointments in fantasy football (not actual football) because they had only six and four touchdowns respectively, far below the other top wideouts.

Player most likely to breakout in 2005 (open question, top 12 listed): (Last year's winner: Byron Leftwich)


9.9% Kellen Winslow
7.5% Stephen Jackson
7.1% Carson Palmer
6.7% Julius Jones
6.3% Eli Manning 
4.4% Larry Johnson
4.0% LaMont Jordan
3.6% Tatum Bell
2.8% Kevin Jones
2.4% Michael Clayton
2.4% Lee Evans
2.4% Ben Watson

Let the Winslow hype re-commence. I can't argue with the top four on the list. Most people know how I feel about Eli Manning. Yes, he had to face a lot of tough defenses, but his ceiling still looks like Testaverde or Bledsoe, not his brother. If LaMont Jordan actually does have the breakout year everyone has expected for so long, I'm going to have to figure out if it is actually written Lamont or LaMont. I have no idea how Willis McGahee didn't show up among the top vote-getters. For those who don't know the name, Ben Watson is the New England tight end, last year's first round pick, who was lost to injury in the first game of the year.

Some fun names that got votes: Chicago linebacker Lance Briggs, Pittsburgh running back Verron Haynes, Tennessee wideout Tyrone Calico, New England nose tackle Vince Wilfork (yep, he was really coming on at the end there), Washington quarterback Patrick Ramsey (not sure I see that one), and Arizona running back Marcel Shipp (who, as many people know, attended school in the sleepy west of the woody east, in a valley full of pioneers). We also got vote for "Any Denver RB" and "Free Jeff George."

Player most likely to significantly decline in 2005 (open question, top 12 listed): (Last year's winner: Jamal Lewis)


16.7% Curtis Martin
8.0% Brett Favre
7.6% Priest Holmes
7.6% Peyton Manning
6.8% Drew Brees
4.4% Marshall Faulk
4.4% Edgerrin James
4.4% Ben Roethlisberger
4.0% Jerome Bettis
3.2% Ray Lewis
2.8% Muhsin Muhammad
2.4% Shaun Alexander

One of the big trends of 2004 was the resistance to aging among many top running backs and wide receivers. In general, running backs peak at 28 and wide receivers at 30, but the top running backs included Martin, Holmes, Tiki Barber, and Corey Dillon, while the top wide receivers included Muhammad, Joe Horn, Isaac Bruce, Jimmy Smith, Marvin Harrison, Eddie Kennison, and of course Terrell Owens. And Jerome Bettis had a comeback unmatched in NFL history. I'm sure you'll see some more research on this in our Pro Football Prospectus 2005 book, but my best guess is that age will take its toll in these players next year. So this list of declining players makes total sense. Manning, of course, is on the list because you can't really get much better than "best passing season ever."

Which of the following teams is most likely next year's surprise Super Bowl contender?


27.0% Cincinnati
25.0% Washington
12.7% Detroit
12.7% Houston
6.3% Arizona
6.0% Chicago
3.7% New York Giants
3.3% Cleveland
2.3% Miami
1.0% Oakland

The first two sound about right to me. I'm personally sick of waiting for the current Houston core to get its act together. Michael David Smith is personally sick of waiting for Matt Millen to quit in Detroit. I would have put Miami higher; as I've said numerous times, they are a running back and five offensive linemen away from 10-6.

Which of the following teams is most likely to decline in 2005?


31.7% Green Bay
13.0% Pittsburgh
11.3% Seattle
11.0% San Diego
9.7% Atlanta
8.3% Denver
6.3% New England
4.7% Indianapolis
2.3% New York Jets
1.7% Philadelphia

Wow, that's a resounding answer. I thought this was the last shot for the current Green Bay core, which is really getting up there in age, so I can't really argue with the choice of the readers. Pittsburgh also makes a lot of sense -- even if you win another division title, it is hard to go 15-1 for two straight seasons. I was a bit surprised how few people chose the New York Jets, who play in a difficult division and have a 32-year-old running back as their main offensive weapon.

If you ran the Miami Dolphins, taking into account the cost of each of these players in salary or a draft pick, who would you want as your starting running back in 2005:


18.7% Edgerrin James (free agent)
16.7% Shaun Alexander (free agent)
13.7% LaMont Jordan (free agent)
11.7% Travis Henry (trade bait)
10.0% Cedric Benson (draft)
9.7% Najeh Davenport (free agent)
8.7% Cadillac Williams (draft)
7.7% Rudi Johnson (free agent)
2.3% Reuben Droughns (trade bait)
1.0% Ronnie Brown (draft)

Eight of the ten choices here got more than a handful of votes, with the plurality of Football Outsiders readers sending Edge home to Miami.

Last year, we asked a different question: "If your team needed a new starting quarterback for 2004, and you couldn't take one in the draft, which quarterback would you want?" The winner with 36.4% of the vote was Mark Brunell, so our readers would have made the same mistake Joe Gibbs did.  Drew Brees finished fifth behind Kurt Warner, Marc Bulger, and Tim Couch.

Who is the best national football columnist? (Last year's winner: Peter King)


29.7% Paul Zimmerman (Dr.Z), SI.com
22.7% Gregg Easterbrook (TMQ), NFL.com
16.2% Len Pasquarelli, ESPN.com
10.3% Peter King, SI.com
8.6% John Clayton, ESPN.com
7.0% Chris Mortensen, ESPN.com
2.7% Don Banks, SI.com
1.6% Vic Carucci, NFL.com
1.1% Dan Pompei, FOX/SportingNews.com
0.0% Pete Prisco, CBS Sportsline.com

This year's surprise is not that Dr. Z finished the highest for this question but that Peter King dropped from first place to a distant fourth. I'm curious to hear from our readers, in the comments below, why they think votes for King fell so sharply. I don't really think he's doing anything different, so I am guessing that this is less an issue of "he's no good anymore" and more an issue of "MMQB is always the same." I still enjoy MMQB as much as always, but if you are one of the people who does not, what would you recommend to King to help him to make his columns fresh again?

Last year, we left out TMQ because of our relationship with Gregg Easterbrook. Last January, we were still seeing a lot of traffic from people who had come to our site when we hosted Gregg's column for two weeks. Our readership is less TMQ-focused this year so we included Gregg among the nominees for 2004.  We did continue to leave out Bill Simmons and King Kaufman because they cover all sports, not just football.

Len Pasquarelli once again gets more votes than his ESPN.com compatriots. He's such a great reporter, I really wonder why they don't ever use him on television.

Which is the best announcing team in the NFL? (top 8 listed) (Last year's winner: Buck/Aikman/Collinsworth)


21.6% John Madden and Al Michaels, ABC
14.6% Dick Stockton and Daryl Johnson, FOX
14.6% Jim Nantz and Phil Simms, CBS
11.4% Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, and Chris Collinsworth, FOX
10.8% Ian Eagle and Solomon Wilcots, CBS
5.4% Ron Pitts and Tim Ryan, FOX
4.3% Randy Cross and Kevin Harlan, CBS
4.3% Mike Patrick, Paul Maguire, and Joe Theismann, ESPN

You would have to figure that ABC is happy to have the most popular broadcast team getting the big prime time national exposure. I've heard a lot of comments this year along the lines of, "Madden was really rejuvenated this season." Stockton and Johnson are notable because they don't just get lots of positive votes, they also get very few negative votes. CBS probably should raise the profile of Eagle and Wilcots. 4.3% of our readers are on crack, as you are about to see...

Which is the worst announcing team in the NFL? (top 8 listed) (Last year's winner: Patrick/Maguire/Theismann)


56.8% Mike Patrick, Paul Maguire, and Joe Theismann, ESPN
9.7% Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, and Chris Collinsworth, FOX
8.6% John Madden and Al Michaels, ABC
7.0% Dan Dierdorf and Dick Enberg, CBS
3.8% Sam Rosen and Bill Maas, FOX
2.2% Kenny Albert and Brian Baldinger, FOX
2.2% Jim Nantz and Phil Simms, CBS
1.6% Randy Cross and Kevin Harlan, CBS

Last year, ESPN's Sunday Night crew won with about 30% of the vote.  This year they had about twice that.  I have never seen this crew lauded anywhere. When will ESPN get the hint and make a change?

Who is the best Sunday morning pre-game personality? (top 8 listed)


16.2% Chris Berman, ESPN
14.6% Boomer Esiason, CBS
13.0% Steve Young, ESPN
11.4% Tom Jackson, ESPN
10.3% Terry Bradshaw, FOX
9.7% Howie Long, FOX
6.5% Shannon Sharpe, CBS
4.3% Greg Gumbel, CBS

I keep reading articles where people complain about Berman and say that his schtick has gotten old and stale but I don't see it. There are a lot of sports reporters who don't really seem to enjoy what they do. Berman is clearly having fun and he loves sports, and it comes across when he's on the air. Our readers -- or at least, a plurality of our readers -- seem to agree. (Then again, maybe I'm biased because I followed in Berman's footsteps as morning sports reporter for Providence radio station WBRU.) Steve Young is the Stockton/Johnson of pre-game personalities, with almost no votes in the next category to go with his third place performance in this category.

By the way, the category was "Sunday" pre-game personality because otherwise Ron Jaworski would have won in a landslide for Monday Night Countdown.

Who is the worst Sunday morning pre-game personality?


27.0% Michael Irvin, ESPN
17.3% Shannon Sharpe, CBS
13.5% Terry Bradshaw, FOX
8.6% Dan Marino, CBS
7.0% Boomer Esiason, CBS
5.4% Chris Berman, ESPN
4.9% Mike Ditka, ESPN
4.9% Tom Jackson, ESPN

When I first looked at these results, I was a little worried that our readers would come off as a bit racist. But most everyone likes Tom Jackson, so I don't think that's the issue. Irvin and Sharpe were both hired for the same reason -- to be boisterous and controversial. They succeed. That usually translates into ratings, as ABC learned with Howard Cosell once upon a time. Those of us who are annoyed, well, we've always got Jimmy Johnson, who received very few votes for either best or worst pre-game personality.

The best commercial during NFL games this year was:


49.7% Visa's Peyton Manning ("Cut that meat!")
11.9% Bud Light's response to the Miller Lite Beer Refs
11.4% Nike's "The Michael Vick Experience"
10.8% Budweiser's Leon explains why he did not deserve a false start penalty
9.7% NFL.com fantasy football ("I'm Peyton Manning, and this is what I play for" [holds up 2 inch FFL trophy])
6.5% Miller Lite Beer Refs

I'm a bit surprised.  I liked the Manning ad but I thought the Vick ad was the best of the year, hands down.  Perhaps it would have received more votes if the actual Michael Vick Experience had included more complete passes. We didn't ask this question last year, but Coors Light's "Wingman" would have probably won by acclamation.

The most annoying commercial during NFL games this year was: (Last year's winner: "anything mentioning a hemi")


43.8% Anything even remotely connected to erectile disfunction
19.5% Visa's Brentson Buckner kisses his shoes
13.5% Mr. Wendy
9.2% Miller Lite Beer Refs
7.0% Visa's Pickle Power
3.2% T-Mobile "Born Free" with fat guy ripping off his shirt
2.2% Bud Light "Extenda-Arm"
1.6% NFL Network's "Big Man Dance Challenge"

America has spoken, and our penises are fine, really.  Personally, I've just blocked the ED ads out of my mind altogether, but Mr. Wendy might be the most annoying corporate spokesman of all time and Brentson Buckner creeps me out. Watch out if you discuss this category in the comments, or the spam filter will be unhappy.

Other than Football Outsiders, what is the best independent football site on the Web (i.e. not ESPN.com, SI.com, NFL.com, CBS Sportsline, FOX/Sporting News)? (top 8 listed) (Last year's winner: Pro Football Prospectus)

No percentages here, since roughly three out of every four ballots left this question blank.  From both emails I've received mentioning them all season, and from these votes, it is clear that Mike Florio's Pro Football Talk grew significantly in popularity this year. Good to see all the support for our friend William Krasker and his Football Commentary site that analyzes coaching decisions. Along with the votes from Patriots fans for Cold Hard Football Facts, we got a vote for "any site except for Cold Hard Football Facts." Last year's winner, Pro Football Prospectus, has reverted to the name Football Project, and votes for both are counted as Football Project. Pro Football Prospectus is now, oddly enough, us.

Which local NFL writer do you feel deserves a more national profile? (top 8 listed)

We didn't ask this question last year so we weren't sure what the answers would look like.  We ended up only getting multiple votes for a few writers, including:

  • Tom Curran, Providence Journal
  • Michael Felger, Boston Herald
  • Rick Gosselin, Dallas Morning Herald
  • Mark Maske, Washington Post
  • Curt Sylvester, Detroit Free Press (who is soon retiring, unfortunately)

Felger of course also won TMQ's "Bad Predictions of the Year" award. A few people voted for me, which was awfully nice, but I'm not really a local NFL writer.  Not that I wouldn't take the phone call if Joe Sullivan, sports editor of the Boston Globe, wanted to give me a ring.

Which was the worst alternate uniform of 2003? (Last year's winner: Miami's orange jerseys)


38.4% Cincinnati alternate orange jerseys
26.5% New York Giants red jerseys
19.5% Chicago Thanksgiving orange jerseys
15.7% Baltimore's all black uniform

I wonder how many votes we would have gotten if we had just listed the regular Cincinnati uniforms.  All of them, probably.

The funniest moment of the NFL season was: (Last year's winner: Joe Namath's pass at Suzy Kolber)


41.1% Boomer Esiason dismisses Peyton Manning as
"this generation's Dan Marino"
with Dan Marino sitting right next to him

14.1% Aaron Brooks' backwards pass to nobody
13.5% Terrell Owens does the Ray Lewis dance
9.2% Catfight between two Playmates over Jeff Garcia
7.0% Former Oakland Raider Cole Ford shoots at Sigfried and Roy's house
6.5% Ricky Williams on 60 Minutes
5.4% Scam artist convinces Donovan McNabb and Darrell Green among others, that he is James Thrash, and gets money out of them
2.2% The Mike Ditka for U.S. Senate bandwagon
1.1% Keyshawn Johnson says he wants to "spank" Pam Oliver
0.0% Randy Moss and the multitude of Minnesota Viking afros

The funniest moment of the season didn't happen until the playoffs, making the CBS pre-game show must-see television next season. At what point will Dan Marino just reach over and throttle Esiason? I voted for Ricky Williams on 60 Minutes. The staff cartoonist is very, very disappointed that nobody chose the afros.

Now, some notes on some of the Outsiders-related questions at the end of the awards.

We had some technical requests. Printable versions of the articles were supposed to come in the last redesign and we could never quite get them to work, so we'll keep plugging away and hopefully this will be ready for next year. It's the number one thing on the site "to do" list. We had a complaint that too many comments make columns take forever to load on a dial-up modem; printable versions will hopefully solve that also if they are comment-free. Then again, some people want to print comments also.

(Speaking of technical issues, I think it is safe to say the 2004 redesign was a resounding success. This is where I get to thank Benjy Rose again for all his hard work on the website and point out to you, the readers, that if you need a website designed you should check out his company B:Complex Creative. It is one of the best ways you can help FO while also helping yourself.)

A couple people noted the Javascript error on the front page. That's not us, actually, that's Amazon's donations box on the bottom left of the page. We got rid of it for a while but we needed people to be able to make donations through Amazon. We're trying to figure this one out because we're as annoyed with it as you are.

We had a couple requests for more new metrics other than just DVOA. That's definitely on the summer to do list. We also had a couple requests for better explanations of our work for the average reader. We're always looking for ways to explain things better so if you have any constructive ideas please email us. You would be surprised how often we do something suggested by a random reader. Remember that you'll find the basic explanations for the stats on the drop down menus, click on "Our New Stats Explained" under JUST THE STATS.

We had a couple people asking about getting our statistics for doing their own research. I've noted this a few times, but I'm hesitant to give out the whole ball of wax. However, if you have a specific issue you want to research, please contact me and I'll try to get you whatever data will help you with your project, as long as you'll submit your results as a guest column. The offseason is a great time for guest columns, by the way, so please feel free to send us your ideas or even your fully written submissions for consideration.

One reader said that he has traced his problems with spyware and pop-ups back to Football Outsiders. That's the first time we've heard of anything like that. If anyone else has a problem with this, please let us know, but we don't have any spyware or pop-ups on the site so I am not sure why someone has traced them back to us.

These was a question at the end asking about reader interest in possible premium content for next year, and in the open comment space we got a couple of remarks along the lines of, "Of course, you guys did a deal with Baseball Prospectus, now everything is going to cost money." That's not true, so just to clarify:

1) We're not talking about changing things so any current content costs money.  We're talking about additional content, above and beyond what we've done so far, that would cost a subscription fee. All the regular weekly features from 2004 would remain free in 2005.

2) Introducing premium content has nothing to do with our deal with Baseball Prospectus. It has everything to do with the cost of preschool. In fact, I'm not quite sure of the family situations of the guys over at Baseball Prospectus but I wouldn't be surprised if their introduction of premium content wasn't also due to the cost of preschool. Preschool, food, clothes -- this parenting thing is expensive, and this is my living now.

Speaking of which, this is the second week of my postseason de-stressing vacation, so I'm going to get back to that. (These awards results are the one thing I'm writing during these two weeks.) Thanks again to everyone for making this such an amazing season of growth for us, and we look forward to filling the spring and summer with good football talk as well. Make sure you add yourself to our email notification list -- we'll be sending out emails once per week to keep everyone informed about all our offseason content.

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 15 Feb 2005

1 comment, Last at 14 Aug 2005, 12:05am by Roman

Comments

1
by Roman (not verified) :: Sun, 08/14/2005 - 12:05am

I'm shocked that Fred Taylor didn't even rank in the top dozen in the fantasy busts category. The guy was my top pick last season, and I actually benched him for most of the latter third of the season, in favor of Michael Pittman and Larry Johnson.