Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

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Bill Connelly again looks at which college football teams the F/+ ratings are sure about, and which teams remain a mystery (led by Appalachian State).

14 Feb 2008

2007 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

comments by Doug Farrar

This is our fifth year of doing the Football Outsiders awards. Every year we get a great mix of the expected and the unexpected, and this year is no exception. Once again, I would like to thank everyone who voted on the awards. Today, we'll look at the on-field voting, and next week we'll look at the questions about broadcasters and commercials and so forth.

You will find links to each of the previous FO Awards articles on this page.

Who is your choice as Offensive MVP for 2007? (Last year's winner: LaDainian Tomlinson)

59.5% Tom Brady
22.6% Randy Moss
8.8% Brian Westbrook
4.1% Brett Favre
2.1% David Garrard
1.8% Peyton Manning
0.5% Tony Romo
0.5% Terrell Owens

Late-season and postseason struggles aside, Brady's 2007 was an absolute wonder. A DPAR of 200.2 for a quarterback is so beyond the pale, it's almost impossible to get one's head around how impressive it is. Let's try this: Peyton Manning put up DPAR seasons of over 170 in 2004 (170.1 in his 49-touchdown season) and 2006 (175.0 in his Super Bowl season). In DPAR terms, Brady's 2007 season was almost a full 2007 Todd Collins season (29.0) above Peyton Manning's 2006 season. That's just ridiculous.

Who is your choice as Defensive MVP for 2007? (Last year's winner: Jason Taylor)

41.6% Albert Haynesworth
25.2% Bob Sanders
7.4% Pat Williams
5.9% Jared Allen
5.0% Osi Umenyiora
4.2% DeMarcus Ware
3.4% James Harrison
3.2% Nnamdi Asomugha
2.2% Asante Samuel
2.0% Trent Cole

Neither 2006 MVP made the 2007 lists, though both Tomlinson and Taylor had good seasons. Haynesworth, like fellow elite tackles Marcus Tubbs and Tommie Harris, has a greatness that is almost measured more by how his defense does in his absence. The Titans lost all three contests Haynesworth missed with a hamstring injury and gave up an average of 160 rushing yards, having allowed 95.5 per game overall. Nice contract year! Sanders, of course, already has his well-deserved payday. Allen, Samuel and Asomugha are also in line for big bucks.

(Note: This Seahawks observer was looking for the Lofa Tatupu radio button that wasn't there).

(Ed. note: When I couldn't decide between listing Tatupu or Patrick Kerney, I decided to list Asomugha instead. I didn't want to list two teammates in the defensive award, figuring it would split the votes more than it would in the offensive award. -- Aaron)

Who is your choice as NFL Rookie of the Year for 2007? (Last year's winner: Marques Colston)

52.2% Joe Thomas
34.9% Adrian Peterson
9.0% Patrick Willis
1.5% Tony Ugoh
2.5% (four other candidates)

After reviewing Cleveland's offensive line in this article, Thomas' value became very clear. The Wisconsin grad was part of a perfect storm -- the acquisition of Eric Steinbach gave him one of the NFL's best guards to fire out with, Derek Anderson's ascent gave the Cleveland line the benefit of a quarterback with a release about 50 times quicker than Charlie Frye's, and Thomas' own superior work ethic and technique allowed him the best possible college-to-pro transition. No doubt that Peterson was the NFL's highlight reel champ in 2007, but who would you rather have if you were building a team?

Who was the best offensive lineman of 2007? (open question, two votes per ballot, top 12 listed) (Last year's winner: Marcus McNeill)

21.2% Joe Thomas (LT, CLE)
16.7% Logan Mankins (LG, NE)
12.2% Matt Light (LT, NE)
9.0% Steve Hutchinson (LG, MIN)
7.1% Jason Peters (LT, BUF)
4.9% Chris Snee (RG, NYG)
4.1% Jeff Saturday (C, IND)
2.5% Flozell Adams (LT, DAL)
2.3% Walter Jones (LT, SEA)
2.1% Dan Koppen (C, NE)
1.6% Tony Ugoh (LT, IND)
1.5% Mark Tauscher (RT, GB)

Little surprise here. McNeill struggled in his sophomore campaign, though linemate Kris Dielman went to the Pro Bowl. Thomas was followed by two Patriots whose reputations took a hit in the Super Bowl at the hands of New York's dominant defensive line, and Adrian Peterson's main roadgrader in Hutchinson. Other candidates: "Anyone not on the Steelers", someone named "DeMarcur Ware" (who apparently plays both ways), and "NFL refs who didn't call holding in 2007".

Who is your choice for NFL Coach of the Year in 2007? (Last year's winner: Lovie Smith)

50.6% Bill Belichick
19.2% Mike McCarthy
10.4% Romeo Crennel
8.4% Jack Del Rio
6.2% Jeff Fisher
2.7% Tony Dungy
1.8% Tom Coughlin
0.7% Wade Phillips

Oh, goody. Let's just say this: Congratulations to McCarthy, Crennel, Coughlin and Del Rio for making this list and surprising a lot of people. It's difficult to know what to say about Belichick at this point with so much still unknown, except that we're pretty sure he's never injected anything into Roger Clemens' butt.

Who is your choice for the Keep Choppin' Wood Award for 2007 (player who most hurt his team)? (Last year's winner: Ben Roethlisberger)

46.8% Michael Vick
27.8% Jason David
18.5% Shaun Alexander
3.7% Warren Sapp
2.0% Boone Stutz
1.3% Darrell Jackson

Boone Stutz: the best-known unemployed long snapper in the biz.

Who is your choice for the Keep Choppin' Game Film Award for the worst coach of 2007? (Last year's winner: Art Shell)

66.4% Bobby Petrino
13.5% Brian Billick
9.3% Cam Cameron
5.5% Mike Nolan
4.3% Scott Linehan
1.0% John Fox

Not one film-chopper from 2006 made it this year; one of them won the Super Bowl. This time, "Sooey!" trumps "Ookie" in Falcon-destroying responsibility, which is just about right. Bashing Billick is tough, since his team went 13-3 in 2006, and lost three 2007 games in agonizing fashion -- the Rex Ryan time-out game against the Patriots, the crossbar game against the Browns, and the 64-yard Greg Camarillo overtime touchdown reception that kept the Dolphins from a winless season. Billick having been fired, the Ravens were obviously seeking KCGF continuity when they hired Cameron to be their new offensive coordinator.

Who is your choice for the Bill Arnsparger Award for Coordinator of the Year? (Last year's winner: Rob Ryan)

19.3% Steve Spagnuolo, NYG defense
18.3% Josh McDaniels, NE offense
18.3% Jim Schwartz, TEN defense
12.7% Rob Chudzinski, CLE offense
7.8% Jason Garrett, DAL offense
6.9% Dirk Koetter, JAC offense
6.3% Ron Meeks, IND defense
5.1% Monte Kiffin, TB defense
3.6% John Marshall, SEA defense
1.2% Dick LeBeau, PIT defense

The only assistant to make our list of nominees in both 2006 and 2007 was McDaniels, who just snuck in last year with 0.6 percent of the vote.

Who is your choice for the Art Rooney Jr. Award for Executive(s) of the Year? (Last year's winner: Mickey Loomis)

57.2% Scott Pioli/Bill Belichick, NE
14.3% Phil Savage, CLE
11.6% Ted Thompson, GB
7.6% Jerry Reese, NYG
4.7% Bill Polian, IND
4.6% A.J. Smith, SD

Hard to argue with the moves they made. The challenge comes now, with on- and off-field concerns. Savage was rewarded for his commitment to get his offensive line right. Thompson was vindicated after a rough rebuilding time. Reese and his scouting department were especially savvy with their lower-round picks

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

9.7% Tony Romo
9.3% Shaun Alexander
8.7% Reggie Bush
6.5% Brett Favre
6.3% Willie Parker
5.5% Tom Brady
5.3% Vince Young
4.6% Wes Welker
4.2% Jeremy Shockey
3.2% Terrell Owens
3.0% Chad Johnson
2.2% LaDainian Tomlinson

Well, he did finish sixth in DPAR for quarterbacks and set single-season franchise records for passing yards, completions and touchdown passes. Perhaps it's less that he's overrated and more that we're sick of the Cabo Wabo stuff, and all the other ancillary stories. As for Alexander, don't you have to be rated to be overrated?

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

19.4% Ray Lewis
19.2% Roy Williams
8.3% Al Harris
5.8% Shawne Merriman
4.1% Brian Urlacher
4.1% Rodney Harrison
3.7% DeAngelo Hall
3.3% Champ Bailey
2.7% Michael Strahan
2.7% Tedy Bruschi
2.5% Bob Sanders
2.5% Dwight Freeney

That's four straight for Sir Lord Baltimore, though Commander Horsecollar is closing fast. Watch your back, Ray! The votes for Al Harris may be confusing "overrated" with "having an off-year," although I guess we won't know for sure until we see if there is a second off-year.

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

9.9% Brian Westbrook
7.0% Kevin Faulk
6.1% Bobby Engram
4.9% Andre Johnson
4.5% David Garrard
4.0% Joe Thomas
2.6% Marion Barber
2.3% Fred Taylor
2.1% Lawrence Vickers
1.9% Wes Welker
1.6% Ronnie Brown
1.6% Marques Colston

Westbrook's best season yet -- and while his underrated status is difficult to argue, it's amazing how every running back in the draft that has caught more than 50 passes in his career is referred to as a "Westbrook type".

The most underrated defensive player in the NFL is:

Hey, remember last year when we screwed up "underrated defensive player?" Guess what -- we forgot to fix what screwed it up last year. Whoops. Once again, all the votes in this category were lost somewhere in the series of tubes that make up the Interwebs.

We swear we've fixed this for future years. Really. the meantime, an informal poll of FO writers put Falcons linebacker Michael Boley on top, followed by various votes for Aaron Smith, Derrick Johnson, Barrett Ruud, Leroy Hill, Rob Meier, Akin Ayodele, Roderick Hood, Nnamdi Asomugha, Kirk Morrison, and Fakhir Brown.

The most overrated special teams player in the NFL is: (open question, top 10 listed) (Last year's winner: Dante Hall)

59.2% Adam Vinatieri
10.9% Devin Hester
7.5% Dante Hall
2.9% Larry Izzo
1.7% Nick Folk
1.5% Jeff Feagles
1.5% Ted Ginn
1.5% Neil Rackers
1.2% Nate Kaeding
1.0% Chris Hanson

Doink! Note to various voters: RoboPunter is neither over- nor under-rated. RoboPunter simply is.

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

9.7% Kelley Washington (coverage, NE)
9.1% Stephen Gostkowski (K, NE)
4.9% Josh Brown (K, SEA)
4.9% Mike Scifres (P, SD)
3.2% Leon Washington (returns, NYJ)
2.9% Mason Crosby (K, GB)
2.3% Nate Burleson (returns, SEA)
2.3% Brian Moorman (P, BUF)
2.3% Darren Sproles (returns, SD)
2.3% David Tyree (coverage, NYG)

Remember, players who made this season's Pro Bowl did not qualify for this category. On the same day that Washington officially took this award, it was announced that the Patriots would not be picking up his $4 million option bonus. We'll be selling "Free Kelley Washington" t-shirts in the lobby.

Player most likely to breakout in 2008 (open question, top 12 listed): (Last year's winner: Matt Leinart)

4.8% Jay Cutler
4.6% Calvin Johnson
4.4% Jerious Norwood
3.7% Anthony Gonzalez
3.4% Michael Turner
3.0% Matt Leinart
2.8% Ahmad Bradshaw
2.8% D.J. Hackett
2.8% Brady Quinn
2.8% Sidney Rice
2.5% Santonio Holmes
2.5% Vincent Jackson

We've never had quite so many different players listed in this category, with nobody getting more than five percent of the vote. We're starting to wonder if Hackett isn't the individual version of the Arizona Cardinals, that eternal breakout pick that never quite happens. Matt Leinart may end up being the individual version of the Arizona Cardinals who actually plays for the Arizona Cardinals. We got a vote for "Steve Smith (Carolina)" from somebody who seems to be confusing "breakout" with "rebound," and one vote for Eli Manning, who apparently didn't break out last season.

Player most likely to significantly decline in 2008 (open question, top 10 listed): (Last year's winner: Larry Johnson)

15.5% Brett Favre
10.9% Tom Brady
9.8% Randy Moss
7.2% LaDainian Tomlinson
6.3% Willie Parker
4.8% Derek Anderson
4.1% Jamal Lewis
3.3% Terrell Owens
2.6% Marvin Harrison
2.4% Fred Taylor

Just so long as one of the declining numbers is "Number of consecutive days this summer in which the lead story on the NFL Network is, 'Will Brett Favre Return?'" This is the first year since 2003 where we didn't have an obvious 370-carry guy to get all the votes. Other candidates receiving mention: Shaun Alexander (at this point, the only way he can decline further is if he starts running the wrong way like Jim Marshall), Tarvaris Jackson (?), Jason David (HOW???) and "Amy Winehouse".

Which of the following teams is most likely next year's surprise Super Bowl contender? (Last year's choice: San Francisco)

29.6% Houston
26.8% Buffalo
19.5% Arizona
8.0% Carolina
5.4% St. Louis
3.5% San Francisco
2.6% Detroit
2.3% New York Jets
1.2% Kansas City
0.5% Oakland
0.5% Miami
0.2% Atlanta

Last year, Green Bay was 4th, Washington 5th, Cleveland 9th, and Tampa Bay 10th. The only problem with Houston is the brutal division they'll have to scale to get where they're going. Petitioning for a move from the AFC to the NFC South would be a good start.

Which playoff team is most likely to decline in 2008? (Last year's choice: Kansas City)

17.0% New England
16.0% Tampa Bay
15.6% Washington
11.4% Seattle
11.2% New York Giants
10.0% Green Bay
8.3% Dallas
4.4% Pittsburgh
2.5% Tennessee
2.2% San Diego
1.0% Indianapolis
0.3% Jacksonville

We made a small mistake here -- we should have phrased the question as "which playoff team is most likely to miss the postseason in 2008?" Of course the Patriots are going to decline -- it is hard to have a regular-season record better than 16-0.

Who should be the number one pick in the 2008 draft?

42.4% Glenn Dorsey
25.3% Jake Long
15.4% Darren McFadden
11.9% Chris Long
5.0% Matt Ryan

If USC defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis has a solid Combine, he could blow thorugh this list like the offensive linemen he embarrassed during Senior Bowl week.

Next week we'll announce the second half of the awards, the TV stuff and assorted other goodies.

Posted by: Doug Farrar on 14 Feb 2008

139 comments, Last at 31 May 2008, 8:34am by Matthew Yore

Comments

1
by billsfan (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 11:52am

ARRGH! My vote for "Hole in Zone" as most underrated defensive player was wasted!

2
by Smeghead (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 12:04pm

Gostkowski should win hands-down for "most underrated by his own coach." But that coach is also coach of the year. And paper covers rock.

Kif, we have a conundrum.

3
by Theo, Holland (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 12:06pm

"No doubt that Peterson was the NFL’s highlight reel champ in 2007, but who would you rather have if you were building a team?"
.
Uhm... Peterson.

4
by fish shure (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 12:09pm

2:
If we can hit that bull's-eye, the rest of the dominoes will fall like a house of cards...Checkmate.

5
by Jordy (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 12:10pm

Devin Hester getting that many votes as "overrated" is a joke. Makes me wonder what sport people are watching.

6
by James, London (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 12:22pm

My hat is off to the individual who voted for "Amy Winehouse". And to whoever claimed ROBO-PUNTER is over-rated:

Woe unto you!

7
by John Doe (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 12:23pm

#3: I don't know that you ever want to build a team around a RB, no matter how good. A good Left Tackle is worth more than any other position but QB. Running backs have significantly shorter careers, are highly dependent on their blocking, and in general are considered to be interchangeable more than any other position.

It is also much harder to get a good Left Tackle than a good RB. Men who weigh over 300 pounds and run around a 5 second 40 yard dash are extremely rare.

8
by Independent George (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 12:33pm

RoboPunter is neither over- nor under-rated. RoboPunter simply is.

Blessed be his name.

9
by Jon (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 12:34pm

5, I voted for Hester. Teams absolutely should kick to Hester every time. And I'm not just saying that because my Giants have (the extremely overrated) Jeff Feagles.

10
by Independent George (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 12:35pm

#2, 4 - Many thanks. I've been going through withdrawal ever since CN's contract expired.

11
by Chris (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 12:45pm

Adrian Peterson is a phenom. I'd agree that "average" running backs are fungible, but Peterson is already the 2nd best back next to LT. The guy had zero pass threat and was running against stacked boxes.

How many posters actually watched Joe Thomas instead of just voting for him because the importence of the position?

I am glad that Leroy Hill got some love as the most underrated defensive player. I voted for him and if he wasn't next to Lofa and Peterson people would be talking about how beast he is.

D.Hall is still the most overrated defensive player. He gets burned for 3tds and people still refer to him as "shut down".

None of my underrated special teams guys made it. Chase blackburn on coverage, James Thrash on coverage, Steve Breaston was a very good returner for Arizona and Rock Cartwright was a good return man for the skins.

12
by nat (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 12:45pm

If New England goes 10-6 and wins the Superbowl, does that count as a decline?

13
by Yaguar (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 12:52pm

On the underrated offensive player vote, I always try to vote for someone that doesn't even make it among the top "underrated" players.

This year, it was C Samson Satele of the Dolphins.

14
by Independent George (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 12:53pm

Do we really need to make a distinction between 'Keep Choppin' Wood' and 'Keep Choppin' Game Film'? Shouldn't they both be called KCW? I mean, sure, it was Hanson who chopped off his foot, but it was Del Rio who put a sharpened axe inside crowded locker room. Let's give credit where credit is due - I think they each deserve 50% credit for that incident.

Incidentally, does Bobby Petrino deserve an entirely new category for pre-meditated conduct most detrimental to the team?

15
by James, London (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 12:56pm

"Incidentally, does Bobby Petrino deserve an entirely new category for pre-meditated conduct most detrimental to the team?"

The Nick Saban Award?

16
by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 12:58pm

Re: 10

Same here. Trying to watch it at 9EST on Comedy Central just doesn't feel right.

BTW, my handle in Team Fortress 2 is "Sweet Juicy Justice".

17
by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 1:00pm

Re: 14

Zing!!

18
by Jordy (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 1:02pm

9 - OK, and teams don't kick to Hester, yet he breaks NFL TD return records despite that. I guess he's not breaking enough records to satisfy the FO voters. He'll have to work on that.

19
by Eddo (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 1:03pm

10 (Independent George): Futurama was picked up by Comedy Central recently. So if you get Comedy Central, you can check for when it's on the air. :)
---
5 (Jordy): I think Hester gets votes because, although he's the best, he is hyped non-stop by the media, potentially overvaluing KRs/PRs and therefore overrating him. That being said, I would never vote for him; he singlehandedly keeps the Bears competitive in games by forcing their opponents to change strategies.
(On a side note, I remember telling my Dad that Hester could go out this year (2007), average 35+ yards per kick return and 15+ yards per punt return, and pretty much have the single greatest year a returner could have, but only score 0-2 touchdowns, and the media would consider it a disappointment. I also noted that there was "no way" someone could repeat what he did in 2006. Oops.)

20
by Jason (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 1:08pm

There is 1 thing that makes no sense regarding Petrino that never gets mentioned

1- Petrino supposedly was hated by almost everyone in the organization

2- Almost everyone was upset when he left

If he truly was as bad as everyone thought they should have been ecstatic when he left. Instead everyone was whining over how he was a traitor and abandoned them. Even if he left during the middle of the year it is best to remove the problem as early as possible rather than holding onto them for longer periods of time

21
by Yaguar (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 1:11pm

18: Hester benefits a lot from the Bears' league-best return teams. He gets better blocks than anyone. He also fumbles more than he should. Third, he doesn't get as consistently good field position as some other return men, but he makes up for it with the home run threat.

I'd vote for about a dozen kickers, Shane Lechler, Jeff Feagles, and a few more guys before I'd even begin to consider voting for Hester as overrated, but there are some legitimate reasons to say he is.

22
by AmbiantDonkey (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 1:11pm

9, No team should have kicked to Hester this year. I'd rather give the Bears offense with a suspect QB, no running game, and penalty prone OL the ball on the 40 than give Hester and the best special teams in the league the opportunity to beat me.

23
by Kyle (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 1:13pm

Michael Strahan? Overrated? Really? The guy got snubbed for the Pro Bowl.

I may be a Giants fan, but I disagree wholeheartedly with people calling Tony Romo overrated. Sure, he may prove that label correct if TO hits a production wall, but the guy torched the NFL for most of the regular season. He only played one of his two playoff losses in two years poorly -- this year he looked okay, okay, okay, and awful in four respective quarters -- but last year he played a fine game... minus a botched snap. That is not something we judge QBs on anyway, especially since Romo drove his team into position for that FG try anyway.

Thus far, Romo looks legit.

And I hate saying that. Hate it. Hate it so very much.

Also I'd give Jerry Reese the nod for Executive of the Year because of his absurd draft. Blasted by punditry everywhere as mediocre and producing no players who will help the team this year, Reese wound up selecting 6 players in 8 rounds who made significant contributions and a 7th player who made an impact on special teams. Considering two of those most important players were 7th rounders (Ahmad Bradshaw, Michael Johnson), that is an incredible haul.

24
by matty blue (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 1:14pm

7: totally agree. exchange adrian peterson with...oh, i don't know, kevin jones, and see how they each look.

25
by David (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 1:28pm

1: Mine too! Can he get some kind of honorary award, or something? I was looking forward to that writeup.

26
by fyo (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 1:29pm

Hmmm... there should be a "running up the score" deduction on DPAR.

27
by David (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 1:30pm

Also, Brian Westbrook was first-team All-Pro this year. I love the guy, but it's hard to see that as underrated.

28
by Jimmy (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 1:33pm

9.7% Kelley Washington (coverage, NE)
9.1% Stephen Gostkowski (K, NE)

I am guessing that 20% of the people who voted were Pats fans then.

How the hell is a player who broke an NFL record in his rookie year and then broke his own record in his second year despite almost every team he played against emptying the barrel in trying to keep the ball away from him over-rated?

He has a farcical impact on the game for a return man. I guess it shows that 10% of the people who voted in this poll are idiots.

29
by Jimmy (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 1:35pm

The second and third paragraphs of my earlier post (#27) were about Devin Hester. Apologies for any confusion caused.

30
by Harris (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 1:37pm

Tony Romo gets tagged as overrated because he gets away with a lot of terrible decisions. The only guy who's been able to do that and win consistently is Favre. We won't know whether Romo is the successor to His Lordship or Aaron Brooks until T.O. retires(though John Madden and Peter King are standing by with six gallons of ThroatCoat tea and a dozen X-tra Sof brand kneepads just in case).

31
by Temo (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 1:44pm

Romo and TO as most overrated offensive players in ALL OF FOOTBALL the last two years?

Anti-cowboys bias among fans is as rancid as ever, though it's no surprise. Given how Cowboys fans routinely vote undeserving players into the pro bowl, I can't completely say it's unfair though.

32
by Disco Stu (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 1:49pm

I think Westbrook is def underrated. If you ask 100 people "Who is the best RB in football?" you won't get many people fingering Westbrook, but he just might be.

I think my pick for underrated was Westbrook, but now I'm thinking it might be Clinton Portis. Conventional wisdom seems to say that he's lost a step and is now just an average back in a mediocre offense, but he's as important to that offense as Westbrook is to his. And he's the best pass blocking back in football.

33
by Matt (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 1:56pm

Surprised not to see Vernon Davis on the Breakout list - he managed a league-average year with arguably the worst supporting cast of any tight end in football, in this his second season. Then again, that cast will be back, but who expects Darrell Jackson to be this god-awful again?

34
by Eddo (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 1:58pm

20 (Yaguar):
Hester benefits a lot from the Bears’ league-best return teams. He gets better blocks than anyone.
From footballoutsiders.com:
Bears Special Teams DVOA (rating (rank))
2003: +2.9% (5)
2004: +1.9% (11)
2005: -2.7% (27)
2006: +7.6% (1)
2007: +9.1% (1)
Years with Hester as primary returner are in italics.
So there was a noticeable improvment in their special teams when the Bears drafted Hester. Now, that might not necessarily be due to Hester, but it could be. And while I agree that they block better than most teams, I sometimes wonder if it's a chicken-and-egg situation; does Hester look better because of the blocking, or does the blocking look better because of Hester? Most likely, there's a synergy between the two.
---
He also fumbles more than he should.
From pro-football-reference.com:
Devin Hester
2006: 67 returns, 8 fumbles (every 8.4 returns)
2007: 85 returns, 7 fumbles (every 12.1 returns)
Josh Cribbs
2007: 89 returns, 5 fumbles (every 17.8 returns)
So Cribbs is better, but not by a whole lot. Also to note, I'm not sure if muffed punts are classified as returns or not. Also, Hester is improving at knowing when to actually field a punt, as noted by the numbers and by subjective observation.
Overall, I think the fumbling-too-much issue is a little overblown. I'd also bet that muffed punt fumbles are recovered by the fumbling team at a higher rate than normal fumbles; however, I do not have that information.
---
Third, he doesn’t get as consistently good field position as some other return men, but he makes up for it with the home run threat.
I can't really argue that, although I wonder if it's better to have a home run threat at KR/PR, rather than consistency. As Aaron (or maybe a commenter) noted in his "Should teams kick to Hester?" article, while over the long run, a more consistent return man is better, football games consist of a finite number of plays and possessions, so one touchdown may be worth trading for -5 yards of field position on every possession. This also may even mean that it's worth it for a home run threat to give up a few more fumbles. Obviously, I'd like to see some more research done on the subject (and I may do it myself if I have the time and resources :) ).

35
by MJK (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 2:00pm

Jimmy,

I think you do not have to be a Pats fan to admit that Gostkowski is "under-rated". Gostkowski is the best current example that I can think of of a kicker who is average (i.e. "adequate") at kicking FG's but has (usually) phenomenal range and placement at kickoffs. One reason why the Patriots defense looked as good as it did this year, despite being kind of over the hill, was that opposing teams almost never got to start with good field position, and a lot of that was Gostkowski's doing (and, of course, also their kick coverage, especially Kelly Washington).

But in the mainstream media, kickers that have made a couple of highly publicized "clutch" pressure kicks (e.g. Cleveland's Dawson) get a lot of press for being great kickers. FO has shown that FG accuracy is wildly random from year to year, and hence an "above average" FG kicker is probably actually just a lucky FG kicker, but kickoff distance is a repeatable skill, and so a kicker who consistently has long, powerful, well placed kickoffs is underrated.

Incidentally, other people have hypothesized this, but I wouldn't be surprised if Gostkowski was injured or for some other reason "off" in the SB. After his first KO, almost all of his subsequent kickoffs were uncharacteristically bad...one going out of bounds, and most of the rest much shorter and with less hangtime than was usual for him. It would also explain why Belichick seemed to be eschewing FG attempts (going for 4th and 13 instead of trying a 49 yarder, and playing for the Hail Mary in the final 30 seconds instead of trying to move into FG range).

36
by Tom D (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 2:03pm

My vote for most underrated defensive player was Hunter Hillenmeyer. I don't know if he actually is, but he is the most underrated for the Bears.

37
by Tom D (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 2:10pm

One thing to add to Hester, his returns don't get consistent field position, but opposing teams are so afraid of him that he still delivers consistent field position due to short kickoffs, and directional punts.

I also think he is the best return man ever, so I don't know if he can be overrated. Can Peyton Manning be overrated? Or Jerry Rice? Or Orlando Pace?

38
by Jim C. (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 2:11pm

Does anybody still think Ray Lewis is a great player anymore? My sense is that he's rated just about right: way past his prime but still a moderately effective player.

39
by Independent George (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 2:34pm

#18 - it's just not the same. It's on too early for me to watch, and, maybe I'm imagining things, but it alwasys seemed like CN got Futurama in a way that CC doesn't. Their promos were often almost as good as the show itself. It made sense nestled amidst the likes of Birdman and ATHF on Adult Swim.

Overrated/underrated is a tough category because it's really more about subjective meta-perception than it is about objective performance. It's possible for somebody to be a legit superstar, and still be overrated (Romo/Hester) because of the media coverage, and it's equally possible for someone to be underrated & underappreciated while an All-Pro (Westbrook).

40
by ammek (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 2:40pm

I don't like "negative voting", eg for Haynesworth because the Titans' D is worse when he's out. I don't watch the Titans enough to know, but there are several plausible explanations for a defense to decline when it is missing one player. For instance, when Charles Woodson missed the game in Dallas, the Packers tried to employ an unfamiliar zone defense, which confused the heck out of youngsters like Bigby and Bush. Accordingly, the secondary had its worst game of the season, but the difference cannot be calculated as simply "minus Woodson".

41
by goathead (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 2:49pm

34: Referring to the "rest" of Gostkowski's kickoffs in the SB is misleading. After the opening kickoff he only had 2 others. One OOB, and one resulting in the Giants starting at their own 17.

42
by Son of brock landers (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 3:06pm

i votedf ro andre johnson for underrated offensive player. the man is top of the class for WRs in the league, but he doesnt do the grandstanding of ocho cinco and doesnt have the mouth nor the QBs that Moss and Owens have. When he went out, the O suffered. If Schaub stays healthy next season and the Texans find a Rb, I can see Johnson leadign that offense to a 3rd place finish in their division. I think he also suffers from playing in Houston, which is not a Northeast media darling and is overshadowed by the Cowboys in their own state.

43
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 3:08pm

Re #39
Teams were able to run the ball successfully on the Titans up the middle when Haynesworth was not playing. Teams were generally not able to do so when he was playing. It wasn't a scheme issue.

I'd also argue that any time a coordinator has to significantly change his gameplan to account for the absence of a player, that should be regarded as an indication that said player is probably pretty good.

44
by FullmoonoverTulsa (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 3:12pm

Is it really still possible for Roy Williams to be overrated? I know he made the PB as an alternate, but every semi informed fan seems to know he sucks, and Dallas fans want him cut.

45
by jerry garcia (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 3:29pm

under rated? How about Leon Washington.. the guy pulls off some amazing feats behind an offensive line made out of whip cream. . . his avg. is pretty darn good too, so it isn't just his explosive kick returns.

He might just be a breakout player next year, especially if the Jets can improve that pathetic offensive line.

46
by seth (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 3:32pm

i voted for andre johnson for most underrated, too. another player who's value was magnified when he was out of the lineup (iknow there are other factors when that occurs). but he just hasn't been hyped yet, and when he plays a whole season with a competent QB he will break out and could end up as a pro bowl staple.

47
by Yaguar (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 3:33pm

33: You've essentially conceded my 2nd and 3rd points as being legitimate. Let me further defend the first one, that the Bears have excellent special teams blocking. Obviously, my primary evidence is from watching Bears games and seeing Hester run through ridiculous gaping holes that aren't present for most other returners. I'll try to make some numbers-based arguments too, though.

You cited the 2005 special teams DVOA for the Bears to show that they were bad on special teams before they got Hester. The better measure would be the specific ratings for punt and kick returns. The monster improvement in special teams in 2006 also had a lot to do with Robbie Gould having a career year.

The point in Hester's favor is that the Bears had below-average returns in 2005. However, that's entirely attributable to Bobby Wade, who had an astonishing 10 fumbles on about 40 returns. The guy couldn't field a punt if his life depended on it. On one of the punts where he actually managed to field the ball and not drop it, he scored an easy TD. The blocking was solid even then.

Brendon Ayanbadejo is a great, great all-purpose special teams guy and has made the Pro Bowl twice in a row for it. Hester does have a great supporting cast.

But let me make myself clear: I believe Hester is the greatest return man in the history of the game. And statistically, he blows the other all-time greats out of the water. But I don't believe he's as far ahead of the pack as his statistics would indicate.

The equivalent argument is "Jerry Rice isn't quite as good as his statistics look because he had Joe Montana and Steve Young throwing to him." We get this sort of argument a lot when a particular unit of a football team puts together an all-time-great accomplishment - everyone in that unit has to be really good.

48
by seth (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 3:36pm

i just have to say that i love FO readers for voting for joe thomas as rookie of the year- that shows a level of sophisticated football knowledge that the general public doesn't have. i also like that patrick willis got some votes, he had a great season, too (as did peterson, of course- nothing against him). there probably should be a separate defensive rookie of the year award, though.

49
by FullmoonoverTulsa (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 3:41pm

Couglhlin not getting much love on the coaching award.

50
by seth (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 3:41pm

43. yes, i think it is fair to put roy williams on the overrated list- he has made 4 straight pro bowls and tv announcers still talk about him like he's a premier safety, which, as you say, most knowledgable people know is hogwash.

51
by Independent George (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 3:45pm

I think one of my favorite things about this site is the way it recognizes worthy players - often on bad teams - who otherwise don't get much press. I still remember how we 'discovered' Adrian Wilson - it was buried in a writeup on Ronde Barber and DB tackles on runs vs. passes. The name 'A. Wilson, ARI' kept popping up at the top of the charts, and somebody in the comments attentively asked, "Who the heck is this A. Wilson guy?". And now we know.

Now, if only somebody could tell me how to pronounce Nnamdi Asomugha, I'd be a happy camper.

52
by MarkV (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 3:45pm

As a Broncos fan I am happy people think Cutler is going to break out, but how? He was already top 10 in DPAR, had an entire new offense from last year and had the Broncos in the top 10. Hasnt he already broke? With Sheffler less hurt, Walker less hurt, and hopefully Marshall improving, he could put up bigger numbers, but I think that that will be having better teammates, not breaking out.

Granted, he only barely won the award, but I still think he is as broken as he is going to get.

53
by Cathedraticum (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 3:47pm

So if Tom brady is standing at the edge of the water and RoboPunter is walking on the water, does the sea part for Brady?

54
by Michael (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 3:51pm

@20

He doesn't get as good field position? That's completely untrue. By virtue of possessing the home run threat that you mentioned in your post, the Bears consistently get good field position because teams are scared of him.

55
by Matt (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 3:55pm

48. Excluding the postseason was listed in the directions for the voting. He probably shoots up the list a few slots if it's included.

56
by AlexSmithJode (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 3:58pm

7#

Completely agree about the value of a LT versus a RB. A running back, no matter how much of an impact player he is, is only one serious knee injury away from never being the same, or retiring completely. The media hype surrounding Peterson could be pushing him in the "overrated" category very soon.

33#
Overall, I think the fumbling-too-much issue is a little overblown. I’d also bet that muffed punt fumbles are recovered by the fumbling team at a higher rate than normal fumbles; however, I do not have that information.

I'd respectfully disagree with this point. If the returner muffs a punt, its him vs. the coverage team at trying to recover it, which in general are not good odds. You may be right in terms of raw totals, but the impact of a lost fumble on a punt is huge. That's a 40-50 yard swing in field position after the defense just got a stop. I don't see how the risk of that kind of play happening could ever be overblown.

(Beating a dead horse) And who the heck thought Tony Ugoh was one of the two best lineman in the leauge this year? I have no problem at all with Joe Thomas winning this category, but Ugoh? Really?

57
by Kenneth (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 4:01pm

46: I watched a lot of Bears games this year, and while Hester does have good holes, some of them are as much him as they are his blocking. There are holes that he's fast enough to hit and get through that other players just can't reach.

Like you said, it's related--both parts of the unit make each other look better.

58
by zip (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 4:14pm

So if Tom brady is standing at the edge of the water and RoboPunter is walking on the water, does the sea part for Brady?

Wins the thread.

59
by Johonny (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 4:18pm

I don't get why special team players that make the pro bowl can't be included as underrated in this category, but Brian Westbrook can win another underrated category. Seems like they make the rules up as they go along.

60
by FullmoonoverTulsa (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 4:18pm

54 - I kind of figured that, but was too lazy to figure it all out myself.

61
by Lou (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 4:21pm

So a rookie is the Best lineman in football? For the second year in a row? I absolutely agree Thomas deserved to be ROY but theres no way a rookie lineman can be the best at his position. I thought we had learned from McNeil's drop off this year.

By the way calling Hester overrated is equally ridiculous. I'm glad to see people defending him. He's also my vote for breakout player of 08. As reciever.

This might be treading on dangerous ground, but I see voting for Belichick for Coach of the Year in much the same way as voting for Merriman for DMVP last year. I'll leave it at that.

62
by jonnyblazin (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 4:37pm

re: 37

I'm not sure why Ray Lewis is considered overrated. His physical skills have certainly declined, but I would still rank him athletically as above average.

But where FO readers are way off is understanding his value to the defense. Just watch the Ravens games when he is playing and injured and you'll see two completely different defenses. He is the one responsible for putting guys in the right places to make plays and calling audibles to counteract what the QB is doing (see the Seattle game for a great example of how poorly the Ravens adjust to audibles without Ray).

More than any other defensive player he is the QB of the defense, which has been top rated for a very long time. All it takes to notice this is watching Ravens games, which obviously the people who voted for Ray Lewis didn't do.

63
by Carlos (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 4:39pm

It’s difficult to know what to say about Belichick at this point with so much still unknown, except that we’re pretty sure he’s never injected anything into Roger Clemens’ butt.

Absolutely hilarious. I know people like to write LOL a lot, but I always wonder how it is people can so readily laugh out loud sitting by themselves staring at a computer screen. Do they have richer inner lives than I do? Poorer? Anyway, I absolutely guffawed out loud at that one.

Shaun Alexander (at this point, the only way he can decline further is if he starts running the wrong way like Jim Marshall),

Also really enjoyed that one!

64
by Bobman (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 4:40pm

wow, such a rich vein or ore to mine for comments... where to start?

I liked seeing Ugoh listed as a ROY candidate, but agree that it's nuts for him to be a top-2 lineman. Maybe in a few years, maybe not. I'm thrilled to have him, but one of the top 2 is not realistic right now. Nice to see Jeff Saturday getting love. Dungy too--he was one blown coverage, one doinked gimme FG, and one "sit the starters" game from a perfect regular season himself, despite starting a D that for a few games returned only 2 starters from the 2007 SB. With Indy's D ranking, it's surprising to see nobody highly rated here--either Meeks, Dungy, Sanders, Brackett, etc. Maybe most of them getting a moderate level of votes is appropriate, rather than any ONE winning a category.

Jason David almost needs an award named for him--Post-SB Free Agent Who Flamed Out? Keep Chopping Lombardis?(that name would allow him to stay on the champ and still suck) Who will win it next year? Tyree?

I am almost offended by Freeney's mention in the overrated category. Didn't his team essentially lose their playoff game because they could not get pressure on the QB? While one could argue they went 6-1 without him and didn't really try in the final loss, they failed when it counted most because they had no pass rush. I'd put Gary Brackett in the running for underrated D player--he sure deserved a Pro Bowl nod over Ray Lewis and anchored one of the best D's this season despite its resemblance to a pre-season roster at times (albeit in a weak year for D's in general).

Hard to vote Joe Thomas the ROY and best OL and then say he's underrated (unless he cures cancer in the offseason). Good vote for Andre Johnson as underrated-he might explode stats-wise next year if healthy.

The sig decline category makes sense because most of those guys had career years, but Marvin Harrison? How do you significantly decline from 25 catches when your career average is about 90? How can he decline more? Retire? Lose a limb to a croc while on vacation in Egypt? Evaporate?

I think the SB/playoff run cements Shockey's place on the overrated roster. And of course HiZ and Robo-P got screwed.

65
by mactbone (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 4:45pm

Re 63:
How does it cement Shockey's place? I don't get all this talk that obviously Shockey was the problem in NY and they just needed to get rid of him. Oh yeah, they also had to get rid of Barber. Oh, and Coughlin had to becom a nice guy. Oh, and Eli had to have some of his best performances during the playoffs instead of an occasional meltdown that he has in the regular season.

Bah. Just getting tired of this addition by subtraction BS.

66
by craig (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 5:02pm

I voted Jarrod Cooper for underrated special teamer. Simply put: the Raiders kicked to Hester, and ate him up. Using the negative, in weeks without Cooper (during his suspension, and after his injury) their kick coverage sucked.

67
by QB (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 5:04pm

I'm pretty sure Joe Thomas won the Best O-lineman solely because the preceding question was about the Offensive Rookie of the Year and mentioned him by name. Then we're asked for 2 write-ins at offensive line, and it's no surprise what happens.

Even as a Philly fan, I can't agree that Westbrook is underrated anymore. He would've been a great choice the last few years, because he's been pretty amazing this whole time, but now I think everybody realizes it. I heard his name an awful lot this year.

Tony Romo is a quality player and rated pretty fairly imo. I don't understand him winning most overrated, but I guess he's just overexposed.

Devin Hester is ridiculous. It took about 2-3 returns in '06 for me to realize he was the greatest returner in NFL history. Now I think he's about 10 tiers above the next guy in line. I might argue he's still underrated!

68
by Son of brock landers (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 5:06pm

i actually think shockey is "rated". he is neither over- nor under- rated. No one says he is in the Gates-Gonzalez discussion for TEs, and even when he faces the Cowboys, Witten outplays him time and time again no matter how much Shockey abuses Roy Williams. Shockey just happens to be a big personality, therefore he gets more attention, which somehow translates into being considered overrated.

My gripe with Shockey is that he makes some amazing grabs in traffic but then lets easy passes bounce off of his chest, stares at his hands, shakes his head and yells at himself and/or Eli. He's ADD.

69
by mm (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 5:10pm

I voted Marques Colston as most underrated. Sure, the Pro-Bowl is distorted in voting, but he wasn't chosen as a starter, backup, first, second, or third alternate in the NFC.

70
by Independent George (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 5:13pm

#52 - see number 2.

71
by Cyrus (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 5:16pm

I just read through the ROBO-PUNTER thread and found this enjoyable tidbit:

69- Pat, stop trying to bring the discussion back on point. :)

If ROBO-BELICHICK devises an offensive play that will gain 20 yards every time, his team will go 16-0 every year. I don’t see how that affects ROBO-PUNTER at all. ROBO-PUNTER’s team can fire the defensive coordinator or change some defensive personnel, right?

:: Travis — 6/1/2006 @ 2:12 pm

Notice that he did not say 19-0? ROBO-BELICHICK has been created, will ROBO-PUNTER follow?

72
by Independent George (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 5:35pm

#67 - The upside to Shockey is that if he gets the pass in the Super Bowl instead of Boss, Rodney Harrison isn't catching him from behind. The downside is that he might not make the catch in the first place.

73
by Crushinator (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 5:59pm

Didn't read all the comments, so apologies if it's already been said.

I love the confidence FO readers have in the NFC. They expect New England to decline next year, then the ENTIRE NFC, then the rest of the AFC.

and it's not even barely either. The 7th team (Dallas) has twice as many people thinking they're going to decline as the 8th team (Pittsburgh)

74
by langsty (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 6:04pm

re: 61

"All it takes to notice this is watching Ravens games, which obviously the people who voted for Ray Lewis didn’t do."

This is why I have a fair amount of distaste for the overrated portion of this discussion every year - it's plainly more a vote for "dudes we are most sick of hearing about" than one really based on anyone's level of play, plus I think some people just really enjoy being contrarian (cf. Bob Sanders getting votes).

I do like seeing the underrated players recognized, of course. Boley's been my vote for the past two seasons, fwiw.

75
by Tom D (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 6:15pm

Re 72:

I didn't notice that until you pointed it out. I added them up and 72.5 percent of voters think an NFC team is going to decline. However, like Doug said, the wording of the question was poor. I doubt many people think the Cowboys or the Packers will miss the playoffs. Also, the Seahawks seem to get in by default every year. The Cardinals and 49ers need to hurry up and improve to the point where they can challenge Seattle for the division.

I bet the NFC North race is exciting next year, I could see any team except the Lions winning.

76
by Eddo (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 6:32pm

74 (Tom D):
I doubt many people think the Cowboys or the Packers will miss the playoffs.
I don't know...I know I, for one, interpreted the question as was intended (who would miss the playoffs). I voted for the Packers based on the fact that Favre has to lose it at some point. I'd call myself out for incorporating the gambler's fallacy, but obviously this is different. :P
As for the Cowboys, remember that this is a team dependent on T.O. (crazy, moody, potentially cancerous), Tony Romo (young, still gets away with a lot of risk-taking, easily swayed by celebrities of the female persuasion), and Wade Phillips (bumbly, not in the owner's good graces). Granted, they're uber-talented everywhere else, but they are also the kind of team where some early struggles could snowball and leave them at 6-10 or 7-9.

77
by shake n bake (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 6:37pm

Re: 55

Ugoh is another of those, "how much worse was his team without him" guys. Manning got pressured more than he had in years while Ugoh was out injured. He was so much better than Charlie Johnson and some people decided that it's because Ugoh is so good instead of because Charlie Johnson played so bad.

78
by Johonny (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 6:40pm

-66 I was thinking same thing. Does this mean it was not only a year end award vote, but a psychology 101 test as well?

79
by Chris (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 6:56pm

Gary Bracket better than Ray Lewis? Are you just trying to be the guy who goes out on a limb far enough to be cool or something?

I am sick of hearing about how overrated Ray Lewis is. He is not who he used to be, but he was maybe the best MLB ever. The guy is still one of the best Middle linebackers in the game, off the top of my head I'd probably say I'd want Mike Peterson at MLB for my team, but Lewis certainly isn't bad or even average.

I am a Giants fan and I will tell you some over/underrated guys on my team.

Overrated
- Antoinio Pierce - can't cover the pass minus screen plays.
- Shockey - isn't a top notch tight end. He can make great plays but also drop the routine catches and has dumb penalties.

Underrated
Eli - As witnessed by winning MVP and the SB.
- Justin Tuck - Although now most people know who he is and how good he is, but before the playoffs most people didn't even know what team he played for.
- Gibril Wilson is the name that people need to know. The guy is a ball hawk and everywhere. Look at the Dallas tape, the guy was everywhere. If he isn't a pro bowl SS, then he is only a notch below.

Tony Romo is NOT overrated either.

80
by David (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 7:01pm

72 - what I love about FO readers is the awesomely non-stop Futurama references. I think the world would be a better place if more people called themselves the Crushinator. And I know for a fact that the world would be a better place if Zap Branagan's "...checkmate" speech was used more often.

81
by Tom D (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 7:07pm

Re 75:

Even if Favre falters, they have Rogers waiting in the wings. Plus they have a new found running game. And they have a young good defense (though I guess the corners are getting up there). I could definitely see the Packers declining, but I think it would be extremely unlikely that they aren't a wild card team minimum.

As for the Cowboys I don't think they are that dependent on TO, Terry Glenn should be healthy next year, and Crayton is a decent #2. Romo has started 26 games now, I think he's past "one year wonder" status now.

82
by Eddo (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 7:11pm

78 et al: Is it too late to change my commenter name to "El Zilcho"?

83
by LI Matt (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 7:30pm

Jason David almost needs an award named for him–Post-SB Free Agent Who Flamed Out? Keep Chopping Lombardis?

That award would be named for Larry Brown, no?

84
by Bart (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 7:35pm

83:

How about the Larry Brown Memorial 'Show Me the Money' award?

85
by Marxist (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 7:36pm

#50 - I believe it's pronounced 'NAHM-dee awesome-WAAAH!!!'

86
by Yaguar (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 7:42pm

79: Gary Brackett was actually awesome this season. He did deserve to go to the Pro Bowl over Lewis. I think you do good scouting, but remember that what your eyes told you about Lewis in games past doesn't necessarily apply anymore.

87
by Pacifist Viking (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 7:50pm

Re: building around Adrian Peterson

RB is a scary position, but if (as signs may indicate) Adrian Peterson is the next elite running back in the NFL, then I'd rather have him than even a very good left tackle. Several of the elite running backs maintained success over an extended period (Jim Brown, Barry Sanders, Emmitt Smith, Walter Payton, for example). If that's what Peterson is, then that would be pretty good to have for the next 8-10 years.

If Peterson turns out to be a second-tier RB (say, like Curtis Martin), then I'd rather have the left tackle. If Peterson turns into the 2007-2017 version of Jim Brown, Barry Sanders, Emmitt Smith, or Walter Payton? Then I'd rather have Peterson.

88
by justme (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 7:52pm

I must say I enjoyed looking at last year's awards almost as much as this year's because we predicted the 49ers as the suprise 2007 contender and the Giants were second for playoff team most likely to decline in 2007.

89
by Tom D (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 7:56pm

Re 87:

Of course Peterson could be the next Gale Sayers or Terrell Davis absolutely amazing, but only for a short period of time.

90
by jonnyblazin (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 8:02pm

"remember that what your eyes told you about Lewis in games past doesn’t necessarily apply anymore."

And remember what your eyes tell you now does not come close to indicating how valuable Lewis is to the defense in terms of organization and scheme.

91
by Doughboy (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 8:04pm

21... Will someone explain to me why Feagles is considered overrated? He seems to me to be a very good directional kicker (placing the ball in unreturnable spots) and gets praised as such.

According to FO, the Giants punt team was 8th this year, and 4th last year.

92
by Tom D (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 8:04pm

Looking through last year's awards then this year's again, I think it would be awesome to see a sophomore of the year award. Who does everyone think is the best second year player?

93
by Independent George (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 8:16pm

#79 - Pierce might be overrated as an individual defender, but I think he might also be the one irreplaceable part in the Giants' D. The most impressive part of the D in the super bowl wasn't the pressure, it's that they generated pressure without getting beat on the screens & draws New England uses to beat the pressure. NFL films caught Spagnolo on the sidelines saying that it was Pierce's responsibility to change the defenses if Brady audibled. No, he can't cover Jason Witten, but he is the guy who makes sure Witten has to stay back to block.

I think this is Ray Lewis' primary role in Baltimore now. He's obviously no longer the terror he was in 2000, but he is the one guy on the field who knows the entire defense as well as Rob Ryan.

94
by Pete (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 8:35pm

Kelly Washington's ranking in the under-rated special teams player award is an interesting indication of the difference in coaching between the Pats and the Bengals - one of the main reasons the Bengals let him go was because of his inability/unwillingness to contribute on special teams.

95
by Lance (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 8:41pm

Lotta Cowboys hate. Lotta Pats love. Surprised? I'm not.

96
by stravinsky (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 9:36pm

The "Most OVerrated" categories should be renamed to

"Player Whose TV Game Announcer Man-Crush Most Makes You Gag And Want To Put Your Foot Through The TV Screen".

97
by Yakuza Rich (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 10:21pm

I'm guessing he doesn't qualify, but for Jerry Jones not to even get a mention for Executive of the Year is absurd. Everybody laughed at him hiring Wade Phillips and Jason Garrett. They laughed at him for signing Bigg Davis, who went to the Pro Bowl. They said Hamlin wouldn't do anything, and he went to the Pro Bowl. He handled the Romo contract situation about as well as you can. He had a solid draft class, including drafting Nick Folk who was leaps and bounds better than any kicker that Parcells had. Jones managed the season about as well as any Executive could have done. I guess his bad rep clouds the judgement of the voters.

98
by Chris (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 10:21pm

86- Thanks for the scouting comment, but I can remember a Gary Bracket interception, maybe it was even the Pats Colts game and if the guy had even average speed he would have scored a TD, but he doesn't. Also remember his position, many people argue the "fungibility" of the Colts LB positions. A couple of years ago people were talking about how this mighty mouse guy was everywhere ( ala Bob Sanders). Last year people were talking about how Rudi Johnson ran him over like a pancake.

Pacifist Viking I am glad you could Chime in about Adrian Peterson. I tend to think he will be more along the NFL record holders as long as he can stay healthy. Joe Thomas was impressive from what I saw, but I'd agree that the wording of the question right after the ROY helped his chances a lot.

Adrian Peterson is an impressive impressive story. If you watched any of the combine last year, you learned that he was the best overall athelete in the draft not only at his position, but overall.

If you look back even further you see a freshman at Oklahoma ( a top notch college program) that was the best athelete on his team AS A FRESHMAN.

He almost won the Heisman trophy AS A FRESHMAN.

Peterson is a legend in the OU weight room. The trainers typically don't push the redshirt and true freshman into full time college workouts, but Peterson not only was outlifting seniors, but he was doing much much more. He had advanced plyometrics and workouts that his teammates couldn't hang with.

Even after long practices of carrying the rock, he would always finish gassers and windsprints first.

The coaching staff had to have trainers evalute his workouts to make sure he wouldn't jeopardize his health as an 18 year old.

His biggest drawbacks are his more upright running style ( which is a more injury prone running style), and the fact that he just flat out runs wreckless. He just runs wreckless. He runs with the power and strength of a power back but with the speed of a speed back.

Many scouts say that he could have potentially been the first EVER player to go from highschool straight to the pros.

He was the standout #1 recruit in TEXAS " the football state" and ironically went to OU because he didn't think Mac Brown would ever win a title. ( something many UT fans like to quote).

If you saw any of his highlights in the San Diego and Chicago games ( vs two stout defenses) you saw why he will be a special player in the NFL.

I would still rank L. Tomlinson as the best back because he has done it for so long, but Peterson was already the 2nd best back in the league as a rookie and he is not your ordinary fungible running back.

99
by Chris (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 10:23pm

Oh and and Cato June was the LB I was talking about in the first paragraph. People loved him, then he was expendable.

The only thing bigger or better about Gary Brackett over Ray Lewis, is that HUGE forehead. Not to mention Lewis's leadership and pregame braveheart antics.

100
by BDC (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 10:43pm

Question about the last category, who should be the number one pick in the draft. Does it take into account the team with the pick, and what they might need or is it more of a "who is the best player in the draft", kind of thing?

101
by BlueStarDude (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 10:43pm

Tony Romo is THE most overrated offensive player in the NFL? Really? The FO readership ain't what it used to be. How about putting some thought into it people?

If you don't like the FO stats how about more conventional stats: Romo was second in yards per pass attempt. And he was sixth in net adjusted yards per pass attempt. He's only a two-year starter. What the f*** (excuse my Berman) more do you people expect?

Don't hate him because he does commercials and Fox focuses on his girlfriend between snaps.

102
by langsty (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 10:56pm

“Player Whose TV Game Announcer Man-Crush Most Makes You Gag And Want To Put Your Foot Through The TV Screen”.

Tom Brady, no question. I'm saying this as a Pats fan, too.

103
by B (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 11:05pm

My methodology for over/under rated is rather simple. For overrated I pick the pro-bowl player who least deserves to be there, and for under rated, I pick most deserving snub.

104
by Mac (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 11:24pm

Hester earned my overrated vote because I read overrated like #96 did. As someone explained earlier (too tired to reference) the distance between Hester and Cribbs isn't from New York to LA, but Seattle to LA. Thus, Hester, who is described as the best returner and, sometimes, one of the top players overall in the NFL, is overrated. He's certainly not overrated in the "crap sprinkled with glitter" mold, but overrated in the "great described as god-like" sort of mold.

105
by mm (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 11:43pm

. They laughed at him for signing Bigg Davis, who went to the Pro Bowl. They said Hamlin wouldn’t do anything, and he went to the Pro Bowl.

Sorry, but being a Cowboy in the pro bowl is not indicative of being a good player; it just shows how many people blindly write in Cowboys on the votes.

(note: I'm not saying these players are necessarily bad, but you can't say pro bowl births go to Cowboy players on merit.)

106
by Richard (not verified) :: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 11:53pm

53: That's deep, man.

107
by Chris (not verified) :: Fri, 02/15/2008 - 12:43am

Romo led his cowgirls to a 13-3 record and #1 seed in the NFL. He had the 6th best Dpar right above Carson Palmer, Hasselback, Big Ben, Mcnabb etc.

The camera certainly finds its way to his smiley face, but that doesn't mean he is overrated. Maybe a little overexosed, but Romo is very good ( and this is coming from a Giants fan).

Romo was the best QB in the NFC this year and it was only his 2nd year as a starter ( first full year).

Reggie Bush is overrated. Here is a guy that had all sorts of commercials ( the first game of the season had a 5 minute Promo with Reggie Bush and Peyton Manning). He had more commericals than rushing yards.

Reggie Bush is/was supposed to be the Gale Sayers of this generation ( Adrian Peterson is) and he can't even carry the ball inbetween the tackels, his team uses Aaron Stecker as their #2 tailback.

Reggie Bush is overexposed AND overrated. Credit the Texans with making the right choice in drafting a stud manchild defensive end instead of a "wing back".

108
by Chris (not verified) :: Fri, 02/15/2008 - 12:44am

* #1 seed in the NFC.

109
by admin :: Fri, 02/15/2008 - 1:48am

We block people from voting for Pro Bowlers in the "underrated special teams" category because in 2004, the top seven players receiving votes were all in that year's Pro Bowl, including one injury replacement. (Click link on my name.) Even a good number of FO readers tend to not know the names of a lot of good special teams players.

I like that Sophomore of the Year idea. Should it be for best second-year player, player who most improved over his rookie year, or player who most surprisingly improved over his rookie year?

I agree that some of the Dallas overrated votes seem strange, but not as strange as votes for Bob Sanders and Champ Bailey as overrated.

110
by John Doe (not verified) :: Fri, 02/15/2008 - 2:31am

#11 - Adrian Peterson may be less fungible than most backs but let's not forget that he's already missed playing time with a knee problem. You may get 12-15 years out of Thomas, that's a long time compared to your average running back.

111
by ammek (not verified) :: Fri, 02/15/2008 - 4:04am

Re: Sophomore of the year. Why not just leave it at that and let the readers decide how to interpret it? If Adrian Peterson rushes for 2000 yards next year I'll vote for him, but if he doesn't while Brodie Croyle throws half a dozen passes that land near his receivers' arms, I'll vote for Croyle instead.

You might, however, want to specify whether a sophomore is a second-year player (eg Ryan Grant), a second-year starter (eg Philip Rivers) or both (Jay Cutler).

75: I'll take the bait. Neither Green Bay nor Dallas will make the playoffs. I said the same about Chicago and Philly this year (and New Orleans and Baltimore) and got flamed all over the web. Or maybe that was because I said the Vikings would make the Superbowl.

112
by mercury (not verified) :: Fri, 02/15/2008 - 6:30am

Yes, this is Psych 101...Joe Thomas is terrific, and Marcus Mcneil had a great rookie year in 06, but if the format of the questions isn't changed for next year then Jake Long is odds on to be voted best offensive lineman in 2008.

113
by mercury (not verified) :: Fri, 02/15/2008 - 7:02am

I agree there should be a "sophomore of the year award" and i think it should be someone who is in his 2nd NFL season, rather than a 2nd year starter (too complicated to determine who qualifies as a 2nd year starter...for instance, does anyone have any idea if jason peters would qualify?)...
for this past year i guess i would go with Antonio Cromartie, but i couldn't argue with either of the Texans(Demeco Ryans or Mario Williams), Devin Hester, or Haloti Ngata (who is totally underrated). One could also make a case for Joseph Addai or receivers Santonio Holmes or Greg Jennings. I say "no way" to Jay Cutler, and especially Vince Young-the good folks at Football Outsiders don't keep all these stats for nothing.

114
by Chris (not verified) :: Fri, 02/15/2008 - 8:34am

Sophmore of the year would have to be Mario Williams or Cromartie. The two defensive guys that were dominant at the two most important positions on defense.

I don't think ROY should be " who will have the longest or best career", that is impossible to tell. It should be who was the best rookie player THIS year, and that was Adrian Peterson.

I think too many FO fans want to go out on a limb and talk about how the pop media has it all wrong and player x ( Joe Thomas) is really worth more than the obvious choice.

Don't overthink yourself, Adrian Peterson was as good as advertised.

115
by Bronco Jeff (not verified) :: Fri, 02/15/2008 - 11:41am

@109

I don't think that I understand your point about Cutler. He was ranked 10th in both DPAR and DVOA for quarterbacks in his second year...best for a second year player by a long shot. Being a top ten NFL QB in your first year is nothing to sneeze at.

He'd win my Sophmore Award, though Cromartie has a pretty compelling case as well.

116
by Bronco Jeff (not verified) :: Fri, 02/15/2008 - 11:42am

And by first year, I of course meant second for Cutler.

117
by jeesh ! (not verified) :: Fri, 02/15/2008 - 12:08pm

I think people will feel that Romo is over-rated until he actually wins a play-off game. Even Chad "no - arm strength" Pennington has won a play-off game ...

118
by JasonK (not verified) :: Fri, 02/15/2008 - 12:21pm

I think the theory behind the Romo-overrated votes is that his success is more attributable to his excellent OL and WR/TE corps. I don't agree, but I do think that it would be interesting to see what would happen if he were traded to, say, the Chiefs.

I was surprised that Willis McGahee didn't get more "overrated" votes. Yeah, he didn't make any all-pro ballots this season, but he's still one of the first guys who commentators praise when they're talking about the Ravens.

I agree with #68-- Shockey is rated pretty accurately by mainstream sports media. He still gets more attention than his play merits because he's a big talker, but that's hardly unique to him. One thing everybody forgets about the Giants when he got injured: Yes, the passing offense got better, but the rushing offense got worse. Jacobs went from 5.0 YPC in the regular season to 3.2 YPC in the playoffs. A lot of that decline is because of the loss of Shockey's blocking (or because the Giants were tipping the defense by bringing in a different TE for Boss)-- Jacobs' best runs are usually off-tackle, right behind the TE.

119
by Lance (not verified) :: Fri, 02/15/2008 - 1:42pm

Re, "I think the theory behind the Romo-overrated votes is that his success is more attributable to his excellent OL and WR/TE corps. I don’t agree, but I do think that it would be interesting to see what would happen if he were traded to, say, the Chiefs." Couldn't you say that about ANYONE? Does Tom Brady do as well playing for the Raiders? We know Randy Moss doesn't.

120
by Jimmy (not verified) :: Fri, 02/15/2008 - 2:33pm

I personally think Romo is over-rated because he throws more wildly inaccurate passes than any other QB I have ever seen who garnered the label 'Great QB'. He is very good at improvising but has games where the only reason he doesn't throw several picks is dumb luck (he mixes these games up with games where he throws loads of picks). Then he stays alive for a couple of extra seconds and lobs a ball to Owens who has gotten open past the first down marker (because he is a future HOFer) and everyone says he is amazing. He has a pop-gun arm, and often makes startlingly bad reads but gets bailed out by Owens and Witten who are both amazing.

I know I am in the minority in my assessment of Romo, but that is never a good reason to stop thinking something. I just thought I would put up my reason for thinking Romo is over-rated, not everyone dislikes him because of what announcers say, or because of who he is dating.

121
by Jimmy (not verified) :: Fri, 02/15/2008 - 2:35pm

Does Tom Brady do as well playing for the Raiders? We know Randy Moss doesn’t.

Actually if you go back to Randy Moss' first half of a season in Oakland - ie before he hurt his hamstring and before the Art Shell/Tom Walsh debacle - Moss was lighting teams up for the Raiders. IIRC he led the league in receiving.

122
by Sid (not verified) :: Fri, 02/15/2008 - 3:18pm

We voted on it last year, so I can remind the FO staff that we agreed on LDT/LdT as the nickname for Tomlinson.
I hate to be a pain about it, but the voting was done for a reason, and it's seriously annoying to read people calling Tomlinson "LT". LT retired years ago.

123
by Richard (not verified) :: Fri, 02/15/2008 - 5:34pm

122: That's incredibly pointless. If you're talking about a current or even recent season and you say LT, everyone knows you're talking about Tomlinson and not the drug addict.

124
by Sid (not verified) :: Fri, 02/15/2008 - 5:47pm

It doesn't matter what the idiots in the rest of the media do. Football Outsiders is different. Click my name.

125
by dingobreath (not verified) :: Sat, 02/16/2008 - 2:20am

CRO. Can you say Cromartie? for defensive player of the year. Starts on game 6 and leads the league in introceptions. Yeah, there where better players on Jupiter but not here on Earth.

126
by Lance (not verified) :: Sat, 02/16/2008 - 11:15am

Re "Actually if you go back to Randy Moss’ first half of a season in Oakland - ie before he hurt his hamstring and before the Art Shell/Tom Walsh debacle - Moss was lighting teams up for the Raiders. IIRC he led the league in receiving." I don't know. From the NY Times, dated to October 21, 2005, we read "The Oakland Raiders were expected to be a potent offensive team after acquiring Randy Moss and LaMont Jordan. Yet Oakland (1-4) has yet to score more than 20 points in any of its games, Moss has caught only two touchdown passes, and Jordan has averaged 62 yards a game rushing." Hardly sounds like he was tearing up the league. In general, if you take a talented guy and put him on a team lacking talent, the talented guy is going to look worse. Conversely, a talented guy surrounded my more talent is going to look pretty good. Is Romo THE MOST over-rated offensive player this year? There are two things we have to look at: 1) how good he's perceived to be, and 2) how good he really is. The general sense you get from looking at sports media is that he's at the bottom of any list of current top QBs. I see nothing to suggest that he's worse than that. It's hard to blame Romo's success on Owens-- he was most over-rated guy LAST year! How can one over-rated guy help another guy also be over-rated?

How anyone can say he "often makes startlingly bad reads" with a straight face is beyond me. What-- when you watch a typical NFL broadcast, YOU know who's blitzing, what the coverage is (because the typical NFL broadcast always shows the corners and safeties), who the hot receiver is, what the blocking scheme is, but Romo doesn't. Got it. And he does that often? Really? I'm also curious about Romo and the "games where he throws loads of picks" because his "dumb luck" ran out. This year, he had games where he threw 1, 0, 1, 1, 5, 1, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 0, 3, 1, and 1 picks. So two games. Is that a lot? I guess. Of course, Manning had a game where he threw 6 picks, but we won't suggest that this is because Manning's "dumb luck" ran out. If you think Romo's over-rated even though he threw for 36 TDs, over 4,200 yards, over 8 ypa, and even though most people consider him to be only the 5th or 6th best QB in the game, that's fine. No Cowboys hate at all. That's logic only.

127
by Jimmy (not verified) :: Sat, 02/16/2008 - 3:42pm

Lance

No, not Cowboys hate. Why have you insinuated that I must have an irrational dislike of a team just because I consider one of their star players over-rated? It demeans you, not me.

If I am a Cowboys hater why do I consider Owens to be a first ballot Hall of Famer and one of the most dominant players of his generation? Must be that Cowboys hate again. Why do I think Witten is one of the best TEs in the NFL and that Demarcus Ware is frankly awesome? Ooops, Cowboy hate again.

My observations on Romo are based upon watching him play. He doesn't seem to be very accurate and makes odd decisions. Bear in mind that a player as good as Owens lined up at flanker will have huge consequences on the coverages teams try to play against the Cowboys. I think he gets away with a lot of throws, you clearly don't - I may try to keep a chart of a few of his games next year to see what comes out, if it proves me wrong then so be it. However I said he gets away with a lot of throws, ie they weren't picks but probably should have been, therefore it won't show up in data.

As for my, “games where he throws loads of picks” comment, it was an attempt to add a little humour that clearly hasn't worked. I do think he will have more of these games in the future not less.

My main problem here is that you dismiss my viewpoint as hatred which quite frankly isn't called for or helpful. Is everyone who disagrees with you simply hateful?

128
by Lance (not verified) :: Sat, 02/16/2008 - 5:38pm

Fair enough, Jimmy. Truce. There is a general amount of Cowboys hate here (read the open game discussion threads; every week there some obnoxious comment), but you're right that I shouldn't jump to conclusions as I did. I still don't quite see how a guy who put up pretty good numbers but is still nevertheless thought to be only the 5th or 6th best QB in the league is "over-rated" though. You note that Romo "gets away with" throws that should be picks. Perhaps, though I don't think anyone calls Brady over-rated when he throws into triple coverage to Moss and still gets a TD.

Anyhow, it seems that a plurality of FO fans think that this season, Romo shouldn't have been considered among the top 5 or 6 QBs this season. Moreover, they think that his being considered as such was the most egregious such error of the year. I find it baffling.

129
by Browning Nagle (not verified) :: Sat, 02/16/2008 - 6:24pm

I'm surprised Charlie Casserly didn't get a couple of write-ins for executive of the year.

130
by PackMan (not verified) :: Sun, 02/17/2008 - 1:09pm

RE: Peterson vs. Thomas

I think a good way to look at it is like this. Since either player in all fairness could have a career ending injury. In retrospect, who would you rather have had:

Emmit Smith or Anthony Munoz?

I say Munoz, but some might say Smith.

Also, I don't think Smith is the best RB ever by any means, but he was great, and had a long career for a RB. Most of the great RBs had somewhat short careers (Brown, Sanders, Payton).

131
by patriotsgirl (not verified) :: Sun, 02/17/2008 - 3:14pm

123: Dude, the drug addict is probably the best linebacker in the history of the NFL (and if not the best, then top 2 or 3), and he didn't retire that long ago. I'm not yet 30 and I still think of LT as being Lawrence Taylor.

Besides, isn't Tomlinson enough of a legitimate superstar that you'd think he should want his own nickname?

On topic, I voted for Westbrook as underrated (I think - I voted in a post-Super Bowl depressed fugue), but I'm now questioning that decision. When you've qualified for an announcer man-crush AND made the All-Pro team, it seems like you've been "rated."

132
by Jimmy (not verified) :: Sun, 02/17/2008 - 3:28pm

#130, Packman

Most of the great RBs had somewhat short careers (Brown, Sanders, Payton).

Erm, as far as I can remember Payton still holds the NFL record for carries (he certainly did when he retired) and only ever missed one game, which he always said he could have played but his coach wouldn't let him. Sanders played at least ten years before retiring because he got fed up of the Lions never winning. Brown left football to go and pursue a career in Hollywood, he could probably have played on.

133
by PackMan (not verified) :: Mon, 02/18/2008 - 1:18am

132.

Okay, I was wrong about Payton, he played 12 years. I was thinking of Sayers who had the shorter career.

Sanders played 10 years and Brown played 9. Both are widely considered to have retired prematurely and that was my point. I was trying to pick someone who played a long career.

So you could say Payton vs. Munoz.

Still, I say Munoz.

134
by Jimmy (not verified) :: Mon, 02/18/2008 - 10:39am

So you could say Payton vs. Munoz.

Still, I say Munoz.

OK now that is just a red rag to a bull ;) .

Disclaimer: Bears fan.

135
by JCRODRIGUEZ (not verified) :: Mon, 02/18/2008 - 3:05pm

Romo got my vote as over-rated, and it was just a way to try and stop the usage of the following sentence..."And the Legend of Tony Romo continues to GROW!!!"...why in the world is this guy a legend???...good?...no question...best QB in NFC...perhaps...playoff victories with well-above-average talent surrounding him?...nope...legend?...get outta here!!!...over-rated printed all over the place...

136
by Chris (not verified) :: Tue, 02/19/2008 - 9:39pm

A Giants fan here to defend Romo along side Lance who points out the 36TD passes, 4200 + yards and the 13-3 record.

It might be hard to believe now, but a couple of years ago people were saying the talent in Dallas was garbage. Keyshauna and "She" were supposed to be two old possession receivers. They added TO to the mix and people said he would destroy the chemistry.

Romo made it work in a big way and now people are saying he is overrated because of his allstar cast.

He is one of the harder quarterbacks to sack in the league and me makes good quick reads. Does he make mistakes ( Buffalo game), sure, but who doesn't make mistakes? Romo was the best QB in the NFC this year and there are only 2 QB's in the AFC that you would definatly want above him ( I'd still want Carson too, but many would argue Romo's case). If he is a top 5-6 quarterback in a league begging for quarterback talent, there are easier targets to pick on as far as overrated players are concerned.

137
by Mr Shush (not verified) :: Wed, 02/20/2008 - 9:17am

#129 - Casserly for executive of the year? Seriously? Does anyone actually believe he was responsible for a draft after which he was immediately fired, and prior to which a new head coach with final say over personnel had been appointed? Casserly was kept on the payroll to stop him talking to other teams about the Texans' draft plans, not to make picks.

Does raise an interesting point, though: in many cases it's only possible to spot a year in which an executive did an outstanding job until some time later. Did Ted Thompson do a great job in 2007? I don't know, but he sure as hell did in 2006. Ditto for Kubiak. And my only reason for thinking 2007 was probably a good year for A.J. Smith is that 2003-2006 all were. Of course, sometimes there is an obvious immediate impact, and I think it's hard to deny that Belichick/Pioli fall into that category for this season, hence them getting my vote. But maybe there should be a "previous year exec of the year" award.

As for Andre Johnson being under-rated, I guess it comes down to whether you think someone who was selected as an all-pro while catching passes from a lousy quarterback on a 6-10 team only a year ago can be under-rated. In this case, I'm tempted to say yes - I think Johnson is the second best receiver in football, and pro-ration of his conventional and advanced 2007 stats to a full season would appear to support that opinion, while I'm guessing most people would rate him just inside the top ten. Westbrook might well qualify by the same reasoning. My vote, however, went to Ronnie Brown.

138
by thestar5 (not verified) :: Mon, 02/25/2008 - 11:43pm

Romo is the most overrated QB in the NFL? Wha? What happened to intelligent analysis?

139
by Matthew Yore (not verified) :: Sat, 05/31/2008 - 8:34am

It is "ridiculous" to even try and make an argument that devin hester is overrated. I guess some of you are missing the statistics regarding the touchdown returns? Sets a record his rookie year, breaks his own record the next, will usurp the ALL TIME return record this coming year, his 3rd year. Yes, 3rd year. Best return man ever. Dante Hall himself admitted Hester was better than he because of tackle breaking ability and the fact he does not underestimate the "last ditch effor" by the good ole kicker. Have you seen Hester move? Yes, he has fumbled... picked the ball up and returned it the whole way. Does anyone else have even focus to do that?

Oh, and who needs field position when you can just return the ball the whole way? EVERY kick to Hester is a potential touchdown.

And if you watch ALL of his returns, he DOESE break tackles.