Football Outsiders
Innovative Statistics, Intelligent Analysis

2005 Football Outsiders Awards, Part I

comments by Aaron Schatz

Once again, I would like to thank everyone who voted on the awards this season. Thanks to our increased exposure, this year's awards had two-and-a-half times as many votes as last year's awards -- even after we tossed out the ballots that were clearly duplicates caused by the technical problem with apostrophes. (Sorry about that, by the way.)

You'll find Part II of this year's awards here.

Who is your choice as Offensive MVP for 2005? (Last year's winner: Peyton Manning)


34.1% Steve Smith
13.3% Tom Brady
13.0% Tiki Barber
12.4% Shaun Alexander
8.1% Walter Jones
7.0% Peyton Manning
6.2% Larry Johnson
5.9% Carson Palmer

I had a feeling that the Football Outsiders readers would disagree with the official vote that had Shaun Alexander as MVP, but I don't think I expected Steve Smith to get nearly three times as many votes as anyone else. I guess this is what happens when you finish first in every single wide receiver statistic (DPAR, DVOA, yards, TDs) on a team with no other offensive weapons.

Who is your choice as Defensive MVP for 2005? (Last year's winner: Ed Reed)


34.5% Troy Polamalu
25.7% Brian Urlacher
11.7% Lofa Tatupu
6.1% Al Wilson
4.8% Dwight Freeney
4.7% Ronde Barber
4.2% Antonio Pierce
3.5% Julius Pepers
2.8% Shawne Merriman
1.8% Zach Thomas

I'll admit that it was tough to whittle down this list of nominees, and I deliberately did not list more than one player from any team so that there wouldn't be any vote-splitting. For the second straight year, a safety wins this award. So much for the idea that safety is not as important as other defensive positions.

Who is your choice as NFL Rookie of the Year for 2005? (Last year's winner: Ben Roethlisberger)


50.7% Lofa Tatupu
20.7% Shawne Merriman
8.4% Cadillac Williams
8.2% Heath Miller
3.6% Odell Thurman
8.4% (seven other candidates)

I listed 12 different candidates for this award because we kept thinking of rookies who had very good seasons in 2005 ... and then none of those guys got more than a handful of votes, so I ended up listing them all together at the end. Merriman won the official Rookie of the Year award because he made big plays in big games on national television, but Tatupu was steadier throughout the year and played a larger role in improving his team's defense compared to 2004.

Who was the best offensive lineman of 2005? (open question, two votes per ballot, top 12 listed) (Last year's winner: Alan Faneca)


42.4% Walter Jones (LT, SEA)
10.9% Steve Hutchinson (LG, SEA)
7.2% Alan Faneca (LG, PIT)
6.2% Willie Roaf (LT, KC)
4.1% Tom Nalen (C, DEN)
3.1% Levi Jones (LT, CIN)
2.7% Jeff Saturday (C, IND)
2.5% Will Shields (RG, KC)
1.5% Brian Waters (LG, KC)
1.2% Matt Lepsis (LT, DEN)
1.1% Willie Anderson (RT, CIN)
1.1% Mike Wahle (LG, CAR)

I guess when we include an offensive lineman on the list of MVP candidates, that guy is going to win the balloting for best offensive lineman, but I don't think this result would have been different even if Jones had not been listed as an MVP candidate as well.  Jones was fourth last year, but this year's number two lineman -- also from the Seahawks -- didn't make last year's top dozen. Mike Wahle drops from second into a tie for 11th. Other players who drop in this year's balloting include three linemen who were injured much of the year: Hank Fraley, Kevin Mawae, and Matt Light.

These open-ballot questions always lead to some very strange responses, of course. Two people voted for "Chad Hutchinson." We also got votes for two other quarterbacks and some guy named "Himes Ward."

Who is your choice for NFL Coach of the Year in 2005? (Last year's winner: Bill Belichick)


42.6% Lovie Smith
17.0% Marvin Lewis
13.9% Tony Dungy
8.5% Bill Belichick
6.7% Joe Gibbs
5.2% Mike Holmgren
4.5% Mike Shanahan
1.6% Tom Coughlin

Hey, it's our first year without Bill Belichick winning this award! Striking a blow for minority hiring, the top three coaches are all African-American. You just wait until Art Shell guides the Raiders to a surprise division title next year. (OK, I'm kidding. Shell is good but not that good.)

I should note that this award was specifically supposed to be for regular season performance, not postseason performance. This is why I did not include Bill Cowher among the nominees. Remember, the Steelers just barely slipped into the playoffs before they went on their amazing postseason run. Going from 15-1 to 11-5 is not the stuff of (regular season) Coach of the Year. The playoffs, well, that's a totally different story, but the awards balloting was over long before the Super Bowl.

Who is your choice for the Keep Choppin' Wood Award for 2005 (player who most hurt his team)? (Last year's winner: Ricky Williams)


35.0% Jamal Lewis
13.8% Fred Smoot and his boat rentals
10.7% Kerry Collins
9.6% Pac-Man Jones
9.4% Alex Smith (SF)
9.1% Duane Starks
6.7% Charles Rogers
5.7% "False start, Luke Petitgout, 5 yards"

Yes, I screwed up and left Terrell Owens off of this list. He probably would have won hands down. I cannot believe that Baltimore is thinking about franchising Jamal Lewis. Hello, Owings Mills Police? I think your town may have been invaded by zombies from the Planet of Bad Football Decisions.

Who is your choice for the Keep Choppin' Game Film Award for the worst coach of 2005? (Last year's winner: Mike Martz)


36.5% Norv Turner
22.0% Dom Capers
16.1% Dennis Green
13.5% Brian Billick
10.3% Mike Mularkey
1.6% Joe Vitt

This is the second time in three years that Oakland's head coach has won this award. I've been pushing Art Shell as a head coaching candidate since FO came online three years ago. Come on, Art, prove me right, and coach those boys up. Dennis Green, meanwhile, finishes third for the second straight year. Next year, after Arizona goes 6-10, he will finish third for the third straight year.

Who is your choice for the Art Rooney Jr. Award for Executive(s) of the Year? (New award)


31.8% Randy Mueller/Nick Saban, MIA
31.8% Tim Ruskell, SEA
16.8% Bill Polian, IND
11.2% Jerry Angelo, CHI
8.5% Ernie Accorsi, NYG
0.0% Pat Bowlan/Mike Shanahan, DEN

I'm not sure which is more odd, that there was an exact tie for the winner of this award or that not a single ballot voted for the two men who somehow turned a bunch of Cleveland castoffs into an actual NFL-quality defensive line. I wasn't sure who to list when a head coach has full power over a team, which is why you have two names each for Denver and Miami -- Saban and Shanahan aren't really executives, per se. Mueller and Saban of course turned the Dolphins back around to 9-7. Ruskell rebuilt the Seattle front seven with budget free agent signings and two rookie linebackers. I voted for Accorsi, actually -- I don't remember another time when an executive went into the off-season with three huge, glaring holes in his lineup and signed the top free agent at each position: WR Plaxico Burress, MLB Antonio Pierce, and RT Kareem MacKenzie.

For those wondering, Art Rooney Jr. was in charge of the Steelers when they had that string in the mid-70's where they drafted multiple Hall of Famers year after year.

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


20.0% Michael Vick
9.9% Shaun Alexander
9.4% Brett Favre
9.0% Peyton Manning
6.5% Eli Manning
4.4% Randy Moss
4.1% Jerome Bettis
3.9% Tom Brady
3.9% Terrell Owens
2.6% Jeremy Shockey
2.0% Jamal Lewis
1.7% DeShaun Foster

Yep, we may just have to name this the Ron Mexico Award until Vick learns how to be a fundamentally sound NFL quarterback. A lot of FO readers also believe that the Seattle linemen should get more credit and that we are sick of hearing about Brett Favre. One person who voted for Tom Brady pointed out that he "also kills puppies." There were four votes for different variations on "any Denver running back." Maybe the most interesting player to receive a single vote: Matt Schaub.

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


29.4% Ray Lewis
11.9% Champ Bailey
9.6% Dwight Freeney
6.6% Brian Urlacher
5.0% Tedy Bruschi
2.5% Warren Sapp
3.5% Troy Polamalu
3.2% Roy Williams
2.5% John Lynch
2.0% LaVar Arrington
1.6% Ty Law
1.6% Joey Porter

Lewis and Bailey finished one-two in this category last year as well. Lewis, Freeney, Urlacher, and Sapp have finished in the top six for this category all three years. One voter was sure to note that he was voting specifically for the "post-stroke" Tedy Bruschi. One voter referred to Dwight "One-Move" Freeney. Yes, but that one move is really, really good. There was a vote for Alex Smith, which is odd because a) it did not specify which Alex Smith, and b) both Alex Smiths play on offense.

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


6.9% Matt Hasselbeck
4.5% Hines Ward
4.3% Tiki Barber
4.0% Ben Roethlisberger
3.6% Deion Branch
3.0% Larry Johnson
3.0% Thomas Jones
2.4% Warrick Dunn
2.2% Anquan Boldin
2.2% Walter Jones
1.8% Mack Strong
1.6% Levi Jones

This is always an interesting category with a lot of candidates. We received votes for 125 players, not counting the people who threw their votes away with comments like "all fullbacks." If you think fullbacks are so underrated, why can't you name one? Matt Hasselbeck deserves to be considered one of the game's best quarterbacks at this point. Hines Ward has been one of the league's top receivers for years and when he goes into the Hall of Fame, we'll all sit around and talk about how strange it was that he never got mentioned in the same sentence as Terrell Owens and Marvin Harrison. I love Walter Jones, but I wouldn't exactly call him "underrated" -- conventional wisdom basically agrees that he's the top lineman in the game at this point.

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


6.9% Casey Hampton (DT, PIT)
2.9% Mike Vrabel (LB, NE)
2.7% Al Wilson (LB, DEN)
2.7% Al Harris (CB, GB)
2.5% Ronde Barber (CB, TB)
2.5% Mike Peterson (LB, JAC)
2.5% Aaron Smith (DE, PIT)
2.5% Adrian Wilson (S, ARI)
2.3% Richard Seymour (DE, NE)
2.1% Antonio Pierce (CB, NYG)
2.1% Lofa Tatupu (LB, SEA)
2.1% Jamal Williams (DT, SD)

Nosetackles, oh ye of few accolades and even fewer statistics. This voting was even more spread out than the voting for more underrated offensive player, with 144 different players getting votes. Do you notice that there are no Chicago Bears in the top dozen? That's because nearly every player who took the field for Chicago this year got a few votes, with no one Bears defender getting more than a handful. Alex Brown was highest among the Bears, but Nathan Vasher, Lance Briggs, Ian Scott, and Tommie Harris all received at least one percent of the votes. Other interesting names with a handful of votes: Minnesota DT Pat Williams, Cleveland CB Leigh Bodden, and LB Keith "I'm the entire Tennessee Defense" Bulluck.

The most overrated special teams player in the NFL is: (open question, top 10 listed) (New award)


35.6% Mike Vanderjagt
20.5% Dante Hall
7.7% Adam Vinatieri
5.9% Antwaan Randle El
3.7% Larry Izzo
3.2% Todd Sauerbrun
1.9% Jason Elam
1.9% Sebastian Janikowski
1.3% Chris Gardocki
1.3% Neil Rackers

Yes, the first winner of this award was going to be pretty obvious, and the first player to finish second is only slightly less obvious. People were promoting Dante Hall as an MVP candidate a couple years ago. What the hell were they thinking?

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


4.2% Antwaan Randle El (PR, PIT)
3.9% Terrence McGee (KR, BUF)
3.0% Sean Morey (coverage, PIT)
2.7% Chris Gardocki (punter, PIT)
2.4% Josh Miller (punter, NE)
2.1% Adrian Peterson (coverage, CHI)
1.8% Jay Feely (K, NYG)
1.8% Chidi Iwuoma (coverage, PIT)
1.8% Robert Mathis (coverage, IND)
1.8% Neil Rackers (K, ARI)

I can't tell if Pittsburgh just has really underrated special teams or only Pittsburgh fans voted in this category. We've got four Steelers here, plus one recent ex-Steeler (Miller) and Andre Frazier just missed the top ten. Also just below the top ten, votes for three players who were part of a major influx of punting talent in 2005: Donnie Jones of Miami, Michael Koenen of Atlanta, and Ben Graham of the New York Jets.

2005's biggest disappointment in fantasy football was: (Last year's winner: Clinton Portis)


50.5% Daunte Culpepper
17.8% Kevin Jones
10.8% Randy Moss
7.9% Jamal Lewis
5.2% Willis McGahee
3.8% Michael Clayton
1.7% Nate Burleson
2.3% (three other candidates)

I deliberately tried to stay away from players who were disappointments solely because they missed time due to injuries or hissyfits -- thus, no Terrell Owens -- but Culpepper of course tanked a ton of fantasy teams and then didn't even stick around to earn some of his value back. I feel like I could pick all 12 teams to make the playoffs next year and people will still bug me about Kevin Jones. (Jones' comparables since 1978 don't hold much promise for a comeback, either.) Randy Moss wasn't exactly Randy Moss anymore and it turns out Nate Burleson isn't Randy Moss either. The question of what happened to Michael Clayton is, to me, the biggest mystery of 2005. Maybe that's what I should do in Indianapolis this weekend: ask everyone I meet -- coach, scout, or media -- what they think happened to Michael Clayton. At least his comparables are more optimistic than Jones' (except this guy).

Player most likely to breakout in 2006 (open question, top 12 listed): (Last year's winner: Kellen Winslow -- apparently, people thought the question was "most likely to break a leg in 2005.")


6.4% Ronnie Brown
5.2% Kevin Jones
4.1% Larry Johnson
3.3% Reggie Bush
3.1% Braylon Edwards
3.1% Charlie Frye
3.1% David Carr
3.1% Rex Grossman
2.3% Eli Manning
2.3% Heath Miller
2.3% Roy Williams (DET)
2.3% Ben Watson

Of course, that top guy looks like an even better breakout prospect after the events of the past few days -- the only thing higher than Ricky Williams right now are the fantasy football expectations for Ronnie Brown. I am blown away that so many people think our bete noire, Jones, is actually going to get his act together in 2006. Expectations are high in Cleveland. Ben Watson finishes 12th for the second straight year -- of course, last year he had was coming off a rookie year that consisted of two receptions and a catastrophic injury.

By the way, what counts as "breakout" for Larry Johnson, breaking the all-time rushing record? 

Interesting names lower down in the voting: TMQ favorite Ernest Wilford, Carolina receiver Drew Carter, and Carolina running back Eric Shelton (who missed this year with a foot injury). Almost no votes for defensive players this year. Last year, whoever voted for Chicago linebacker Lance Briggs and New England nose tackle Vince Wilfork can pat themselves on the back.

Next year, I'm going to have to specify that this question is for players already in the league, not incoming rookies like Bush. (LenDale White almost made the list also.)

Player most likely to significantly decline in 2006 (open question, top 12 listed): (Last year's winner: Curtis Martin)


16.1% Shaun Alexander
15.9% Tiki Barber
10.8% Edgerrin James
4.7% Steve Smith
2.8% Trent Green
2.8% Larry Johnson
2.8% Larry Johnson
2.4% Mark Brunell
2.4% Peyton Manning
2.2% Drew Bledsoe
2.2% Priest Holmes
2.0% Santana Moss

Yep, this one is pretty obvious. You don't set the NFL record for touchdowns two straight years, and when you set a career high in yardage at age 30, you don't improve at age 31. If you don't believe me on that second one, ask Corey Dillon and Curtis Martin. That's not just a warning for Barber, but also Warrick Dunn. I don't get the votes for Larry Johnson at all unless people think they're going to work him so hard that he breaks down before the season even ends.

These next two go together. See if you can figure out what doesn't make sense.

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


24.3% Cleveland
14.0% St. Louis
13.1% Arizona
9.9% Baltimore
8.8% Detroit
7.2% Buffalo
6.8% New York Jets
6.0% Tennessee
4.7% Green Bay
2.8% Houston
1.3% San Francisco
0.9% New Orleans

Which playoff team is most likely to decline in 2006? (Last year's choice: Green Bay)


27.9% Chicago
11.8% Indianapolis
10.6% New York Giants
10.6% Washington
8.4% Jacksonville
5.4% New England
5.2% Tampa Bay
5.1% Carolina
4.9% Denver
4.4% Seattle
3.3% Cincinnati
2.3% Pittsburgh

Why doesn't this make sense? Because if Cleveland is the breakout team of 2006, Cincinnati and/or Pittsburgh has to decline. They can't all go 11-5, right? In other news, apparently people think Lovie Smith was the coach of the year, but not the coach of every year.

The 2005 Football Outsiders Awards are continued here.

Comments

168 comments, Last at 24 Mar 2006, 6:39pm

1 Re: 2005 Football Outsiders Awards, Part I

I've always wanted to see a category "Player whose fantasy value most exceeded his actual value." I'm guessing Shaun Alexander would probably do well in this one, as a lot of his TDs came from short drives this past year, and it's inconceivable that he could have had a higher fantasy value. Who else?

3 Re: 2005 Football Outsiders Awards, Part I

They can’t all go 11-5, right?

Apparently FO readers think Baltimore will really, really truly suck.

Hey, and that's not really that crazy.

4 Re: 2005 Football Outsiders Awards, Part I

Huh. I'm not sure why Cleveland is more likely to break out than the other teams listed, unless they're about to have a massively successful run of free agent signings and a perfect draft.

6 Re: 2005 Football Outsiders Awards, Part I

Ouch. The Super Bowl winning coach gets snubbed by FO voters. Doubly harsh given that we know the FO boards to be crawling with Steeler faithful.

Although Cowher got blanked I suspect that if FO polled for top OC and DC, Whiz and Lebeau would have ranked very high and might have taken both categories.

7 Re: 2005 Football Outsiders Awards, Part I

On average, 50% of the teams that made the playoffs one year do not make them in the next. So, which 6 teams are likely to be replaced and by whom?

I would agree that Chicago is one the most likely teams not to make it next season and that Minnesota would be the team most likely to replace them.

Number two on the list would be Jacksonville, replaced most likely by Miami.

Number three would be Washington (can't see Brunell doing it again in 2006) replaced by Dallas.

Number four, Tampa Bay, replaced by Atlanta (Vick seems to be an every other year player).

8 Re: 2005 Football Outsiders Awards, Part I

I love that somebody voted for Neil Rackers as the most overrated special teams player in football.

40 of 42, including perfect from inside 40 yards, for a team that absolutely nobody pays any attention to.

O-ver-RA-ted!!!

Do these voters expect Rackers to make more field goals than he attempts? How about if he kicks them backwards facing the other endzone? Man, tough group.

9 Re: 2005 Football Outsiders Awards, Part I

Re: 6, whoops, I was supposed to explain that. An explanation is now added as to why Cowher was not even among the nominees for Coach of the Year.

That OC/DC idea is a good one for next year though. I'm writing that down.

10 Re: 2005 Football Outsiders Awards, Part I

I think the choice of Cleveland is based on them being least of all evils. As I look at that list, no other team fills me with any hope or expectation. I think most voters said, "I think Crennel can coach, so that gives the Browns a leg up on the rest."

12 Re: 2005 Football Outsiders Awards, Part I

This underrated / overrated business is tough to judge, considering that it depends on who you ask. For instance...

Hines Ward has been one of the league’s top receivers for years and when he goes into the Hall of Fame, we’ll all sit around and talk about how strange it was that he never got mentioned in the same sentence as Terrell Owens and Marvin Harrison.

... the fact that Aaron made this statement, and that many NFL fans agree with it, suggests to me that Ward is one of the more overrated players in the NFL. True, there are some casual NFL fans who before the Super Bowl were barely aware of Ward, and in that sense he was underrated in a way. But there have been so many people who for years have been wrongly suggesting that Ward is one of the very best WRs in the game and now a future Hall of Famer (not merely good, but great), that I could never call him underrated.

13 Re: 2005 Football Outsiders Awards, Part I

Has FO ever thought of doing a piece on NFL coaches that analyzes their performance in light of the position they played (if they did play in the NFL)? I've heard it said that catchers often make good baseball managers. Can we say the same about NFL head coaches and coordinators?

14 Re: 2005 Football Outsiders Awards, Part I

I think the criticism of Rackers is based on the idea that it's easier to kick in Arizona (is this because of elevation, I forget...I remember I got schooled in all things atmospheric last time I brought this up.) That said, I think Rackers disproved the notion that it was just this factor, as I don't think most kickers could have done as well as he did in Arizona last year.

15 Re: 2005 Football Outsiders Awards, Part I

I love that somebody voted for Neil Rackers as the most overrated special teams player in football.

Personally I feel the WHOLE Special Teams thing is overrated. To me the whole Idea is to win and yet they penalize you anywhere from 39 to 1 yard (depending on the kickoff) if it goes out out bounds. This is stupid. Just put the ball in play where it goes out of bounds like on a punt. But NOOOOOOOOO we are supposed to kick the ball to the other tem fair and square. what the heck kind or rule is that?

And for those of you that do not understand sarcasim that is a breif glimpse of it. :-)

#8 it's not because we feel he is overrated I think that alot of people that voted for him does not know which team he is on (hell I don't, I took the easy way out and voted for Vanderchoke)
anyway don't feel too bad maybe now he along with I belive your favorite team will now get some exposure.

(of course my vote could have followed along favorite teams lines as well if I hand voted for Longwell this year.)

17 Re: 2005 Football Outsiders Awards, Part I

You mean San Diego didn’t get any votes at all for surprise Super Bowl contender?

why would they they are supposed to be in the "Hunt" each year.

18 Re: 2005 Football Outsiders Awards, Part I

Just like all the other 31 teams oops correction let me make that 30 teams. Temas owned by Al Davis are supposed to be the surpise contenders. :-)

19 Re: 2005 Football Outsiders Awards, Part I

Assuming that surprise contender means "didn't make the playoffs last year, and didn't go 10-6 and just miss the playoffs" I would probably put together a list that included Philadelphia, Dallas, San Diego and Detroit. (Why Detroit? No reason, really. I picked the Seahawks to go to the Super Bowl two years ago and they went 8-8. I picked Detroit to be a playoff team as their young talent kicked in last year and that didn't work out too well, so I'm hoping I was just off by a year. Come on, Mike Martz, don't let me down...)

20 Re: 2005 Football Outsiders Awards, Part I

You know, kudos to FO readers for calling Cincy last year, but if the Browns are a SB contender in '06, I'll eat my hat

21 Re: 2005 Football Outsiders Awards, Part I

Yea but as an OC do you REALLY think that Martz will have any pull over "I don't take the blame" Millen?

22 Re: 2005 Football Outsiders Awards, Part I

For those wondering, Art Rooney Jr. was in charge of the Steelers when they had that string in the mid-70’s where they drafted multiple Hall of Famers year after year.

Specifically, in charge of personnel for the Steelers. His brother Dan was (and still is) in overall charge and eventually fired Art, Jr.

23 Re: 2005 Football Outsiders Awards, Part I

What does Martz need pull over Millen for? There are good players on the roster. MIllen put them there. Martz just needs to get them to play well.

24 Re: 2005 Football Outsiders Awards, Part I

...if Cleveland is the breakout team of 2006, Cincinnati and/or Pittsburgh has to decline. They can’t all go 11-5, right?

Actually, they can. They could all go 12-4. Or 13-3. Or 14-2 (each of the three losing one game to each of the other two, and winning every other game). It's not likely, but it's possible.

And here you thought FO message boards were swarming with Steelers homers -- it's actually swarming with AFC North homers.

25 Re: 2005 Football Outsiders Awards, Part I

What does Martz need pull over Millen for?

yea Millen picked them up but, and this is a big but, no one for the past three years has been able to make them play. do you really think that Martz will be able to. Personally I think Millen has his next scapegoat ready.

"See, see, I told you so not even a head coach who has won superbowls can get these guys to play. So today we had to relase Mike Martz due his LACK of being able to coach our squad." Matt Millen post season 2006 and why the Detroit Lions did not once again make the playoffs.

26 Re: 2005 Football Outsiders Awards, Part I

You know, kudos to FO readers for calling Cincy last year, but if the Browns are a SB contender in ‘06, I’ll eat my hat

I don't think this year (I picked Kansas City) but possibly 2007. I think Coach Crenell needs one more year of tune up to do and find a decent QB and then away we go!!!! So for 2007 would you still eat your hat?

28 Re: 2005 Football Outsiders Awards, Part I

Just so people understand, awards were multiple choice unless listed as "open question." This is why there were no SD votes for surprise Super Bowl contender -- only the teams listed as receiving votes (all with losing records, by the way) were listed as part of the question.

29 Re: 2005 Football Outsiders Awards, Part I

good, people are underestimating the redskins next year. As long as Aaron doesn't put sean taylor or santana moss on PFP 2006 next year, it's all good.

30 Re: 2005 Football Outsiders Awards, Part I

For the second straight year, a safety wins this award. So much for the idea that safety is not as important as other defensive positions.

Aaron, is that your take, that the notion that safety is a less important defensive position is wrong? Or were Reed and Polamalu wrongly picked by the voters? How valuable can a safety, even a really good one, be? I've wondered about this for years. Do you or any of the other Outsiders have any articles on this matter or any in the offing?

32 Re: 2005 Football Outsiders Awards, Part I

"Why doesn’t this make sense? Because if Cleveland is the breakout team of 2006, Cincinnati and/or Pittsburgh has to decline. They can’t all go 11-5, right? In other news, apparently people think Lovie Smith was the coach of the year, but not the coach of every year."

Aaron, the question was "Who is most likely to decline in 2006?" Just because Cincinnati and Pittsburgh weren't up there for this question doesn't mean they are the first and second least likely teams to decline. Maybe the people voting for Cleveland as surprise Super Bowl contenders just thought another team was more likely to decline than Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. If someone thinks Chicago, Cincinnati, and Pittsburgh have 70%, 65%, and 65% chances of declining, they probably voted for Chicago. You can't generalize that Cincinnati and Pittsburgh are the two least likely teams to decline by this poll. All you can conclude is that they aren't the best candidates for "most likely to decline."

34 Re: 2005 Football Outsiders Awards, Part I

A minor note, but in the Best Offensive Lineman section you mention that Hank Fraley dropped out of the voting along with the "injured" Kevin Mawae and Matt Light. Fraley was also injured for a considerable portion of the season.

35 Re: 2005 Football Outsiders Awards, Part I

This is my favorite thing to read, out of all the great content FO puts out. Thanks, Aaron!
I voted for Fred Smoot ahead of Jamal Lewis for KCW. He deserves it. Signed a big money deal, and hurt the team on and off the field. The ultimate bad free agent signing.
I'm guessing I'm one of the only ones that noticed that the Vikings D played better when Smoot was injured.

37 Re: 2005 Football Outsiders Awards, Part I

The most overrated offensive player in the NFL is:

If anyone watched the Pro Bowl, you heard Joe Thiesmann fawn over Ron Mexico, who threw a boneheaded missile way down the field (when he was being taken down). It should've been intercepted by Bailey, but Fitzgerald made an awesome catch. Theismann said something to the effect of "Those are the kind of plays he's learning to make."

Thus displaying the ineptness of two of our award-winners on one play.

38 Re: 2005 Football Outsiders Awards, Part I

"But there have been so many people who for years have been wrongly suggesting that Ward is one of the very best WRs in the game and now a future Hall of Famer (not merely good, but great), that I could never call him underrated."

Ummm...what precisely are you talking about??

Here, let me give you the Year by Year DPAR of 2 receivers, one is Ward, one is another that is often talked about as a sure hall of famer, tell me which is Ward and if you have a guess who the other receiver is:

2000: 6 : 37
2001: 4 : 26
2002: 7 : 4
2003: 22 : 6
2004: 10 : 9
2005: 27 : 8

Just wondering why people wrongly talk about Ward being a future HOFer??

39 Re: 2005 Football Outsiders Awards, Part I

Pat Bowlan/Mike Shanahan, DEN

It's Bowlen, and I'm surprised Denver's combo got no votes. I voted for Ruskell.

One person who voted for Tom Brady pointed out that he "also kills puppies."

Paging stan. :P

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

He goes from winning it to competing for Most Overrated this season. Impressive.

Alex Brown was highest among the Bears, but Nathan Vasher, Lance Briggs, Ian Scott, and Tommie Harris all received at least one percent of the votes.

I almost voted for Chris Harris, even though he missed a few games due to injury. Pretty sure I ended up voting for Pat Williams instead. If I was familiar with Leigh Bodden, I might've voted for him instead.
I'm surprised Sauerbrun and Gardocki got votes for most overrated. Both great punters. Maybe Gardocki got his votes because every damn time he comes onto the field, some emptyheaded announcer repeats the line about his streak.
Also surprised Jerome Mathis didn't get votes for most underrated special teams player. I forgot who I voted for, but I was debating between him and a few kick coverage guys.

40 Re: 2005 Football Outsiders Awards, Part I

12. Right on man, how can someone who is in the Probowl every year be considered overrated? Ward, even when he doesn't have the best numbers doesnt make it. When guys that do have the numbers dont make it. Hines Ward is becoming the opposite of Emmit Smith, who got so famous for being overrated, I think that he is now underrated.

41 Re: 2005 Football Outsiders Awards, Part I

Alan Milnes:
Philly could easily replace Washington in my scenario, but I think all Parcells needs to get Dallas back into the playoffs is a better OL. With Adams healthy, a couple of draft picks and LeCharles Bentley signing could fix that problem, much like the DL was addressed last year.

As for Philly, I think the TO problem wasn't just TO; it sounds to me like TO left plenty of lockeroom problems in his wake. Philly needs a RB to take the pressure off of McNabb; Reid seems to be reluctant to do this. Both OTs may need to be replaced as well.

Besides, I'm a Cowboys' fan.

42 Re: 2005 Football Outsiders Awards, Part I

I don’t get the votes for Larry Johnson at all unless people think they’re going to work him so hard that he breaks down before the season even ends.

Maybe they're banking on the fact that the O-line will decline, thus affecting Johnson.

As for playoff team most likely to decline in 2006, I went with Indianapolis. Non-playoff team most likel y to decline is Kansas City.
I think Baltimore has a solid chance to make the playoffs next season.

43 Re: 2005 Football Outsiders Awards, Part I

Aaron, could we get exact numbers on how many people voted this year compared to past years? Also, what about the numbers where people indicated which team they rooted for. That'd be very interesting to see.

RE: 2

I agree. They should be much higher than that. I think they will decline.

RE: 3

I disagree. I think Baltimore is almost a lock to improve record-wise.

Ouch. The Super Bowl winning coach gets snubbed by FO voters. Doubly harsh given that we know the FO boards to be crawling with Steeler faithful.

It wasn't based on the playoffs. Plus, as the site has grown, the tremendous influence of Patriot and Steeler fans has shrunk.

44 Re: 2005 Football Outsiders Awards, Part I

#30,

Donno, but a really bad safety can set you back a ways. See if you can't get in touch with Ertric Pruitt :)

45 Re: 2005 Football Outsiders Awards, Part I

You mean Scottie Vines didn't win for most underrated Special Teams player?!

That was the hardest question for me to answer.

48 Re: 2005 Football Outsiders Awards, Part I

#38
I'm gonna play (without looking!)

Hines Ward's numbers are on the right.
Terrell Owens is on the left.

I wanted to guess Marvin Harrison on the left.

But that's just too obvious, so I'm going to guess that it's Rod Smith on the left...

my final answer, Hines Ward on the right, Rod Smith on the left. Now I'm gonna go check...

49 Re: 2005 Football Outsiders Awards, Part I

Here, let me give you the Year by Year DPAR of 2 receivers, one is Ward, one is another that is often talked about as a sure hall of famer, tell me which is Ward and if you have a guess who the other receiver is:

It's Owens. But that's a little harsh - at least two of the years were partial years for Owens, and DPAR is a cumulative stat. It also is notable that Owens is 3 years older than Ward. Which does make you wonder if he's on the decline anyway...

Note that I think that Ward should be a lock for the Hall of Fame, and unless Owens actually miraculously avoids detonating his next team, I don't think Owens has done anything to make it in. Then again, he might be the first HoF player that no one would want on a team of all HoF players.

50 Re: 2005 Football Outsiders Awards, Part I

Cower doesnt get nominated because he went from 15-1 to 11-5? How many of those games did he not have his starting QB? By the way, the Patriots went from 14-2 to 10-6 (the same drop in wins, but in one of the weakest divisions in the league) and Belicheck gets the nod? Something seems a little fishy here.