Football Outsiders
Innovative Statistics, Intelligent Analysis

2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

comments by Aaron Schatz

This is our fourth 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 broadcasts and commercials and writers and so forth.

Part II of this year's awards are here.

Here's a look back at the three previous FO awards results:

Who is your choice as Offensive MVP for 2006? (Last year's winner: Steve Smith)

37.1% LaDainian Tomlinson
35.6% Peyton Manning
27.3% Drew Brees

FO readers agree with the writers who officially vote on the award, although not by much.

Who is your choice as Defensive MVP for 2006? (Last year's winner: Troy Polamalu)

30.0% Jason Taylor
25.4% Champ Bailey
12.5% Adalius Thomas
8.9% Brian Urlacher
5.9% Pat Williams
5.7% Asante Samuel
4.9% Shawne Merriman
3.6% Julius Peppers
2.3% Pac-Man Jones
0.8% Aaron Kampman

Note to anyone who loves Bart Scott or Lance Briggs: I deliberately did not list more than one player from any team so that there wouldn't be any vote-splitting. Safeties had won this award for two straight years, and I bet if we included the playoffs and had this vote over, a safety might win it again this year (Bob Sanders). Julius Peppers finishes eighth for the second straight year, which is fun bit of randomness.

Who is your choice as NFL Rookie of the Year for 2006? (Last year's winner: Lofa Tatupu)

26.1% Marques Colston
25.6% Marcus McNeill
15.9% Vince Young
9.1% Maurice Jones-Drew
8.0% Joseph Addai
4.7% Devin Hester
3.8% Nick Mangold
3.4% DeMeco Ryans
3.0% Reggie Bush
0.4% Tamba Hali

What a great year for rookies. I could have listed 20 guys. I didn't have room for Matt Leinart or Laurence Maroney. And I could only fit two defensive players on the list, leaving off Dewan Landry, Mark Anderson, Thomas Howard, Mario Williams, and a few others. Actual NFL Rookie of the Year Vince Young comes in third in our voting. Marques Colston, the seventh-round wonder, narrowly beats out San Diego offensive tackle Marcus McNeill for the FO Best Rookie with a Homophone Name Award. If you are reading, Marcus, don't feel too bad about Colston's victory, because you are about to win an award of your own...

Who was the best offensive lineman of 2006? (open question, two votes per ballot, top 12 listed) (Last year's winner: Walter Jones)

18.8% Marcus McNeill (LT, SD)
12.6% Jeff Saturday (C, IND)
9.6% Shawn Andrews (RG, PHI)
6.6% Olin Kreutz (C, CHI)
6.1% Jonathan Ogden (LT, BAL)
4.2% Jamaal Brown (LT, NO)
3.9% Steve Hutchinson (LG, MIN)
3.8% Willie Anderson (RT, CIN)
3.1% Walter Jones (LT, SEA)
3.1% Nick Mangold (C, NYJ)
2.2% Tarik Glenn (LT, IND)
1.9% Tom Nalen (C, DEN)

Yes, that's right. FO readers chose a rookie left tackle as the best offensive lineman of the year. I guess when you protect a first-year starting quarterback who is rarely sacked, and block for a running back who breaks the NFL record for touchdowns, that's a pretty good rookie year. In 2005, Walter Jones won this award handily with over 40 percent of the votes. This year, the votes were a bit more spread out. It's a bit strange to have a right guard in our top three -- that's not often considered to be the position of your best lineman.

Who is your choice for NFL Coach of the Year in 2006? (Last year's winner: Lovie Smith)

62.5% Sean Payton
11.8% Eric Mangini
9.7% Jeff Fisher
4.4% Marty Schottenheimer
3.6% Andy Reid
3.2% Brian Billick
2.7% Lovie Smith
2.1% Mike Nolan

Wow. That's a win. I expected more votes for Eric Mangini, but the great majority of FO readers went for the man behind the Miracle of New Orleans.

Who is your choice for the Keep Choppin' Wood Award for 2006 (player who most hurt his team)? (Last year's winner: Jamal Lewis/Terrell Owens)

27.8% Ben Roethlisberger
22.8% Daunte Culpepper
9.2% Chris Chambers
8.4% Rex Grossman
7.7% Robert Gallery
6.3% Jerry Porter
6.3% Brad Johnson
5.7% Odell Thurman
4.2% Pat Watkins
3.8% Mike Vanderjagt
1.7% Kerry Collins
0.2% Fred Smoot

I think the moral of the story is to wear a damn helmet.

Who is your choice for the Keep Choppin' Game Film Award for the worst coach of 2006? (Last year's winner: Norv Turner)

27.8% Art Shell
20.0% Herman Edwards
19.4% Tom Coughlin
8.2% Dennis Green
6.9% Joe Gibbs and his cast of thousands
6.7% Nick Saban
5.7% Jim Mora
5.3% Mike Shanahan

This now makes three years out of four where Oakland's head coach has won this award, and each time it's a different head coach. Maybe the problem isn't the head coach. Herman Edwards went 9-7, sure, but the readers will never forgive him if Larry Johnson crashes and burns next year. I still can't believe that Tom Coughlin kept his job, but Marty Schottenheimer got fired.

Who is your choice for the Bill Arnsparger Award for Coordinator of the Year? (New award)

42.9% Rob Ryan, OAK defense
9.9% Cam Cameron, SD offense
8.5% Marty Mornhinweg, PHI offense
8.2% Ron Rivera, CHI defense
8.2% Rex Ryan, BAL defense
8.0% Mike Tomlin, MIN defense
5.8% Tom Moore, IND offense
3.5% Bobby April, BUF special teams
2.1% Jim Johnson, PHI defense
1.2% Bob Sanders, GB defense
1.2% Michael "not David" Smith, JAC defense
0.6% Josh McDaniels, NE offense

Wow. Putting this award out there for the first time, and putting up 12 candidates, I never would have expected this many votes for one guy. It is pretty remarkable what Ryan has done with the Oakland defense, considering that most of the players are still under 25 and they are always in bad field position because the offense is so pathetic. The two Ryan brothers together received more votes than the other 10 candidates combined.

Bill Arnsparger, by the way, was defensive coordinator for the 1972 Miami Dolphins.

Who is your choice for the Art Rooney Jr. Award for Executive(s) of the Year? (Last year's winner: Randy Mueller/Nick Saban)

47.9% Mickey Loomis, NO
23.7% A.J. Smith, SD
9.7% Scott Pioli/Bill Belichick, NE
8.0% Ozzie Newsome, BAL
6.2% Mike Tannenbaum, NYJ
4.5% Marv Levy, BUF

Once again, everyone loves the Miracle of New Orleans. FO readers seem to favor the general manager as the reason for success in San Diego and the head coach for the reason for success with the New York Jets.

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

14.9% Terrell Owens
13.0% Michael Vick
10.8% Tom Brady
9.5% Chris Chambers
5.6% Tony Romo
3.9% Eli Manning
3.7% Reggie Bush
3.2% Randy Moss
3.0% Brett Favre
3.0% Jeremy Shockey
3.0% Shaun Alexander
2.8% Vince Young

T.O. sneaks past Michael Vick, keeping ol' Ron Mexico from a three-peat. The Patriots backlash is large and in charge in the "overrated" categories, but Brady didn't suddenly stop being one of the league's top quarterbacks. Heck, even "overrated" T.O. led the league in receiving touchdowns, so "overrated" is really in the eye of the beholder. Well, except for Vick. Obscure vote: Bo Sciafe. Bo Sciafe???

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

28.0% Ray Lewis
12.3% DeAngelo Hall
10.7% Roy Williams
9.3% Dwight Freeney
5.9% Shawne Merriman
3.6% Brian Urlacher
3.0% Ty Law
2.7% Tedy Bruschi
2.3% John Lynch
1.8% Bob Sanders
1.6% Michael Strahan
1.6% Warren Sapp

That's three straight for Mr. Baltimore. I think people are sick of having a "mic-ed up" Ray Lewis shoved down their throats. I hope nobody thinks he's a bad player -- he may not be as good as he used to be, or as good as Bart Scott and Adalius Thomas, but he's still pretty good out there. Personally, I would vote for DeAngelo Hall, the Michael Vick of defense (i.e. observers confuse athletic talent with football skills). Hall didn't even make this list in past years. Roy Williams is the other guy who takes a big jump up in 2006. Champ Bailey was second in this category for two straight years but I have a feeling most of those voters have changed their view on him significantly. Same goes for anyone who voted for Bob Sanders before the playoffs were over. Weirdest vote: Kevin Williams. Kevin Williams is overrated? Nobody ever even talks about the guy.

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

9.3% Lorenzo Neal
8.8% Brian Westbrook
6.4% Lee Evans
2.7% Dallas Clark
2.7% Jason McKie
2.4% T.J. Whosyourdaddy
2.2% Donald Driver
2.2% Frank Gore
2.2% Jeff Saturday
2.2% Marcus McNeill
2.0% Jerricho Cotchery
1.5% Mike Furrey

This year I told people not to say "all fullbacks." If you think fullbacks are so underrated, name one. People took me up on the offer, so we got a fullback as our most underrated player. I like those Lee Evans votes. Players with a couple of votes who I happen to agree with: D.J. Hackett, Jeff Faine, Ladell Betts, Moran Norris, and Justin Griffith.

The most underrated defensive player in the NFL is: (Last year's winner: Casey Hampton)

Every year I screw up at least one category with my B-level HTML programming skills, and this year the winning category was "underrated defensive player." All the votes in this category were lost somewhere in the series of tubes that make up the Interwebs. Sorry about that. I'll just list some players who I think are worthy of the award: Pat Williams, London Fletcher-Baker, Leigh Bodden, Antonio Cromartie, Raheem Brock, every New England lineman not named Richard Seymour, Aaron Smith, and -- even though he did finally make the Pro Bowl -- Adrian Wilson.

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

27.0% Dante Hall
22.6% Adam Vinatieri
10.3% Devin Hester
4.1% Mike Vanderjagt
3.4% Larry Izzo
2.8% Mat McBriar
2.8% Nate Kaeding
2.5% Antwaan Randle El
2.5% Reggie Bush
2.2% Jason Elam

At this point, Dante Hall is just another guy.

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

6.1% Stephen Gostkowski (K, NE)
5.2% Adrian Peterson (coverage, CHI)
3.5% Mike Scifres (P, SD)
3.2% Josh Brown (K, SEA)
3.2% Koy Detmer (holder, PHI)
3.2% Quintin Mikell (coverage, PHI)
2.6% Brad Maynard (P, CHI)
2.6% Chidi Iwuoma (coverage, PIT)
2.3% Dustin Colquitt (P, KC)
2.3% Ethan Kilmer (coverage, CIN) 

Yes, that's a holder ranked fifth. Think people had that Seattle-Dallas game on their minds when they voted?

2006's biggest disappointment in fantasy football was: (Last year's winner: Daunte Culpepper)

33.7% Shaun Alexander
17.2% Daunte Culpepper
12.1% Cadillac Williams
10.3% Matt Hasselbeck
9.1% Randy Moss
8.5% Edgerrin James
5.5% LaMont Jordan
1.8% Jake Plummer
1.0% Rod Smith
0.8% Vernon Davis

After two years of finishing first and second, I doubt Daunte Culpepper will taken in fantasy drafts early enough that he would disappoint people in the future.

Player most likely to breakout in 2007 (open question, top 12 listed): (Last year's winner: Ronnie Brown)

9.2% Matt Leinart
6.8% Michael Turner
5.9% Reggie Bush
5.4% Santonio Holmes
5.2% Alex Smith
5.2% Brandon Jacobs
5.0% Vincent Jackson
3.3% Jay Cutler
2.8% Joseph Addai
2.6% Maurice Jones-Drew
2.4% DeAngelo Williams
2.1% Vernon Davis

Hidden reason to believe Matt Leinart will break out in 2007: Arizona now has Russ Grimm to tutor the offensive linemen. As for last year's winner: Whoops. Apparently, we didn't know that the Miami offensive line would fall apart again this year. Oh, Hudson Houck, how did you let it happen? 

Interesting names lower down in the voting: Chicago receiver Mark Bradley, Denver receiver Brandon Marshall, and Cincinnati middle linebacker Ahmad Brooks.

Player most likely to significantly decline in 2007 (open question, top 10 listed): (Last year's winner: Shaun Alexander)

53.8% Larry Johnson
3.9% Marvin Harrison
3.7% Steve McNair
3.7% LaDainian Tomlinson
2.8% Tony Gonzalez
2.5% Tony Romo
1.8% Drew Brees
1.4% Terrell Owens
1.4% Corey Dillon
1.4% Jeff Garcia

We might as well call this one the "guy who went over 370 carries" award, but Shaun Alexander and Curtis Martin (the year before) didn't get anywhere near as many votes as LJ.

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

28.0% San Francisco
25.1% Arizona
14.9% Buffalo
7.5% Green Bay
6.1% Washington
4.3% Minnesota
3.5% Oakland
3.1% Miami
2.7% Cleveland
1.8% Tampa Bay
1.6% Houston
1.4% Detroit

The majority of FO readers believe that next year's surprise team is coming out of the NFC West, but the readers are split on which team it will be. By the way, New Orleans was last with 0.9% of the vote in this category last year. There really was no way to forecast what the Saints did in 2006. It was amazing. Cleveland? Not so much.

Which playoff team is most likely to decline in 2007? (Last year's choice: Chicago)

36.5% Kansas City
13.8% New York Giants
13.0% Baltimore
10.5% Dallas
5.3% Seattle
4.9% Chicago
4.5% New Orleans
4.3% New York Jets
3.1% Indianapolis
2.5% New England
0.8% Philadelphia
0.8% San Diego

Here's another one where we all whiffed in 2006. The top two vote-getters were Chicago and Indianapolis, who met in the Super Bowl. The two teams with the fewest votes were Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, who both went 8-8. I think that the FO readers will end up a bit more accurate in this category in 2007.

Next week we'll announce the second half of the awards, including best and worst writers, announcers, and commercials.


116 comments, Last at 14 Mar 2007, 1:52pm

2 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

Devin Hester as an overrated speacial teamer? I know he had a few drops, but he accounted for 6 touchdowns in the season and another in the Super Bowl. and how was he rated before this?

considering him and Mark Anderson (and Robbie Gould's improvement) no love for Angelo when it came to the executive category? i suppose that's Grossman's doing.

4 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

Most underrated special teams player - #8: 2.6% Chidi Iwuoma (coverage, PIT)

Chidi was particularly underrated by Steeler management who cut him at the start of the year and didn't bring him back until what - week 12 or something?

Ryan and the Steeler fans certainly didn't underrate him.

6 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

Some Things I Think That I Might Think Before I Become Too Distracted By A Lack Of Coffee Over The Last Wow It's Snowing

-I'm surprised LT2 beat out Manning for Offensive POY.
-It's interesting that McNeill lost ROY, but won best lineman (i voted for McNeill for ROY and Ogden for lineman).
-no-one i voted for won until Rob Ryan.
-i thought lee evans and adrian peterson should've won their underrated categories.
-I wouldn't have voted for Turner as breakout player if I thought the Chargers were going to keep him.
-FO readers don't think the Chiefs are going to be very good next year. I thought Herm would've won worst coach.

7 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

6: McNeil winning best lineman is probably due to he poor seasons from the HOF type standouts of the past few years. Walter Jones, Odgen, Hutchinson, Faneca etc. all declined a little this year and Willie Roaf rode into the sunset.

And also, McNeil is a beast.

8 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

so...that's four straight years with the lions getting votes as 'next year's surprise super bowl contender.'

presented without comment.

well, except one - i've been a lions fan for all of my 41 years, and i truly think i'll die before the lions get anywhere near a championship.

worst franchise in sports, bar none.

9 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

"Champ Bailey was second in this category for two straight years but I have a feeling most of those voters have changed their view on him significantly."

Champ Bailey isn't even listed on the most overrated defensive player list...

10 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

I got a good chuckle out of the two players finishing 2nd and 3rd in the 'who hurt their team the most' award. First off, while Chambers was bad, I didn't realize a WR could have that much impact on the whole season. And with Culpepper, he only played in 4 games. 4. How can you be the second most detrimental player to your team while playing only 4 games? Jeez, Joey Harrington was a lot more of a problem than Culpepper was. And the offensive line wasn't helping the cause of any of these guys. That line was average at best at its high point last year.

11 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

Yep. You would think that if the best lineman in the league is a rookie, he'd probably have to be the best rookie. I mean, Colston had a great year (and my vote was MJD), but where would Colston have ranked in the top WR rankings? Somewhere between 15-20 at best? I think Colston gets bonus points because of his lowly draft standing. If he were a 1st or 2nd rounder, I'll bet he would have fallen behind McNeil, Young, and some others.

12 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

Last year, Aaron wrote 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. Close. He was 4th this year.

13 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

Player most likely to significantly decline in 2007 (open question, top 10 listed): (Last year’s winner: Shaun Alexander)


2006’s biggest disappointment in fantasy football was: 33.7% Shaun Alexander

So... last year we felt that Shaun Alexander was the most likely to decline, yet we were suprised when it happened?

Side Note: To me, a disappointment is when a player does not perform up to expectations.

15 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I


-Art Shell had that award locked up tight. No way Herm was getting at it, and I'm frankly surprised Shell only got 27.8% of the vote.


-Culpepper hurt the team by not being ready to play. He was supposed to be a starter and he only played in four games? Hard to hurt a team much more than that.

17 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

Yeah, but you'd think some lineman would be good enough to win ROY if eligble, especially over a wide reciever having a good season. It's not like Colston was Evans, Wayne, Harrison, CJohnson, Whosyourdaddy, Steve Smith, Javon Walker.


15-Herm basically killed the team's future for a 9-7 season. The Chiefs are a mess right now. Art Shell would have only compared if he had run over Rob Ryan in the parking lot.

19 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

Marcus McNeill is the obvious choice for ROY. As others have pointed out, it's absurd that he won best lineman but not ROY. If outplaying future Hall of Famers like Orlando Pace and Jon Ogden doesn't count as a ROY season for a lineman, what does?

I voted for Jason McKie, but I'm surprised he came in 4th in the underrated offensive player category. He is little-known but a very good blocker and a reliable receiver.

Scifres is a great punter, possibly better than Brian Moorman and definitely better than the overrated Shane Lechler.

It seems, from the discussion in the AFC West Four Downs and the voting here, that we're all agreed that the Chiefs are screwed.

My votes:
MVP: Tomlinson
DPOY: Taylor
ROY: McNeill
Linemen: Jeff Saturday, Shawn Andrews
Coach: Schottenheimer
KCW: Grossman
KCGameFilm: Coughlin
Coordinator: Rob Ryan
Executive: AJ Smith
Underrated Offense: Jason McKie
Underrated Defense: Pat Williams
Underrated Special Teams: Scifres
Overrated Offense: Tom Brady
Overrated Defense: John Lynch
Overrated Special Teams: Vinatieri
FF Disappointment: Shaun Alexander
Breakout Player: Matt Leinart
Decline Player: LJ
Breakout Team: Arizona
Decline Team: Kansas City

(Obviously, I see a link between Matt Leinart becoming great and the Cardinals making a playoff run. I'd probably vote for the Chiefs even if LJ hadn't logged 400 carries, though.)

22 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

Bob Sanders played in a grand total of FOUR regular season games this year. For him to be a worthy Defensive Player of the Year, he would have needed about eight interceptions in the Super Bowl.

23 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

Kevin Williams might be considered overrated because he was an All-Pro selection and initial Pro-Bowl selection, even though a lot of people (including myself) consider Pat Williams better.

24 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

#10 & #15 Culpepper hurts his team in more ways than even playing time. Miami lost a 2nd rd pick. Also I think Saban stays if they don't trade for Culpepper.

26 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

I don't really know why, but I found the "Overrated Special Teams Player" pretty interesting. Hall may have climbed a spot to take the crown, but he only gained 6.5% of the vote. Vinatieri had the largest increase with 14.9%. And (not surprisingly) last year's winner sucked so much this year that the idiot kicker lost 31.5%.

BTW, both years these three garnered more than half the vote (53.7% last year and 63.8% this year).

27 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

#8 & #21 -

The Pirates have won two World Series in my lifetime. They need another twenty or thirty years at their current level of suck to come anywhere near the distinction of worst franchise in sports.

The Chicago Blackhawks, on the other hand...

28 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I


Enough about Bo Scaife already. How many times do we have to hear fans and commentators slobbering in anticipation to talk about the guy.

30 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

If I had to guess as to why McNeill got Best OL but not ROY is more because of the lack of standout OL this year (at least from the usual suspects). So there weren't as many names he had to jump. For ROY, OTOH, there were a ton of names that all had notable seasons.

33 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

Re 13

It probably wasn't the same people voting for him both times. The one's who didn't think he would decline were the ones who were later disappointed. Maybe.

Re 10

It's already been said but, yeah, Culpepper hurt the Dolphins by being crappy enough that Harrington was actually considered an upgrade. Then throw in the fact that they gave up a high draft choice to get him.

34 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

dryheat and others: Marques Colston was 11th in DPAR (including missing a game or two, can't remember how much time exactly) and 16th in DVOA. That makes sense to me, as I'd put him in the 2nd tier of WRs this year down a step from Steve Smith, Harrison/Wayne, the Bengals duo, etc. It would've been a great rookie season even for a 1st round draft pick. All of which makes McNeill's season even more astounding because he may or may not have been the best O lineman but he was certainly in the top 5. I think it's very difficult for anyone, even intelligent video junky FO people, to accurately judge line play to the degree where you can say one guy is the best LT and another the second best. There's clearly a few guys on another level and beyond that deciding which is the absolute best is just a matter of opinion.

35 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

Re: McNeill

I'm sure that most of the people who named McNeill one of the top two linemen also named him rookie of the year. It's just that a lot of people named him neither. I had Ogden and Brown for linemen and McNeill for ROY.

Speaking of linemen, four centers in the top 12? Really, people? More than a quarter of us really think that a center is one of the two best offensive linemen in the game?

36 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

I imagine that most of the people who voted McNeill as the best lineman also voted for him as ROY -- but that far more people overall voted for ROY. I know very little about how to judge line play (and the cameras don't exactly focus on the line), so I didn't vote for best lineman. I'm guessing a lot of others did the same.

37 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

What's so good about that semi clever commercial?
It's Beavis and Butthead. Huh huh uh huh huh. Uh huh.

38 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

for underrated defensive player:

I voted for Dre Bly. The splits between the guy he covers vs the rest of the Lions coverage is so dramatic, it's insane. If he's anywhere else, people are talking about him as one of the best CBs in football.

39 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

Aaron: Sorry if the "write-in campaign" thing came across as "WHY ISN'T THIS INCLUDED, OMG YOU SUCK." It's just that a particularly funny ad wasn't "officially" up for a vote, for whatever reason.

40 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

16: Announcers slobber all over Roy Williams, as do others in the media. That's why people call him overrated -- because many Dallas fans as well as FO readers know he sucks, but the media makes him sound great. And didn't he make the Pro Bowl again this year for crying out loud?

41 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

Wasn't Lorenzo Neal the AFC's starting fullback in the pro bowl? And the ap's first team all-pro fullback? He's not even the most underrated player on the Charger offense. Mike Goff kicks butt.

43 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

Whoever voted for Bo Scaife misspelled his name. Must've been a joke.

Jason Taylor, Art Shell, and Rob Ryan were three examples where the guy I voted for won. I'm surprised Vince Young got even 16%. He certainly didn't deserve the votes. My ranking goes like this: 1)McNeill 2)Drew 3)Colston

I like all the people who voted for Vinatieri as the most overrated ST player. He definitely is overrated. I've heard people say he's the best kicker of all-time because he hit some game-winning field goals in big games. Give me a break. He's a great clutch kicker (if you define "clutch" as only the end of big games), but he's severely overrated overall.

Thanks for compiling this again, Aaron.

44 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

Larry Johnson: 416 regular season carries, 13 playoffs carries, 6 Pro Bowl carries. 435 total. Yeah, I'd say he's most likely to decline. Is that 3rd all-time overall behind Jamal Anderson and Terrell Davis? Davis was way up there twice.

45 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

RE: 10

I voted for Culpepper, and for good reason. He screwed up Miami's season even when he wasn't playing. Notice how so much time and effort was spent on him and deciding whether to place him on IR, etc. If they had brought in a real QB...

47 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

saying that VY "didn’t deserve the votes" is a reach. he singlehandedly won some games for the Titans. that doesn't mean he's a great player or that he was consistent or the only reason they won (or even had anything to do with some of their wins), but he made plays that won games. he deserves recognition for that.

also, in what universe is ray lewis still overrated? nobody even talks about him anymore!! same with sapp. and the big theme of the dallas defense this year was everyone in the media finally noticing that roy williams can't cover.

48 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

Michael Vick gets rubbished by every NFL fan and hack commentator for the last 2 years, sets a rushing record, throws for 20 TDs and still finishes second on an overrated players list ahead of Tom Brady?

There was a difference of 130 offensive yards between these two guys yet they are at polar opposites in terms of how they are viewed in the media and on FO.

If dropping to 11th in DVOA (while playing behind one of the league's best offensive lines, possibly the most important factor for a QB's success) means that 'Brady did not stop being one of the league's best QBs' then what exactly does he need to do?

And how does Ray Lewis even make the overrated defenders list? No one's rated him for about 3 years either. DeAngelo Hall is much more deserving of the 'honor.'

51 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

I'm also surprised LDT won offensive MVP over Manning. I'm not surprised he won the writers award, but I thought FO would be different. Also a bit surprised Lee Evans didn't win the most underrated offensive player. Agreed that DeAngelo Hall got "shafted" in the most overrated vote. I voted for Kirk Morrison for most underrated defensive player.

53 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

I don't necessarily think the Tom Brady vote is that crazy. If you judge him on this year's performance, he wasn't really anything special. It's very easy to razz on the Pats FO for putting stiffs out there at WR, but the fact is, he was overthrowing and missing wide open guys in the playoffs. You don't see Marvin Harrison breaking open and then Manning bouncing the ball at his feet, but Brady is allegedly tied with Manning for best QB in the league (in the average opinion).

54 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

51: You can find several underrated players on the Raiders defense: Asomuga, Schwiegert, Morrison and arguably Burgess. I thought Sapp had a pretty good year considering most people thought he was washed up. I agree with you on Lee Evans but I voted for Moran Norris, who I thought was the best FB in the NFL last year.

For underrated defender, Aaron's list is a little pro afc, aside from Adrian Wilson (who FO has a man-crush on because he has to play in the box because he can't cover deep, resulting in a high proportion of his plays being made near the LOS) the only NFC player mentioned is Pat Williams, who has only spent 2 years in the NFC after spending the rest of his career in the AFC. How about showing the NFC a little love? Charles Tillman, Brian Young or Brandon Moore? (I think that I might have voted for Aaron Schobel though)

55 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

A Brady-Manning comment has been deleted. If we turn this into Brady-Manning, I'm closing the thread down. Nothing has changed this year: allowing Brady-Manning comparisons is simply not worth the tsuris.

56 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

RE: 22

Exactly. I don't see how anyone could vote Bob Sanders DPOY, considering that he barely played. I thought Jason Taylor and Champ Bailey were the two clear guys for that award.

RE: 38

I thought Bly plays one side of the field, not the #1 WR? I could be wrong, though.

oh yeah, and here was my ballot:

MVP: Brees
DPOY: Taylor
ROY: McNeill
Linemen: Jeff Saturday, Shawn Andrews
Coach: Mangini (I wanted to make sure he got some votes, even though I'm not sure I'd actually put him over Payton. Tough call)
KCW: Fumblepper
KCGameFilm: Shell
Coordinator: Rob Ryan
Executive: AJ Smith
Underrated Offense: Kris Dielman (honorable mention: Mike Goff)
Underrated Defense: Nnamdi Asomougha
Underrated Special Teams: Gould
Overrated Offense: Steve McNair
Overrated Defense: John Lynch
Overrated Special Teams: Vinatieri
FF Disappointment: Edgerrin James (most thought he'd decline, but not like this)
Breakout Player: D'Brickashaw Ferguson
Decline Player: Jonathan Ogden (heh, Larry Johnson)
Breakout Team: Arizona
Decline Team: Kansas City

57 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

I also think Sapp and Ray Lewis aren't really very overrated anymore. Most of the votes were probably "reputation" votes (kind of ironic, in this case). They were overrated for several seasons, but now they've basically reached their level. Sapp played well for a very good Oakland defense.

58 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

RE: 54

uhhh...what? Adrian Wilson is one of the best all-around SSs in the game today. If FO had a crush on safeties who couldn't cover deep and played in the box a lot, why wouldn't they "have a crush" on safeties like John Lynch or Roy Williams?

59 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

I swear some of these people who vote must be the dumbest human beings alive. Who said Michael Strahan is overrated? Have you seen the Giants record when he doesn't play the past 3 years? As I've said repeatedly, people have totally underestimated the 2006 schedule's effect on the Giants. With an easier schedule in 2007, the Giants might not play as well and still win 9 games.

60 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

57: Agreed on Sapp. He's really not such a bad player, and it's not like anyone still thinks "oh boy, Warren Sapp is an elite defensive tackle!"

If you want to talk about overrated defensive tackles, I think Rod Coleman's excellent pass-rushing skills have gotten people to believe he's an elite defensive lineman, but I see him get plowed out of the way on lots of running plays. I don't want to come down too hard on him, though, because he's a good player.

Kris Jenkins, also, had a great season in 2003 and has skated by on reputation ever since. (Although he was pretty good this year.)

56: I'm happy to see someone else voting for Lynch. I have nothing against him, but him making the Pro Bowl at this point in his career is just absurd. Also, nice vote on Dielman as underrated offensive player.

55: No problem.

61 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

60: What do you mean "ever since"? He played 3 full games in the next two seasons, and then by your admission played well this season. What is he supposed to have done?

62 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

thanks Aaron for this rundown. my question is why almost 10% of votes went to pioli/belicheck for their moves this year when they left $12 mil in cap space on the table and the limitations of their old LBs and bad WRs killed them in the playoffs. i know the deion branch for a 1st rounder was a nice pull, but come on, they were 1 good receiver or LB under age 30 away from a SB.

63 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

61: Fair point.

A better way to phrase it is that Jenkins doesn't do as well as people expect him to at the start of each season, because expectations for him are fairly high and he can't keep healthy.

64 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

Had to look it up:

Noun 1. tsuris - (Yiddish) aggravating trouble; "the frustrating tsuris he subjected himself to"
difficulty, trouble - an effort that is inconvenient; "I went to a lot of trouble"; "he won without any trouble"; "had difficulty walking"; "finished the test only with great difficulty"

Yiddish - a dialect of High German including some Hebrew and other words; spoken in Europe as a vernacular by many Jews; written in the Hebrew script

65 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

Re: 48 and the supposition that Brady isn’t among the best QBs in the league because he dropped to 11th in DVOA. Nice cherry picking. Here’s the list:

1. P. Manning 58.0%
2. D. Huard 36.0%
3. T. Rattay 29.0%
4. D. Brees 28.4%
5. P. Rivers 28.3%
6. C. Palmer 27.6%
7. M. Bulger 27.4%
8. D. McNabb 25.7%
9. T. Romo 20.1%
10. J. Garcia 19.7%
11. T. Brady 19.6%
12. M. Brunell 13.1%

Do you really think Brady was less valuable to his team this year than Huard, Rattay, McNabb, Romo or Garcia, none of whom played anything close to a full schedule?

I’m fine with people voting for Brady as most overrated offensive player. I think he benefits tremendously from playing for a great organization and tends to get more credit than he deserves. He also had longer stretches of poor play this year (missing open receivers, making questionable decisions, etc) than he’s had in several years. On the other hand, he’s clearly very, very good. Just like a lot of his less heralded teammates.

P. Manning is clearly this year’s best QB. But the next group narrows down to Brees, Rivers, Palmer, Bulger and Brady (and would include McNabb if he’d stayed healthy all year, although to be fair, McNabb might have separated himself from this group if he’d stayed healthy) So yeah, Brady easily remained one of the top QBs in the NFL in 2006. The only way you could rationalize him out of the top 6 is by combining McNabb/Garcia into one player.

66 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

Where is the award for the best QB??

Because I think Brady is much better than Manning, and thats whats really important here!!

HA ha just kidding Aaron!

67 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

Re: 62 As a result of Belichick/Pioli’s moves, the Pats were pretty clearly one of the four best teams in the NFL this year (along with the Colts, Chargers and Ravens). They came within one narrow road loss of going to the SB as a healthy favorite.

Let’s look at their high profile offseason FA losses:

Givens – way overpaid, no way they could keep him, cost-effectively replaced by Caldwell (a couple of bad drops in the AFCC, more than offset by 3 (!) huge plays in the last six minutes of the divisional game against SD)

McGinest – maybe a good locker room presence for Cleveland, but effectively done as a full time player

Viniatieri – cost-effectively replaced by a younger kicker who’s liable to have significantly more value than Adam in the near and long term futures (maybe not, since we’re talking about kickers). Anyways, letting him go, despite the PR hit, didn’t hurt the team at all on the field.

Branch – yes, it seems likely they would have been a slightly better team in 2006 with Deion in the mix. If they could re-do it, Belichick/Pioli probably would handle the situation differently. But they still came away with a late 1st round pick, on top of the 4 years of good, cheap WR play they got from Branch, without having to compromise their team building principles. They took the short term hit to improve the team’s long term prospects.

They appear to have had a very good draft, hitting with Maroney, Gostkowski, TE David Thomas, OL Ryan O’Callagahn and 7th round special teamer Willie Andrews. The jury’s out on 2nd Round WR Chad Jackson and 4th Round TE Garrett Mills, but both of those might still turn out to be productive NFL players.

Do they have issues at LB, and, to a lesser extent, at WR? Sure. If Belichick/Pioli can only succeed now by winning the Super Bowl, then sure, they failed miserably this year once more. But, instead of focusing on the team’s shortcomings, real and/or imagined, take a step back and look at the net impact of the teams Front Office moves in 2006 and it’s hard not to be impressed.

68 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

They fleeced the Seahawks, although they should have put Branch up on the trading block earlier if they weren't going to resign them. If they had another first-rounder in 2006 instead of 2007, they could have had someone like DeMeco Ryans or Manny Lawson for this year.

69 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

To the fellow wondering why Aaron doesn't mention more NFC players, maybe that's just because the AFC is clearly the stronger conference.

70 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

5.8% for Tom Moore? The guy coordinates one of the best offences in history. I know its been said Manning:Jordan in that its soo taken for granted how good they are, the next best player gets votes for MVP. But at least Manning's vote was close. I would say its because he has so much talent on the field, but so do the Chargers, and Cameron got 9.9%. I just find that interesting. I should mention I voted for Rob Ryan.

I was also dissapointed Dave Toub coordinator of the ridiculous Bears ST wasn't on the list. Can we have a write in area next year?

71 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

Well, look at what the award is called: Coordinator of the Year.

What did Moore do this year? He had what's been consistently the best offense in football since 2003. He retained his quarterback, the three wide receivers, all his tight ends, and the offensive line. The only change he made was to replace a talented running back with a younger talented running back. Unsurprisingly, his offense remained the best in football.

If we had this award back in 1999, maybe he would have won it then. Now I think he mostly gets to sit back and admire his handiwork.

72 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

Chidi came back in week 14, the Steelers had one punt blocked and one returned for a TD in week 15, overtaking the Cardinals' ST in DVOA in the process.

73 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

FWIW, my votes were:

MVP: P.Manning
DPOY: J.Taylor (Taylor was a beast this year, but got bonus points from me for speaking up early over Merriman)
ROY: McNeill
Linemen: Marcus McNeill, Shawn Andrews
Coach: Sean Payton
KCW: D.Culpepper
KCGameFilm: Art Shell
Coordinator: Rob Ryan
Executive: AJ Smith (In light of recent events I'd like this one back)
Underrated Offense: Ronald Curry, (WR OAK) Seriously, Curry caught 89 passes for 727yds with 17.1 DPAR and 14.2% DVOA ranked 25th & 20th respectively. All while playing in the Oakland offense!
Underrated Defense: Kerry Rhodes S NYJ
Underrated Special Teams: DNV. To my shame, I didn't feel qualified.
Overrated Offense: Chris Chambers
Overrated Defense: DeAngelo "Toasty" Hall (With hindsight I'd like to have voted for Merriman. He's a juicer, so all his acheivements are suspect)
Overrated Special Teams: Vanderjagt. $3.5 million to sign?
FF Disappointment: Shaun Alexander (Although I don't play)
Breakout Player: DeAngelo Williams. (Someone has to carry the ball in Carolina)
Decline Player: LJ. Who else?
Breakout Team: 49ers. With Turner probably coming back to mentor Alex Smith I feel even better about this.
Decline Team: Kansas City. Herm Edwards; Not just a great quote.

74 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

Here is some pretty good evidence that FO READERS are Pats biased....

A. Vinatieri comes in second in most overrated special teams player, yet he was 25-28 (89.3%, 6th in the league) on field goals in the regular season.

Meanwhile, Gostkowski is "the most underrated" special teams player while going 20-26 (76.9%, 23rd in the league) on field goals in the regular season.

Not to mention AV was 14 for 15 in the playoffs (he scored 47% of his team's playoff points), and he won another Superbowl.

Something smells fishy.

75 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

#74 - You're actually making a pretty good argument in favor of FO readership.

1. Remember, it's overrated/underrated, not "is he any good". Everybody agrees Vinatieri is a great kicker. Does that make him clutchiest clutch clutcher who ever clutched in the NFL? Nope.

2. Gostkowski is underrated not because of his FG abilities (which FO has shown to have high year-to-year variance), but because of his outstanding kickoffs (which is far more consistent).

3. There's a pretty big difference between kicking outdoors in Foxboro, and kicking inside of the RCA dome. As a Steelers fan, you should know that better than anyone.

76 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

55,64-Aaron's occasional yiddish is one of the most underrated parts of the site.

If we're listing picks, then
MVP: P.Manning
DPOY: C.Bailey
ROY: McNeill
Linemen: Jon Ogden, Shawn Andrews
Coach: Mangini
KCW: one of the dolphins, i forgot which one
KCGameFilm: Herm Edwards
Coordinator: Rob Ryan
Executive: Mickey Loomis (i'm pretty sure)
Underrated Offense: Lee Evans
Underrated Defense: Leigh Bodden
Underrated Special Teams: Adrian Peterson
Overrated Offense: Chris Chambers (i think)
Overrated Defense: DeAngelo Hall
Overrated Special Teams: Vinatieri
FF Disappointment: Shaun Alexander (i think)
Breakout Player: Michael Turner
Decline Player: Larry Johnson
Breakout Team: Oakland, just because I think more people would be surprised by a 7-9 season from them than from a 9-7 season from the Cardinals
Decline Team: Kansas City.

77 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

re 58: You've kind of made my point for me.Wilson is better protected in the cardinals' scheme that Williams. Wilson is never asked to play deep in a cover two (or even a deep third in a cover 3). He's always playing up close to the line and as a result that's where he makes most of his plays. The only time he ever ends up deep is if the TE he is covering runs deep and he has man coverage. So he is not an all-round safety, he's 230 lbs for crying out loud! He had 8 sacks last year, that's not orthodox safety play.

Roy Williams is asked to play deep quite often and he ges burned badly as a result.

NB It's not that I think that Wilson is crap, I just think that safeties like him will always be boosted by FO's statistics.

78 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I


Most #1 CBs do play sides of the field. Dre Bly is the only one whose on the opposing receivers #1 almost every game. Which makes his splits that much more dramatic.

79 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

Following on from the Dre Bly comment, PFT% are reporting that the Lions have given Bly permission to seek a trade

80 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

Only saw him twice this year, but from what I saw, Dre' Bly freaking rocks. I hope the Steelers make a move for him. Extra bonus: the Lions are likely easily fleeced!

81 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

Aaron’s occasional yiddish is one of the most underrated parts of the site.
I like that too, but I prefer Aaron's occasional independent/hiphop quotes.

82 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

Re 54:
Super Stu! People at Purdue were crazy over him. I didn't think he'd be an NFL starter and I'm surprised that people think he's so good. It seemed like he got a lot of credit for big hits and a few timely plays.

83 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

RE: 76

If you voted based on which team will "surprise people more", you didn't vote in the spirit of this. It was Which of the following teams is most likely next year’s surprise Super Bowl contender?

If Oakland goes 7-9, they may surprise people, but they won't be a Super Bowl contender. Oh, and they won't be 7-9 next season.

84 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

RE: 78

During this past season, I thought I heard someone from FO respond to a reader who was praising Bly as the greatest ever by saying he plays a side of the field and is not always covering the #1 opposing WR.

85 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

I love Brian Westbrook to death, but is he really underrated? Maybe that's just the perception of an Eagles fan who spends a lot of time talking to a) other Eagles fans and b) fans of other NFC East teams, but I really think people know who he is by now. Then again, I really don't care about underrated or overrated... here, we're mostly talking about what the mass media thinks anyway, and I don't think any of us give the media (as a whole) a lot of credence.

I would also like to add that I voted Koy Detmer for Underrated ST, but did so ironically- just as I voted Tony Romo for Overrated ST.

86 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

MVP: LdT/Manning(? - leaning towards Manning)
DPOY: Jason Taylor
ROY: Colston
Linemen: Andrews & Kreutz
Coach: Sean Payton
KCW: Grossman(?)
KCGameFilm: Shell/Coughlin(? - leaning towards Coughlin)
Coordinator: Rob Ryan
Executive: Mickey Loomis
Underrated Offense: Westbrook
Underrated Defense: Pacman
Underrated Special Teams: ?
Overrated Offense: Young/Romo(? - leaning towards Romo)
Overrated Defense: Ray Lewis(?)
Overrated Special Teams: Vinatieri
FF Disappointment: Shaun Alexander
Breakout Player: Greg Jennings
Decline Player: Larry Johnson
Breakout Team: Green Bay
Decline Team: Chicago/KC(? - leaning towards Chicago)

So I'm in the majority on 8/20.

And I'd just like to point out that Shawn Andrews was a beast this year.

87 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

re 85: I thiink that eagles fans would claim Westbrook is underrated because he didn't make the Pro-Bowl. I mostly agree with you though.

88 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

I love Brian Westbrook to death, but is he really underrated?

I'd agree that most people know his name, but I don't think he gets enough credit as a runner. I voted him most underrated because it seems like most people know him as a great receiving threat and only a OK runner.

89 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

Dre Bly available? The Titans should get him. They have a hole on the other side of Pac-man Jones, they could use two killer corners against Peyton Manning twice a year, and they have the cap money to spend 4.5 mil on Bly's salary.

92 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

Actually, there's a good reason why my underrated defenders were generally AFC guys. The best defense in the NFC is Chicago, but everybody there gets their due. Then came Minnesota, and I mentioned Williams. The good players in Carolina are generally appreciated: Peppers, Jenkins, Rucker, Minter. Same with the good players on the Giants (Strahan is NOT overrated). I would have said Roderick Hood from Philly, but he wasn't necessarily as good in 2006 compared to 2005. Maybe I should have said Jason Ferguson from Dallas, but that pretty much does it for above-average defenses in the NFC. The good NFC defensive players are generally rated correctly by the public.

93 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

92: So you can only be an underrated player on a good defense? I would have thought that youare likely to find underrated players on below average teams because of the lack of media exposure. Isn't Adrian Wilson a good example of this, only getting his due when the media began to pick the cards as the next good side?

94 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

re: 65

Agree with most of your post, but I wouldn't consider the 6th best QB to be among the league's top QBs, particularly given the level that Brees and Manning were playing at in 2006.

Also, after thinking about it a bit more, I think Sean Taylor is more deserving of the overrated defender award. He led the league in missed tackles by a wide margin and became the first safety to concede 11 TD passes in a season (according to STATS burned defenders).

95 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

RE: 92

Although it does look like Rucker and Minter are on their way out. Some have suggested Jenkins too, but I doubt that.

96 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

re: 41

Agreed on Neal. If anything this guy is OVERRated considering how much love he gets. Praising a fullback is like a guy in baseball getting hot and bothered over a bunt because its the 1955 version of insider knowledge.

Neal especially. He's a favorite of every color man on every network broadcast.

Mack Strong is nearing that point as well, despite his inability to do anything anymore.

97 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

Re 83: Would most people really be surprised if the Cardinals went 9-7 and got obliterated in the first round? I think being in playoff contention late in the season counts as 'super bowl contender' as much as a team that walks into the playoffs due to a crappy schedule that everyone thinks has as much of a chance as the teams that are watching the playoffs at home. Who was more of a Super Bowl contender this year, the Bengals or the Jets?

98 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

Re: 94

As a Skins fan, I see Taylor's stuggles as being a combination of bad coaching and overagressive refereeing. He really has been quite good in his first two years, but didn't make a Pro Bowl. Now he sucks but he's in the Pro Bowl. It's weird. I can't call him overrated though because I think most NFL fans and journalists rate Roy Williams, John Lynch, Troy Polamalu, Ed Reed, Brian Dawkins, Bob Sanders, and maybe Adrian Wilson ahead of him. How overrated can you be if everyone thinks all those guys are better than you?

That said, Sean Taylor could become the best safety in the league with better coaching.

100 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

Re 96. "Mack Strong is nearing that point as well, despite his inability to do anything anymore." Yep. I actually voted Strong for most overrated. How did he make the Pro Bowl? His game just disintegrated this year.

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Randy S, #89

Dallas should trade for Bly. Then they could move Baxter to FS and have a fantastic secondary for playing man coverage and blitzing. It would be scary.

102 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

When was the vote?

Most overrated: Mike Vick ( by far), Dwight ( I only pass rush) Freeney, and Deangelo Hall. People think because Hall is fast and has a big mouth that he is good. Tony Romo is also overrated and I'd be shocked if that guy didn't come back down to earth next year.

I think Bodden and Schobel are legit underrated defensive players. I'd also throw out Mathias Kwinauki from the Giants. Randy Thomas from the Redskins is a good lineman and Larry Allen is still real good.

To watch out for next year? I think at QB that Eli Manning or Alex Smith will make steps. Chad Jackson could be the breakout wide receiver and I like Scheffler in Denver at tight end. Demeco Ryans is getting some love in Houston but if he gets more talent around him he could be a premier linebacker in year 2.

104 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

#27 TomC : The Chicago Blackhawks, on the other hand…

The Hawks have gone slightly longer without winning a championship, but the Toronto Maple Leafs have gone 40 years without winning a championship but are the richest team and have the largest and probably the most passionate market in their sport. For sheer resources expended to happiness returned, the Leafs probably just edge out the Knicks for worst overall performance.

105 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

#93: I'd disagree with that, just because the local (and national, to an extent) media will latch onto something, anything to praise a team about to at least staunch the flow of hate mail. Defenders often get this treatment, and for this reason, they're usually well-regarded so long as they are relatively skilled.

So yeah, I think usually you have to be on a good defence to be underrated (like Lance Briggs up until maybe last month).

106 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

I'm surprised at some of the comments on underrated/overrated, but perhaps the problem some folks have is not with the evaluation of play, but the perception of how a player is generally "rated"

If you are merely a good player, but announcers and writers say that you are "the best at your position in years" or even "greatest to ever play the game" and "a lock for the hall of fame", there is a very good chance you are significantly overrated. You can be extremely overrated, even if you sometimes play well enough to earn a pro bowl slot.

On the flip side, it is theoretically possible to be generally regarded as one of the best at your position and yet, be underrated.

I would argue that Peyton has been extremely underrated over the last four years by a substantial number of commentators and sportswriters. Based on what they say and write, Manning is far and away the most confused QB in NFL history. [google it sometime -- he is described as confused at least 4 or 5 games a year]

There are a number of writers who have been absolutely brutal in their assessment of him for years. E.g. writers a couple of years back at the LA Times, Wash Post and others who questioned why anyone would think that Eli Manning's bloodlines were a good thing since the Mannings were nothing but losers.

The stuff some people write is pretty nasty. He's been called selfish, stat hungry, soft, a choker, confused, and the ultimate loser by a number of writers all over the country.

NFL coaches are unamimous that Manning is the best against the blitz (and the numbers back them up). Yet a large number of writers and commentators criticized the Bears for not blitzing Manning because, they said, "Manning wilts under pressure" and "everyone knows he can't handle it when he is blitzed". In my view, that is a classic case of being underrated -- a significant number of writers think you are weak in a key area of your game where you are actually extraordinarily good.

107 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

Stan, what are you, Peyton's mom? He's regarded as the best qb in the NFL by most people, and if he is a bit underrated, so what? Enjoy your championship, and try not to be bothered by writers dragging out tired cliches when they have nothing else to say.

If you think Peyton's been trashed by the media, go to your local library and borrow a biography of Ted Williams. Hell, it happens with all star players to a greater or lesser extent. They're expected to be perfect, they're not, and they're criticized for it. Sometimes they are even bashed for things totally beyond their control. For example, A-Rod's contract was blamed for the fact that Michael Young and Mark Texeira did not reach the majors and produce before A-Rod left. It's not fair, but it's life and it happens to lots of guys.

109 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

Re: 106-108

To me, the fact that Manning didn't win the MVP award unanimously this season indicates that he is underrated or at least was underrated before the Super Bowl. I think Manning is the best QB of all time, and, as the best player at the most important position in the game, I think it's fair to call him the best or at least the most valuable player in the history of football. His name should be mentioned with Gretzky, Ruth, Jordan, etc. as one of the all time greats of North American team sports. Perhaps I'm overrating him, but I contend that anyone who stops short of the extremely high praise that I just gave him is underrating him. I will side with stan, largely for different reasons, that Manning, despite being extremely highly rated, is nonetheless underrated. That said, there are many players whom I would consider to be more underrated.

110 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

re 109: Are you saying that anyone who doesn't think that Manning is the greatest player of all time is underrating him? What a load of rubbish! By your reckoning if I believe that Montana was a better player or that Jim Brown was the most dominant player of his era then I'm underrating Manning. The only player who is widely regarded as the best ever at his position is Jerry Rice (and even then some say Don Hutson was better) but to claim he's the best player ever would be a very strong and controversial statement indeed. I think most people would probably place Manning as one of the top ten Qbs of all time, and that most people would arrive at a different top ten, and in various orders. Due to the changes in playing style across different eras, such differences of opinion are inevitable and it is possible to say that Manning is not the greatest player ever without underrating him.

111 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

Re: 110

Sure, that's essentially what I'm saying. It's only "possible to say that Manning is not the greatest player ever without underrating him" if you believe that Manning is not the greatest player ever. If Manning is the best ever, as I believe he is, if you deny that conclusion then, in my opinion, either you are underrating Manning or overrating whoever you claim to be better. That doesn't mean I think you are an idiot or an awful human being. On the flip side, you probably think that I am overrating Manning. Yes we have a difference of opinion, and yes I believe you are underrating Manning. I'm sure if we expanded this discussion I would conclude that you underrate plenty of other players too, and that's true of anyone else with whom I might discuss these things as well. If we rate players differently, then, by definition, by each others' standards, the other one underrates or overrates those players. Big deal. I'm not sure why you are taking such offense.

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CA: I'm not taking offense, I'm just astonished that you feel that it is possible to make such a broad statement.

114 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

How does Coughlin NOT win worse coach of the year?!?!?!?!? C'mon people!!! It's the ONLY thing the Giants CAN win with him still there! Which front office is more pathetic - NY for keeping that moron or San Diego for dumping Schott? Hopefully, karma will intervene and both teams will go 2-14 for their sins against their fans.

115 Re: 2006 Football Outsiders Awards Part I

Brian Westbrook's running skils are hugely underrated. All you ever hear about is "matchup problems" but no one ever says hey by the way that dude has a seriously bad ass stiff arm.