Football Outsiders
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2012 Football Outsiders Awards

2012 Football Outsiders Awards
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

comments by Aaron Schatz

Welcome to the results of the tenth annual Football Outsiders Awards -- the best and worst players of the year, as voted on by you, our readers. I want to thank everybody who voted in this year's awards, especially if you are one of the people who had to go through and vote twice because of our technical problems. Those same technical problems also cost us the results of the questions about what features readers would like to see added to FO Premium, so we may have that as a separate questionnaire for you guys sometime in the next couple months.

For those curious about the FO Award winners in past years, you will find links to each of the previous FO Awards articles on this page.

Who is your choice as Offensive MVP for 2012? (Last year's winner: Aaron Rodgers)

51.6% Adrian Peterson
22.8% Peyton Manning
10.7% Tom Brady
5.8% San Francisco offensive line (as a group)
3.5% Aaron Rodgers
2.3% Russell Wilson
2.1% Robert Griffin
0.6% Matt Ryan
0.4% Andrew Luck
0.2% Andre Johnson

I'm a little bit surprised that Peterson won by such a wide margin. FO readers, like FO writers, generally seem to believe that the running back position is overrated, and that most running backs are fairly interchangable. Only a few players are transcendent enough to rise above the pack, and Peterson is certainly number one among those players. We've always talked about running back success being heavily dependent on the offensive line, but there's a lot of evidence against that idea in Peterson's case. Minnesota was just tenth in Adjusted Line Yards, and 29th in preventing runners from being stuffed at the line. Peterson averaged 6.0 yards per carry. His backup, Toby Gerhart, averaged 3.4 yards per carry behind the same offensive line.

Who is your choice as Defensive MVP for 2012? (Last year's winner: Justin Smith)

75.1% J.J. Watt
6.8% Justin Smith
5.8% Richard Sherman
4.5% Von Miller
4.3% Charles Tillman
2.1% Geno Atkins
1.2% Vince Wilfork
0.2% Patrick Peterson

We've pretty much covered this one in full already; for those who missed the initial post, J.J. Watt had 56 Defeats, defined as plays which cause turnovers, tackles for a loss, and tackles or passes defensed to prevent a conversion on third or fourth down. The previous record, tracked back as far as 1996, was 45 by Ray Lewis in 1999.

Who is your choice as NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year for 2012? (Last year's winner: Cam Newton)

56.8% Russell Wilson
31.9% Robert Griffin III
11.3% Andrew Luck

As you might expect, FO readers leaned towards FO stats, which state that Wilson had a more valuable rookie year than Griffin because he had similar value against a tougher schedule. Also, let's be honest, we have a lot of Seahawks fans who read this site. For those wondering, I left Alfred Morris off the ballot to prevent any vote-splitting from Redskins fans. I left Doug Martin off the ballot because... well, I probably should have stuck Doug Martin on there. But he would have finished fourth.

Who is your choice as NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year for 2012? (New category)

29.5% Bobby Wagner
29.0% Luke Kuechly
13.8% Casey Hayward
11.4% Janoris Jenkins
8.3% Chandler Jones
8.0% Lavonte David

I split the Rookie of the Year vote into two categories because I wanted to be able to give all the great defensive rookies of 2012 their proper consideration, rather than having them all get one or two votes and finish way behind the quarterbacks in the balloting. Our big Seattle readership powers Bobby Wagner to a slim victory over Luke Kuechly. Kuechly led the league in defensive plays this year by leaps and bounds. He had 172 plays, 20 more than the next defender. Chad Greenway of Minnesota had 152. Kuechly was also involved on 20.6 percent of Carolina's defensive plays that had a defender listed in the play-by-play. Second behind him at 18.9 percent was... Bobby Wagner.

Who was the best offensive lineman of 2012? (open question, two votes per ballot, top 14 listed) (Last year's winner: Carl Hicks)

23.5% Joe Staley (LT, SF)
11.8% Mike Iupati (LG, SF)
11.2% Duane Brown (LT, HOU)
9.1% Ryan Clady (LT, DEN)
6.6% Joe Thomas (LT, CLE)
5.2% Marshal Yanda (RG, BAL)
5.0% Russell Okung (LT, SEA)
4.1% Evan Mathis (LG, PHI)
4.1% Max Unger (C, SEA)
2.5% Matt Kalil (LT, MIN)
2.3% Trent Williams (LT, WAS)
1.8% Alex Boone (RG, SF)
1.8% Sebastian Vollmer (RT, NE)
1.6% Logan Mankins (LG, NE)

What can I say, the kids like the 49ers. Alex Boone had a nice year as a first-time starter, but "best offensive lineman" is a bit of a stretch. Same goes for rookie Matt Kalil. Otherwise, I'm pretty down with this list.

Who is your choice for NFL Coach of the Year in 2012? (Last year's winner: Jim Harbaugh)

31.5% Jim Harbaugh
29.6% Pete Carroll
25.7% Bruce Arians
3.9% Bill Belichick
3.7% Leslie Frazier
2.1% Mike Smith
1.9% John Harbaugh
1.7% John Fox

It's nice to see that a plurality of FO readers agree with me: Jim Harbaugh's ability to counteract and overcome historical regression trends is just as impressive as the usual "Coach of the Year" feat of taking a losing team to the playoffs a year later. Not to argue with what Pete Carroll and especially Bruce Arians were able to do, of course. We talk a lot about teams like Indianapolis that put together winning records with close wins over bad teams as "lucky," but some part of that difference between expected wins and actual wins is also good coaching. Not always, but often.

Who is your choice for the Bill Arnsparger Award for Coordinator of the Year in 2012? (Last year's winner: Wade Phillips)

23.6% Greg Roman, SF offense
22.1% Kyle Shanahan, WAS offense
18.5% Darrell Bevell, SEA offense
10.4% Ray Horton, ARI defense
7.1% Jack Del Rio, DEN defense
6.7% Josh McDaniels, NE offense
5.8% Mike Zimmer, CIN defense
5.6% Rod Marinelli, CHI defense

This was a tough one, because I try to keep from having two candidates from the same team to prevent vote-splitting, but at the same time there were good reasons to nominate both the offensive and defensive coordinators from Denver, San Francisco, and Seattle. We ended up going with the idea that San Francisco and Seattle's offenses were more creative than their defenses, while Denver's defense was a bigger surprise than the offense because Mike McCoy had Peyton Manning to help him install and direct the offense. Based on the top three finishers in this category, "offensive creativity" was definitely the story of the 2012 season.

By the way, you may laugh at the idea of Rod Marinelli as Coordinator of the Year, but technically the guy was the coordinator of what was by far the best defense in the league this season.

Who is your choice for the Keep Choppin' Wood Award for 2012 (player who most hurt his team, on or off the field)? (Last year's winner: Chris Johnson)

53.7% Mark Sanchez
20.1% Titus Young
7.1% David Akers
5.2% Ryan Lindley
3.7% Mason Crosby
3.1% DeAngelo Hall
2.5% Rolando McClain
2.5% Chilo Rachal
1.0% Kenny Britt
1.0% Corey Webster


Who is your choice for the Keep Choppin' Game Film Award for the worst coach of 2012? (Last year's winner: Juan Castillo)

22.1% Tony Sparano, NYJ offensive coordinator
18.6% Romeo Crennel, KC head coach
15.5% Norv Turner, SD head coach
13.2% Pat Shurmur, CLE head coach
10.3% Ron Rivera, CAR head coach
9.7% Dave Wannstedt, BUF defensive coordinator
7.6% Todd Bowles, PHI defensive coordinator
3.1% Chan Gailey, BUF head coach

What the Jets need is an offensive coordinator who doesn't show up among our nominees for this award. Unlike, say, the last two years. The same goes for the Eagles and defensive coordinators, I suppose.

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

40.6% John Schneider, SEA
23.0% John Elway, DEN
10.4% Trent Baalke, SF
9.9% Ozzie Newsome, BAL
9.1% Ryan Grigson, IND
3.5% Bill Belichick/Nick Cesario, NE
2.7% Bruce Allen, WAS
0.8% Mark Dominik, TB

See what happens when you provide a back-cover blurb for Football Outsiders Almanac? It also helps to find a franchise quarterback in the third round and a starting middle linebacker in the second round. Another good executive move is convincing Peyton Manning to play outdoors in a cold-weather city. Ryan Grigson, who won the official Executive of the Year award, finishes a surprising fifth in our balloting.

Who is your choice for the John Elway Award for disappointing highly-drafted rookie who turns things around with an impressive sophomore season? (Last year's winner: Demaryius Thomas)

45.2% Kyle Rudolph
21.6% Nick Fairley
17.7% Shane Vereen
10.6% Corey Kiuget
4.8% Lance Kendricks

There weren't too many good nominees for this award, but it was nice to see KUBIAK binky Kyle Rudolph fulfill his potential (albeit in inconsistent fashion, since he had more touchdowns but fewer yards than we had projected).

Who is your pick for the Kurt Warner Award, for a low-drafted (or undrafted) backup who finally has a breakout year as a starter? (New category)

29.5% Alex Boone
19.4% Danario Alexander
16.7% Corey Graham
14.1% Dannell Ellerbe
12.1% Wesley Woodyard
8.1% Ryan Wendell

I came up with the idea for this award after doing all those AFC playoff preview articles. I had no idea during the season that Corey Graham was having such a good year as a cornerback after spending his entire career playing almost entirelty on special teams. Of course, when you come up with an award because of a guy, that guy doesn't necessarily win the award. Maybe it's because I broke my "no vote-splitting" rule when I realized that Dannell Ellerbe was also a very strong candidate. 

Who was the least deserving pick for the Pro Bowl? (Last year's winners: Matt Ryan and Brandon Meriweather)

73.0% Jeff Saturday
6.4% LaRon Landry
4.5% Jason Pierre-Paul
3.8% Phil Dawson
2.8% Jamaal Charles
2.8% Robert Mathis
2.6% Logan Mankins
4.4% other nominees

In the past, this was a series of open questions where you could list any name, with separate listings for offense and defense. It started out as "most overrated player" until we decided we wanted some kind of definition for what "overrated player" meant. Then it became "least deserving pick for the Pro Bowl," but we ended up getting a lot a lot of votes for people who were injury or Super Bowl replacements, rather than players who were originally named to the Pro Bowl. So this year, to make my life easier, I combined it all into one category and listed actual nominees. Of course, I had a pretty good idea who was going to win. Next year, it might not be so obvious.

The most deserving offensive player left off the original Pro Bowl roster is: (open question, top 10 listed) (Last year's winner: Matthew Stafford)

15.2% Russell Wilson
12.6% C.J. Spiller
6.6% Dex Bryant
5.6% John Sullivan
5.6% Demaryius Thomas
5.1% Roddy White
4.5% Evan Mathis
4.5% Alfred Morris
4.0% Drew Brees
3.5% Andrew Luck

I suppose the top ten winners in this category could have just all been NFC centers not named Max Unger.

The most deserving defensive player left off the original Pro Bowl roster is: (open question, top 10 listed) (Last year's winner: London Fletcher)

47.4% Richard Sherman
7.2% Eric Weddle
3.8% Jarius Byrd
3.8% London Fletcher
3.3% Daryl Washington
2.4% Lance Briggs
2.4% Luke Kuechly
2.4% Chris Long
1.9% Anthony Spencer
1.9% Lawrence Timmons

I think people feel pretty strongly about this one. Tim Jennings had a pretty good year, but I would have sent Sherman to the Pro Bowl over him. Although I don't know if I would have sent Sherman to the Pro Bowl over Patrick Peterson, who was the reserve cornerback behind Jennings and Charles Tillman.

London Fletcher has finally gone to Hawaii the last couple seasons, as an injury replacement or Super Bowl replacement, but he's still never been on the original Pro Bowl roster and probably never will be. With Ray Lewis retiring, the question has to be asked: how long can this guy go? It's remarkable how long he's played at a high level. Dick Butkus was basically the Sandy Koufax of middle linebackers, and London Fletcher is Warren Spahn.

The most underrated special teams player in the NFL is: (open question, top eight listed) (Last year's winner: Devin Hester)

26.8% Justin Tucker
6.5% Andy Lee
4.3% Josh Cribbs
4.3% Jon Ryan
3.6% Trindon Holliday
3.6% Zoltan Mesko
2.9% Sebastian Janikowski
2.9% (tie) Leodis McKelvin and Greg Zuerlein

For those who missed it, Justin Tucker was the best kicker in the league this year by FO metrics, and it wasn't even close. He was third in value on field goals, and first in value on kickoffs. I think Hester got votes for "underrated" last year because he didn't make the Pro Bowl.

Which is your choice for Game of the Year in 2012? (Last year's choice: San Francisco 36, New Orleans 32 in the Divisional Round)

38.9% Divisional: Baltimore 38 at Devner 35 (2OT)
17.5% Week 15: San Francisco 41 at New England 34
17.0% Divisional: Seattle 28 at Atlanta 30
7.1% Week 3: Green Bay 12 at Seattle 14
6.7% Week 5: Green Bay 34 at Minnesota 37
3.7% Green Bay 27 at Indianapolis 30
2.3% Week 14: Baltimore 28 at Washington 31 (OT)
1.9% Week 3: New England 30 at Baltimore 31
1.7% Week 6: Denver 35 at San Diego 24
1.5% Week 3: Detroit 41 at Tennessee 44 (OT)
1.0% Week 15: Pittsburgh 24 at Dallas 27
0.8% Week 10: Atlanta 27 at New Orleans 31

Player most likely to breakout in 2013 (open question, top 10 listed): (Last year's winner: Matt Flynn)

7.2% LaMichael James
5.7% David Wilson
4.5% Ryan Tannehill
3.4% Trent Richardson
3.0% Bernard Pierce
2.6% Sam Bradford
2.6% Alshon Jeffery
2.6% Andrew Luck
2.3% T.Y. Hilton
2.3% Chandler Jones

It's amazing that the San Francisco 49ers had almost no snaps from their rookies this season. James can definitely play a bigger role next year. Wilson will probably be the Giants' starting running back now that Ahmad Bradshaw has been cut. I'm not quite sure about the Ryan Tannehill breakout. They have to find people for him to throw to.

As for Matt Flynn, whoops.

Player most likely to significantly decline in 2013 (open question, top 10 listed): (Last year's winner: Tim Tebow)

12.5% Robert Griffin
10.7% Peyton Manning
9.3% Tom Brady
8.5% Adrian Peterson
5.3% Colin Kaepernick
4.6% Arian Foster
3.9% Wes Welker
3.9% Russell Wilson
2.5% J.J. Watt
2.1% Marshawn Lynch

The injury sort of makes this one obvious for Robert Griffin, but I'm not sure why Manning and Brady can't keep doing the same thing they've been doing year after year except for the years they were injured (Brady in 2008, Manning in 2011). Maybe some of the votes for Brady and Wes Welker come from the idea that without the two together, one or both of them will see a performance decline.

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

17.7% Carolina
15.8% St. Louis
13.9% Tampa Bay
10.8% Philadephia
8.6% Detroit
7.4% Miami
6.1% San Diego
5.9% Kansas City
5.5% Arizona
4.4% Cleveland
2.1% Buffalo
1.4% other nominees

I suppose that if in 2012 you don't succeed, try, try again.

Which playoff team is most likely to miss the playoffs in 2013? (Last year's choice: Denver)

35.7% Minnesota
26.1% Indianapolis
15.1% Washington
11.4% Cincinnati
5.6% Baltimore
2.1% Houston
1.2% Atlanta
0.8% Seattle
0.6% Denver
0.6% Green Bay
0.6% New England
0.0% San Francisco

That's right, zero votes for San Francisco, even though the NFC West now looks like a tough division with the 49ers competing with Seattle and an up-and-coming St. Louis Rams team.

The "Get Your Story Straight" Award for best commercial during NFL games this year goes to:
(Last year's choice: Google with the Muppets "Under Pressure")

35.2% NFL Play 60 Cam Newton
17.9% AT&T "Tape a Cheetah to Grandma's Back"
17.0% Volkswagen father and son playing catch
15.2% State Farm Discount Double Check (Aaron Rodgers career day)
13.0% Old Spice Greg Jennings campaign
1.6% Verizon NFL Mobile Packers Fan

The "John Mellencamp Must Die" Award for most annoying commercial during NFL games this year goes to:
(Last year's choice: Miller Lite "Second most unmanly thing you did today")

34.7% Pepsi Drew Brees/One Direction
16.7% Bud Light Superstitious Niners Fan
16.7% KFC Gameday Bucket
12.5% NFL Network Blue Suit Guy campaign
11.9% State Farm Discount Double Check (Aaron Rodgers career day)
7.5% Volkswagen father and son playing catch

The funniest moment of the NFL season was:

∞ "Buttfumble"

I forgot to include this category in this season's awards, but it would have had only one nominated event, right?

That does it for the 2012 Football Outsiders Awards. Once again, thanks to all the readers for voting. Next stop: The offseason!


86 comments, Last at 18 Feb 2013, 3:42pm

2 Re: 2012 Football Outsiders Awards

While the butt fumble would be the odds-on favorite, upsets have happened in the past. I'm still not over "Goddammit Donald!" losing to "Al Davis drafting Darius Heyward-Bey" in 2009.

It's too bad the awards were before the Super Bowl - otherwise, the power outage would have been an easy nominee. Other nominees for 2013 could have been Roger Goodell's changing story on the suspensions, and various replacement ref blunders. Rahim More's "defense" in the divisional round is another one outside the eligible period.

3 Re: 2012 Football Outsiders Awards

"For those wondering, I left Albert Morris off the ballot to prevent any vote-splitting from Redskins fans."

You also left Alfred Morris off the ballot. Which is a little more relevant.


4 Re: 2012 Football Outsiders Awards

I'd like to see an open most overrated category in addition to the undeserving Pro Bowl player. The 2012 season demonstrates that the most undeserving Pro Bowl player might not be a player that analysts, columnists, and talking heads are always mindlessly and unjustly praising — which is how I'd go about determining who is most overrated.

As a Redskins fan, I was interested to see Laron Landry do so "well" in the overrated category. Letting him go was a (calculated, necessary) risk on the part of the 'Skins. Over the course of the season I had heard here and there that he was playing well but didn't know if that was media hype or what. Now it looks like if Saturday hadn't been selected, Landry might have made a run at most overrated, which provides a perverse degree of comfort to me.

Also, I get that Phil Dawson's inclusion in the Pro Bowl over Justin Tucker ruffled Aaron Schatz's feathers, but does that really make him a serious candidate for the, simply put, least deserving player in the Pro Bowl? Isn't that what the underrated list was for? Seems like an overreaction on FO's part.

50 Re: 2012 Football Outsiders Awards

Meh. Maybe if we were voting in 2009. Thankfully the mainstream has by and large moved on from Hall at this point to the next hyped thing. He still gets a game or two of attention, which is annoying, but the decline should continue going into this year (and here's hoping he's not a Redskin at that point).

5 Re: 2012 Football Outsiders Awards

"35.2% NFL Play 60 Cam Newton
17.9% AT&T "Tape a Cheetah to Grandma's Back""

In a fuller answer, the AT&T is better than the shorter version of the Play60 ad, but not as funny as the complete version.

6 Re: 2012 Football Outsiders Awards

"Dick Butkus was basically the Sandy Koufax of middle linebackers, and London Fletcher is Warren Spahn."

Good observation. Does that mean Ray Lewis is Steve Carlton?

19 Re: 2012 Football Outsiders Awards

I must admit I thought I had a good knowledge of baseball history, but Pete Alexander left me at a lost. Then I looked up his stats and realized, "Oh, Grover Cleveland Alexander!" Never heard of Pete before.

Looking at his stats, he might be apt. Dominated the competition in an era when pitching was at a premium (the teens), then aged gracefully and was still a very good pitcher in an era when offenses exploded (the twenties). Lewis had his peak from 1999-2003, then after the rules change continued to be a very good player in a pass-happy era when offenses became prolific.

To continue with RBs, I would say Terrell Davis compares favorably to Old Hoss Radbourn.

53 Re: 2012 Football Outsiders Awards

Sure, there's a bump there. But realize that Clinton Portis was a really good RB (probably in the Hall of Very Good), and that healthy TD put up numbers about 33% better than healthy Clinton Portis. He was a 1900 yard back in an offense where Portis was a 1400 yard back and the pu-pu platter were 1000 yard backs.

Even with the bump, TD was pretty good.

8 Re: 2012 Football Outsiders Awards

I just want to say, for the record, that "discount double check" is the most annoying ad campaign I think I've ever seen. Way worse than "this is our country" ever was.

10 Re: 2012 Football Outsiders Awards

Not Jimmy Johnson's ever so creepy extenze ads? Even his *name* is creepy, given the context. (Do you think he lacquers *all* of his hair?)

Discount double check doesn't make me physically uncomfortable.

\Turns out Dick Trickle and Randy Johnson have pride.

18 Re: 2012 Football Outsiders Awards

I thought career day was funny *runs for cover*

I will say that I've only watched it twice. Maybe it's the endless repetitions that are annoying?

FO posters are a peacock. You got to let us fly!

21 Re: 2012 Football Outsiders Awards

Sorry, Deon Sanders selling pizza. Only in the past one or two years has my intense personal loathing of him started to subside; a hatered based entirely on those commercials. In a way, my seething visceral hatered of everyone and everything involved made all the grating commercials that came after it more bearable. Sorry for bringing those commercials back up for anyone not over it yet.

16 Re: 2012 Football Outsiders Awards

and from another angle

and just for the fun of it, don't miss out on this beauty:

13 Re: 2012 Football Outsiders Awards

I don't really understand why Kaepernick wasn't on the ballot for the Elway award, I also don't get how Sherman runs away with the underrated slot. He got off his PED suspension on a technicality, I cannot fathom how that gets ignored.

I get that RGIII might regress because of his injury but why are so many people convinced that a second year as starters will hurt Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick? I would have expected some improvement with experience.

20 Re: 2012 Football Outsiders Awards

Somewhat. You tend to see that in the second half of the season as well. In Wilson's case, he actually improved significantly from the first half to the second half. In Kaepernick's he didn't really have two halves. Furthermore, Wilson didn't get first team reps until the last week of preseason; I'd expect that he won't regress much at all. Kaep is a more likely candidate.

There will be some regression as teams decide on the least dangerous way to deal with the running QB angle, but at least in Wilson's case that was not a huge part of his game.

58 Re: 2012 Football Outsiders Awards

I think an overlooked aspect of young players slumping as they get more exposed in te league is that if a coordinator comes up with a way to shut a player down it is then a lot easier for others to copy. The quality of coaches you play against is probably a major determining factor in young player regression. Anyone can copy the answers but not everyone can come up with them on their own.

22 Re: 2012 Football Outsiders Awards

Not to beat a dead horse, but failing to follow “chain of custody” in the presence of another positive sample (especially when the failed chain of custody involves an opened - i.e. used- container) does not constitute a “technicality.”

31 Re: 2012 Football Outsiders Awards

To you and Mr Danger: I just don't buy how a leaky cup results in a failed PED test. If leaving urine in a leaky cup made steroids then someone would have found out about that way of making people bigger and faster a long time ago, like the ancient Greece olymipcs long ago. At least that is my belief, you are perfectly within your rights to believe he never took a thing. By the way, I've got some dragon repelling bottle caps that I'm selling for only a thousand dollars each if you guys are interested.

In other words I just don't buy Sherman's innocence in a league that I think is inundated with PEDs.

51 Re: 2012 Football Outsiders Awards

Ryan Braun also "got off" on a technicality.

It may seem like a "technicality" when a poorly administered test is dismissed by a court. But the test is only considered valid if it's conducted properly. If you ignore the controls required, the result just isn't as meaningful.

54 Re: 2012 Football Outsiders Awards

I have no idea who Ryan Braun is, so can't comment on that. I wasn't saying that the NFL had the right to suspend Sherman after they screwed up their own procedure but that I find it odd that so many FO readers haven't docked their perception of his performance when it seems rather likely he was using some sort of banned product.

34 Re: 2012 Football Outsiders Awards

"[Sherman] got off his PED suspension on a technicality, I cannot fathom how that gets ignored"

I realise that this is hyperbole, but it gets ignored, because fans are emotionally invested in their beliefs around a clean sport, and clean players. Sherman takes PEDs, in common with most of the other players mentioned in the NFL. Fans don't want to know this, because it has nothing to do with their day-to-day enjoyment of the sport.

To be fair, it may be ignored by some hyper-rationalists on the grounds that, well, everyone else is doing it - or at least a significant percentage is.

35 Re: 2012 Football Outsiders Awards

Let me preface with

a) Everyone (especially after those Super Bowl Audibles!) knows I'm a 49ers fan.
b) The fact that I don't follow baseball anymore (after being super-nerd, APBA player as a kid and poring over box scores every day in the paper) can be directly attributed to the PED issue.

With that said, my view is that all these Adderall suspensions are a joke, and Sherman (among others) shouldn't have been suspended in the first place. I won't get into details, but the idea that NFL players aren't taking stimulants of some kind to "warm up" before pregame warm-ups is pretty laughable. Yeah, there's a big legal difference between ingesting a massive dose of coffee/Red Bull/5-Hour Energy before a game and finding some doctor to fudge a low-dose Adderall prescription, but it's not like we're talking about using anabolic steroids to make you hit 70 homers in a 50-is-legendary league or using HGH to make your 40-year old body impervious to the age-injury effect.

To me, there's an ocean between taking something to help you hyped/focused for 20-or-so games of violence per year and taking something to give you superhuman athletic abilities for 162 games. Sherman getting away with a positive Adderall test because of a procedural technicality has far less of an effect on my faith in professional athletes than the analogous case of Ryan Braun having a procedural technicality erase his positive testosterone test.

38 Re: 2012 Football Outsiders Awards

That's a HOF rationalization. So using Adderall as a performance enhancer in football is okay because the season is only 20 games? And because having a doctor illegally prescribe amphetamines is fine because players drink coffee and Red Bulls? Wow.

FWIW, I'd bet that about half of NFL players use HGH in some way or another, for the reason that it helps prevent injury effects and helps give them "superhuman athletic abilities" to survive and thrive in an incredibly violent line of work.

61 Re: 2012 Football Outsiders Awards

Obviously, if he took HGH, all bets are off.

Also, I'm allowed to rationalize. McGwire, Sosa, and all those guys distorting baseball history ruined my favorite sport as a kid. If Sherman destroys a 60-year old record by intercepting 20 passes next year, then I'll be less forgiving.

78 Re: 2012 Football Outsiders Awards

1) HGH has never been demonstrated to have performance-enhancing effects -- study after study shows no increase in athletic performance -- so the idea that you see its use as a more grave offense than the use of stimulants demonstrates just how absurd your thinking on the subject is.

2) The juicing of the ball -- and that's what it was, unless all of Major League Baseball got hip to steroids between 1992 and 1993 -- didn't distort or ruin anything that hadn't already been distorted or ruined dozens of times, if one remains consistent in the laughable position that changing offensive context ruins a sport.

You at least get points for being honest that your position is entirely about the breaking of records you had an attachment to as a child, as dopey a justification as that is.

39 Re: 2012 Football Outsiders Awards

Adderall is also a mild masking agent. The fact that it's allowed with a scrip also means it is a stupidity test. Finally the NFL doesn't release what the player actually tested positive for, only that they tested positive. The players and agents are the ones that say Adderall because it doesn't get the same public backlash.

40 Re: 2012 Football Outsiders Awards

You believe Sherman tested positive merely for Adderall because he said it was merely Adderall. The NFL is prohibited from identifying the PED for which a player tests positive or from making any comment beyond noting the suspension. The player can say whatever he wants about the suspension without fear of contradiction. Given that your position is not uncommon among fans, is it any surprise that many/most of the players suspended in 2012 claimed they were suspended for "Adderall"? I'm skeptical.

79 Re: 2012 Football Outsiders Awards

For what it's worth, the transcript from his appeals hearing was released to the public and stated that he tested positive for Adderall. I assumed that he was just saying Adderall because it sounds better than HGH but it appears like he was telling the truth.

49 Re: 2012 Football Outsiders Awards

As others have said, we have no way to be sure that it was Adderal and not another PED with the NFL not releasing the specific illegal substance. When every failed test results in then player claiming it was adderal they are either likely to be lying or the NFL has lost the ability to catch steroid abusers at all. I'm also not sure that abusing a substance like adderal should be condoned either.

However, what really bugs me is that when the NFL's lax regime actually catches someone they only give them a FOUR GAME suspension. That is a joke. They know the guy has cheated and they can be back for the playoffs, it's a signal that the NFL doesn't really care about it.

86 Re: 2012 Football Outsiders Awards

Sherman - the Pro Bowl snub/All Pro...Apparently being acknowledged as the top player in your position is not compensation for being "snubbed" out of a game that is popularly regarded as a joke anyways. His phenomenal season has since been recognized. As for PEDs, whether he's guilty or not, they are hardly relevant to how "underrated" he is

14 Re: 2012 Football Outsiders Awards

The answer to both best and worst commercial is "but football is broadcast commercial free..."

23 Re: 2012 Football Outsiders Awards

Not Jimmy Johnson's ever so creepy extenze ads? Even his *name* is creepy, given the context. (Do you think he lacquers *all* of his hair?)

Discount double check doesn't make me physically uncomfortable.

You make a strong case, but it's "most annoying commercial," not "commercial that makes my skin crawl." There's nothing inherently offensive about discount double check. It's just grating.

I really like the double check ads in the classroom, the kids are fantastically expressive and I like the idea of puncturing the inflated regard we have for professional athletes.

Really, the only problem I have with them is the phrase "discount double check" repeated ad nauseam, supposedly in everyday conversation.

43 Re: 2012 Football Outsiders Awards

The best bit about NFL Gamepass is I understand this category, which I wouldn't if I was watching the Sky Sports broadcast game, here in the UK.

The worst bit is that I now see every play of the Oakland season, instead of some excellent NFL matchups exclusive to Sky... But then sport is supposed to make you feel miserable isn't it?

32 Re: 2012 Football Outsiders Awards

The Peterson vote was as much a "Christian Ponder is terrible" vote as anything. Until the crazy last game, Peterson was averaging more yards per attempt than Ponder. That just can't happen in such a pass-friendly league. It was an amazing season, but it felt all the more amazinger because their passing game was such a complete joke.

And I think many of us wanted him to win, because he isn't a QB. Let's face it, if Peterson couldn't win MVP having that season, while playing with such a handicap, when his team made the playoffs, we might as well just officially change the award to "Best QB" and be done with it. I voted non-QB in part because I don't know if I'll ever be able to justify voting that way again.

52 Re: 2012 Football Outsiders Awards

There certainly is something to be said for this. I didn't think that Peyton Manning was notably better than the other QB candidates. The difference between Manning and Rodgers or Brady was small.
I think it's clear that the difference between Peterson and any other RB was fairly large. And he managed to have his monster season with Christian Ponder as his QB!

66 Re: 2012 Football Outsiders Awards

Everything I said was true. Manning is even farther ahead of the third best QB than Brady is ahead of him. It's pretty clear what the objective QB ranking should be. There are no small gaps involved.

FWIW, Peterson is even more games ahead of his nearest DYAR competition. If that's the criterion, he's a good pick for MVP.

It's at times like this that I miss the old DPAR, which at least attempted to measure RBs and QBs on the same value scale. DYAR, with it's Yards Of Unusual Size, is close to useless for comparing different positions.

70 Re: 2012 Football Outsiders Awards

Sorry misinterpreted what you meant, was remembering Brady v. Manning MVP discussion from a while back.

Would be nice if there were a QB-RB-WR DYAR correlation table/formula -- how does 50 for an RB game compare to a QB's 200, etc.

75 Re: 2012 Football Outsiders Awards

JJ Watt was much farther ahead of his peers than anyone else. He should be MVP (if we're going by rules that allow a non-QB to win).

(Obviously this is for the NFL MVP which can go to a defender but seemingly never does, not the FO "Offensive MVP".)

41 Re: 2012 Football Outsiders Awards

I can't believe Victor Cruz wasn't on the ballot for least deserving to make the Pro Bowl. I can think of at least 3 guys (Dez Bryant, Randall Cobb, and Roddy White) that were far more deserving than Cruz, and I could probably make a case for a couple of other guys, too.

Having said that, even if Cruz had been on the ballot, I still would have voted for Jeff Saturday.

46 Re: 2012 Football Outsiders Awards

I don't think he deserved coordinator of the year, but I also don't think it's absurd for Marinelli to be in the conversation. What he did with the Bears' defense was truly impressive (over the course of his tenure, not specifically this year) and they were a historically great defense this year. This fan would have liked to see him stay even with the head coaching change.

I forgot that Hester was voted most underrated special teams player last This year, I'd have called him the most *overrated* special teams player. I remember the Carolina game this season when they wouldn't kick to him and the Bears kept getting the ball in great field position, and I was honestly confused. I know no coach wants to be the guy who kicks to Hester and gives him his first return TD in a long time, but come on...this year he was more likely to run around for a while and lose 5 yards than he was to break one for a touchdown or a huge gain.

As for the commercials, gotta agree with the Cam Newton Play 60 commercial as the best, but I guess my tastes are different from a lot of other people. I thought the "tape a cheetah to grandma's back" commercial was silly and annoying (actually, all of the AT&T commercials where the guys is talking to the kids are silly and annoying to me), and while the Drew Brees/One Direction commercial isn't my favorite I don't find it particularly annoying.

73 Re: 2012 Football Outsiders Awards

A legitimate contender for funniest moment was when NBC played an Obama speech over a MNF game and people in all seriousness complained "why is there a black person on TV when I'm trying to watch an NFL game?"

80 Re: 2012 Football Outsiders Awards

I don't understand how Logan Mankins can be listed as the best LG in the AFC (2nd best guard in the AFC behind Yanda) and also be on the board for "least deserving pick of the Pro bowl."