Much is made every year of the NFL awards that will soon be forthcoming. Will the MVP be Peyton Manning, or Adrian Peterson? Will the ComeBack player of the year be Peyton Manning or Adrian Peterson? Rookie of the year, RGIII, Andrew Luck, Russell Wilson or Alfred Morris? Defensive player of the year, J.J. Watt, Justin Smith or maybe Von Miller? Last year's winners were pretty easy to pick; this year, not so very much. So, I'm not even going to try. (Save for MVP. That one belongs to Peyton Fucking Manning!)
No, what's more fun at this stage in the game is to pick some of the failures worthy of the spotlight in the 2012 season of professional football, and its resulting post-season. If'n you don't mind, I will pick the categories and winners, though you are encouraged to provide alternates in the comments. So let's begin.
Braggadocio Fail of the Year: Several worthy candidates. Any number of pundits who picked Green Bay to go undefeated through the season, or picked San Diego to win the AFC West. Terrell Owens who fired agent Drew Rosenhaus and hired Jordan Woy, hoping against hope for the chance to poison another NFL football team. Joe Flacco petulantly claiming (again) that he could be as good as any quarterback in the AFC. Twitterer @TebowsourQB who incessantly harangues Shannon Sharpe about how Tebow would be the second coming of football Jeebus if only he were given the chance. Roger Goodell demanding a harsh sentence against the New Orleans Saints, and seemingly unable to get any court or even Paul Tagliabue to support him in his mandate. But, no. The winner of Braggart of the year must once again go to Rex Ryan, for again predicting the Jets would make the Super Bowl. Give it up, Rex. Nobody's buying it any more.
Creepy Dude of the Year: Seriously, this one is easy, and it is again a winner for Rex Ryan. After the Jets lost their last game of the season, Rex skipped the post game press conference to fly off to the Bahamas with his beloved spouse. While basking in the sun, Ryan exposed his arm tattoo, a tattoo of his pantless wife sporting a Mark Sanchez jersey. Ewwww.
Defensive Fail of the Year: 4th and 29. In week 6, the San Diego Chargers hosted the Denver Broncos on Monday Night Football. The Chargers' record was 3-2, the Broncos was 2-3. At halftime, the Chargers led 24-0. The Broncos then scored 35 unanswered points. The Chargers never really recovered. They lost to Cleveland, 7-6 and to the Broncos again a couple of weeks later. Entering the game against the Baltimore Ravens, expectations were very high. The Chargers defense was stellar through most of the game, and San Diego had the wrap. They buried the Ravens into a 4th and 29. All the Chargers had to do was stop the Ravens and run out the clock. Easy-peasy, right. Flacco hit Ray Rice on a screen dump, essentially a running play. Through a beautiful melange of confusion, missed tackles and generally poor play, San Diego allowed Rice to run for the first down. The Ravens won. That play, more than any other, sealed Norv Turner's fate. Turner has been fired, and many lament his loss as a head coach in San Diego ... many of us in Denver, that is.
Offensive Fail of the Year: two words, Butt Fumble. This level of awesome fail has got to be seen to be believed.
Just watch it. I can add nothing.
Disappointment Fail of the Year: Absolutely everything from the Detroit Lions. Don't get me wrong, some individual players had great years. Megatron broke the single season receiving record set by the great Jerry Rice. But almost never has a team set the standard for inverse proportion of talent to failure quite so high.
Humble Pie Fail of the Year: This isn't so much a fail as a sad reminder of what could have been if not for so much fail before. Speaking of Jerry Rice, he was angry when Randy Moss was unceremoniously booted out of the league. Not because Moss deserved better, he didn't. Rice was angry because Moss had more talent than Rice did, but wouldn't work to achieve greatness, an ethic that Rice exemplified beyond nearly all others. Rice stated that Moss could have been the very best. But Moss was lazy, and got his due reward for it. San Fransisco saw fit to give Randy another chance, as a third string wide-out. Moss has performed for the most part. And more to the point, he's kept his mouth shut and worked for his team. If anything, this is a lesson in overcoming fail, because Moss could easily be in the same position as Terrell Owens.
Executive Fail of The Year: Jim Irsay. I've read a whole lot of anger about this article. Frankly, I find it spot on. I agree with every word of it, and have since late last summer. I've wanted to write the same myself. Irsay screwed up. Imagine how awesome Andrew Luck could be moving into the future with the tutelage of Peyton F. Manning. But no. Irsay wanted to save a buck, and threw Manning under a bus to do it. Stupid. Seriously, seriously stupid. If Irsay really wanted to forge a new future for the Colts, then Robert Griffin the Third would have been the far better choice for the first round draft pick. But no. Irsay thought that a young Manning clone would get the job done, with little consideration for what truly drives NFL success. Luck is good, exceptional even. But he can't abide on expectation alone, and the receivers which make the Colt's gel will not be there forever. Speaking of RGIII ...
Coaching Fail of the Year: This one still has me pissed off. One does not sacrifice gladiators to win a game. But that asshole Shanahan did just that. A coach does not, should not, let a 22 year old player prove his prowess and threaten the hope of the entire franchise by doing so. RGIII is the future of the Redskins, or at least he was. Who knows now that he has elevated an injury for a cause that needn't have been immediate. Dammit, Shanahan, you are the coach, not some rookie.
As I suggested, feel free to add your complaints, laughter and observations in the comments. please.