We talked some about the Poor Sportsman of the Year on Tuesday, and dang if sportsfan didn't go ahead and play the Rook on the first hand with Jerry Sandusky. OK, game's over, Werner dropped the big one.
What? Did you say over? Nothing is over until we decide it is. Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Heck no. And it ain't over now.
From the "Talks too much" studios, let's try to avoid going to the mental award.
This will be a supremely interesting NFL award season.
Think about this: Even the most ho-hum of NFL awards like NFL executive of the year will be hotly contested.
With two weeks left in the regular season, let's look at the candidates:
MVP: There are strong candidates abound, but there are two that stand out the most. Adrian Peterson is on the cusp of setting the all-time rushing record. He needs a few feet short of 300 yards in his last two games to pass Eric Dickerson's NFL record of 2,105. Peyton Manning has returned and looks as good as ever. His excellent play has turned the Broncos into a Super Bowl favorite. We believe this is Manning's to lose since the word "valuable" is the cornerstone of this award.
Offensive player of the year: We think Peterson wins this one. Did you know that since Week 6 of the season, Peterson has rushed for 1,313 yards, a total that would lead the NFL right now? That's amazing.
Defensive player of the year: J.J. Watt. The Texans defensive lineman is a monster. That is all.
Comeback player of the year: We thought this was Manning's for sure in September. Then Peterson goes crazy and is approaching one of the great seasons in NFL history, and he's doing it less than a year removed from shredding his knee. We normally loathe splitting awards, but this one seems right to have Co-Comeback Players of the Year.
Executive of the Year: This one also is going to be tight. And we're sure no one in the New York Jets front office will be considered. Look at the smart moves that were pulled off this year just involving the Manning decision:
• Denver's John Elway landed the only player (Manning) out there that allowed his team to get out from the dead-end street that was the Tim Tebow era without any backlash.
• Indy owner Jim Irsay allowed Manning to walk, and letting your best player and the franchise's face leave as a free agent is always dicey. Sure, Andrew Luck's potential and presence at the top of the draft made that decision somewhat easier, but cutting a first-ballot Hall of Famer is never easy. By doing it, Irsay's club will likely have excellence at quarterback for three consecutive decades.
Basically, this was the year of Manning. And somehow, after the preseason build-up and offseason spin cycles that titled toward over-the-top, Manning's season and success (dude is completing 68 percent of his throws, has topped 4,000 yards and is in the top five in QB rating) have been somewhat overlooked.
In this Sunday's paper, the TFP will have a really cool Year in Review that is 32, full-color pages and is pretty outstanding.
Let's open the nominations for local sports awards to the group. And by local we mean stuff in the 150-mile radius from the heart of the 423 - Nashville, Atlanta, Knoxville, most of the SEC, etc.
The overall story of the year -
The high school sports story of the year -
What storyline surprised you the most -
What storyline did you nail -
Local sportsman of the year -
Local high school sportsman of the year -
The section is already printed, but the 5-at-10 year-ender, sports bender is still on the horizon. Stay thirsty.
Looking at the award winners from all the major sports, let's take a look at the award craziness/ground work for excellence that was 2012.
In baseball, we had a triple-crown winner, and unless injury or some unforeseen setback is in front of them, we had the future of the game emerge with Rookies of the Year Mike Trout and Bryce Harper. The NL Cy Young winner was traded. The Chipper Jones era ended and the L.A. Dodgers now have 10 players on their roster that make $11 million a year or more.
In hoops, LeBron was SI's Sportsman of the Year, the MVP, the MVP of the NBA Finals, a gold-medal winner and all-around good dude. In addition to ditching the "will-he-ever-win-a-title" anchor, it seems the backlash form The Decision has started to fade, too.
In college football, we had the first freshman Heisman winner and arguably the best player in college football was sophomore defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.
In college hoops, a great season was rewarded with an even better tournament. And the Uniblocker - Anthony Davis - was named player of the year, defensive player of the year and freshman of the year. He also was named best single eye brow in the history of sports.
We talked about the amazing year in the NFL, but here's how over-the-top it's been: Of all the awards we listed, we never mentioned Calvin Johnson, who is on pace to set the single-season receiving record.
(Side note: Johnson and Peterson were each part of the 2007 NFL draft that will forever be remember as the year Jamarcus Russell wrecked the Oakland Raiders. In fact, here's the top 10 of the 2007 NFL draft and the pick each would have made if this draft happened today:
Raiders - Russell (Peterson)
Lions - Johnson (Johnson)
Browns - Joe Thomas (Thomas)
Buccaneers - Gaines Adams (Darrelle Revis)
Cardinals - Levi Brown (Patrick Willis)
Redskins - LaRon Landry (Michael Griffin)
Vikings - Peterson (Marshawn Lynch)
Falcons - Jamaal Anderson (LaMarr Woodley)
Dolphins - Ted Ginn Jr. (Dwayne Bowe)
Texans - Amobi Okoye (Joe Staley)
- Wisconsin reportedly has decided on Gary Andersen, formerly of Utah State, as the Badgers next coach. Mr. Andersen did work with the Aggies, who finished 11-2 this year with one-score losses to BYU and Wisconsin. Almost as importantly, Andersen and the Aggies were 12-1 against the spread this year, and the Fab 4 picks were on board from the start. Thanks for sharing the entertainment Mr. Andersen.
- The work in progress that is the Tennessee Vols basketball team took another positive step by dismantling an overmatched Presbyterian team Tuesday. Tennessee built a 30-plus-point lead before pulling the plug in a 78-62 win. The rest of nonconference schedule will be interesting for Cuonzo "The Conz" Martin's club. Home games against Western Carolina, Xavier and Memphis before Ole Miss comes to Knoxville on Jan. 4.
- What's next for the Tim Tebow era and Tebowmania? Wow, how did it get to this? We went from debating whether he could play - remember he has an NFL playoff win under his belt, to wondering if he could help the Jets in a variety of ways to now watching as Greg McElroy passed him on the depth chart.
We're flush with questions today, but since we're full-blown in award mode, what's your Rushmore of awards/trophies.
We'll go Green Jacket, Heisman, Olympic gold medal and Stanley Cup.
And one of the really cool things about the first two on our list is that once you've won it, you're forever in the club. Notice at the Heisman ceremony, there's always some of the guys that don't recognize before saying, "Is that Jason White? Did he really win a Heisman? Hey, that's Gino Torretta."