I remember being younger and my family would take trips to the amusement park. It felt like it took an eternity to get there and with all the anticipation building up, it only made it seem longer. We would pull in the parking lot and my eyes would get big seeing all of the rides, cotton candy and games. Next thing I knew, it was time to leave the park. The day went by in the blink of an eye and before you knew it, it was over. That’s how it feels with the NFL. We go through the free agency period, the combine and the NFL draft just eagerly waiting for the kickoff weekend. The Saints take on the Vikings in what was a surprisingly defensive game. Next thing we know, we are entering Week 8 of the NFL season. With the half way point on the horizon, I thought it would be a good time to give out my mid-season awards.
Peyton Manning, QB Colts: Perhaps no player in the league is more important to his team than Manning. With an injury plagued season with Dallas Clark, Pierre Garcon, Austin Collie and Joseph Addai all being injured, Manning has still managed 1,916 passing yards with 13 touchdowns and only 2 picks, holding a league high QB rating of 103.4. Manning has carried the Colts to a 4-2 record despite a horrid defense and could be on his way to breaking his own record and winning his 5th MVP Trophy.
NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year:
Sam Bradford, QB Rams: Going into the season, all of the rookie hype surrounded Running Backs Ryan Matthews, C.J. Spiller and Wide Receiver Dez Bryant. Out of those three, only Bryant has put together decent, yet inconsistent numbers. Jahvid Best looked like the front runner in the first couple of weeks until he ran into a turf-toe injury. Steelers Rookie Center Maurkice Pouncey would have my vote, but being that a lineman stands no shot, enter Bradford, the Number One pick of this past years draft. Bradford has already matched the Rams win total from the past 2 years with 3. Bradford has put up ok numbers with 1,483 yards passing and 9 touchdowns with 8 picks. For a Rookie Quarterback at the helm, not to bad of a start in what looks like a promising career.
NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year:
Nate Allen, FS Eagles: In what was the Donovan McNabb pick, Allen has looked like the successor in the secondary that the Eagles have looked for since losing Brian Dawkins. Though on draft day, I questioned the Eagles brass for passing up Earl Thomas, but it seems they know what they were doing. The South Florida product has 3 interceptions, 1 sack and 31 tackles thus far on the season.
NFL Coach of the Year:
Mike Tomlin Steelers / Todd Haley Chiefs: I don’t see how you can go wrong with either of these guys. Tomlin led the Roethlisbergerless Steelers to a 3-1 record which seemed impossible to many people and have them atop the AFC North at 5-1. Barring another second half collapse like last season, Tomlin could have this in the bag. As far as Haley goes, many people though that the Chiefs would be vastly improved, but I don’t think many people predicted them to be 5-2. With the development of Matt Cassel and return of Dwayne Bowe to form, along with the much improved defense, Haley deserves to be in contention for the award.
NFL Comeback Player:
Darren McFadden RB Raiders: If Michael Vick was able to stay healthy, he would be the winner here, but instead, the former Razorback McFadden gets the nod. Even though he has dealt with injuries, he still ranks eighth in the league with 557 yards rushing, which breaks down to 5.5 per carry. It goes to show that unpredictable Al Davis may have gotten a draft pick right and is showing the potential that he had coming out of Arkansas. If he can stay healthy, watch out.
Most Surprising Team:
Kansas City Chiefs: (see Todd Haley)
Most Disappointing Team:
Dallas Cowboys: 1-5 for “America’s Team”. This was supposed to be the year for the Cowboys. The Super Bowl being held in Jerry Jones new playhouse. A franchise Quarterback with ample amount of weapons. Things couldn’t look brighter for the Cowboys. They have looked over matched on defense and the injury to Tony Romo only adds insult to injury. If Wade Phillips keeps his job, it’ll be a miracle. Insert Jon Gruden.
Brett Favre QB Vikings: Text messages, voicemails, retiring, unretiring, broken ankle, consecutive streak, this has been quite the season for the Vikings signal caller. After his best statistical season of his career last year, the legend thought he could dust off the cleats and create magic once again. At this point, Favre needs to just hang it up and take whatever respect that the fans and players have left for him and head back to Mississippi.
Super Bowl Prediction:
Ravens 31 – Falcons 28: In a battle of the third year signal callers, Flacco gets the better of Ryan in this one.
About the Author
Written by Michael Waterloo
I'm currently pursuing my Master's degree in Communication and Journalism from Clarion University. I currently work for Ohio Valley Athletics where I serve as the West Virginia Football Beat Writer and cover West Virginia Men's Basketball as well. I'm a big Pittsburgh Pirates, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Penguins, Pitt Panthers and Oregon Ducks fan. Follow me on Twitter at @MichaelWaterloo or visit www.ovathletics.com