The 2012 BUCPOWER.COM awards
Time to roll out the red and pewter carpet, brush off the tuxedo and prepare those embarrassing acceptance speeches. It is time for the 25th annual awards.
No chance of getting Ricky Gervais to host or even 1980s cornerback Ricky Easmon. I tried for Russell Brand but would have even settled for JR Russell. And even Vito McKeever was busy once more.
So with an imaginary fanfare and supposed photographers' flashbulbs, here are the nine award winners for the 2012 season.
Offensive Player of the Year - Doug Martin
To think that in the past the likes of Reggie Cobb and Craig Erickson won this award simply for being the least worst and Davin Joseph somehow took it last year. Vincent Jackson's stellar receiving year would have won probably most other seasons but up against the massive numbers that Doug "Can't Catch 22" Martin posted, it was time for the rookie to shine.
Defensive Player of the Year - Gerald McCoy
Not a stellar year overall of course for the Buccaner defense as the No.1 rush rating was totally over-shadowed by the No.33 ranked pass defense (even the Frankfurt Galaxy beat them in the end). But the full season of mayhem and disruption caused by Gerald McCoy justly saw him selected to his first Pro Bowl and his first award from this humble editor.
Special Teams Player of the Year - Connor Barth
Did anyone return a kick or a punt for a touchdown this season? No, OK give it to Connor Barth then. This guy does not miss chip shots, hits more balls down the middle than me with my 3-wood, and is now the most accurate kicker in franchise history.
Rookie of the Year - Lavonte David
Following in the footsteps of Ryan Nece and Dewayne White in this category (I know, those were not vintage years), we have three outstanding candidates in 2012. All were named to the All-Rookie team and whilst Mark Barron showed a lot of potential, Lavonte David and Doug Martin were there every game. And seeing how Martin has already gotten one award and Lavonte was simply spectacular in calling the defensive signals and wrapping up ball carriers all season, he gets the nod in an act of decency over Doug.
Buccaneer of the Year - Ronde Barber
Four defensive awards, two favourite player awards and one shot on the back nine later this year at St.Andrews. Ronde Barber may well be heading off into the sunset but he cannot go without one final award in the category for the person who has done the most to sum up the spirit of the Buccaneers in the past year.
Writer of the Year - Bill Simmons
Martin Fennelly was good, Gary Shelton was improved and Roy Cummings was simply as accurate and informative as ever. But for truly spectacular work on the Grantland Network and for his ESPN Podcasts, time to recognise the Sports Guy, Bill Simmons. And the man who may well have influenced the way I end every column with something he started almost a decade ago.
Favourite Buccaneer - Donald Penn
And the final award is a popularist choice and one that goes to simply the funniest man I have ever met from years involved in the NFL. Josh Freeman is close to Trent Dilfer in terms of decency on and off the field, but Donald Penn is simply a legend. Some of the stories I heard from him and about him at the Pennyhill Park training camp in 2011 simply cannot be repeated but take it from me, he is exactly who you want looking out for your blind side.
NFL Player of the Year - Adrian Peterson
So many deserving candidates from Peyton Manning to RGIII, the Saints' defense lawyers to Bill Belichick's hoodie designer. But for rushing for over 2,000 yards on surgically-repaired knees that many people thought would be the end of his career, Adrian Peterson, take a bow.
Dickhead of the Year - Aqib Talib
Once again so many deserving candidates but seeing as he has now left the Bucs, a second straight award for Aqib Talib. I still have February 13th in the over/under for when he gets arrested in New England.
You've been great, enjoy the Utah Saints.