The 2013 BUCPOWER.COM awards
There are two traditional articles that need to be written at this time of the year (sorry I am not including the Oakland Raiders' annual coaching replacement this time). One is to go through all the snubs for the Pro Bowl (just how does Lavonte David become an All-Pro yet not even make the top six linebackers in the NFL?) and the annual BUCPOWER.COM awards piece.
So without employing the likes of Ricky Gervais (too annoying) or Russell Brand (just a twat) to host the awards ceremony, can I ask everyone to cram inside Mrs Miggins' pie shop for the black tie and casual loafers attendance for the nominations and awards to be handed out?
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR - VINCENT JACKSON
Not even close. Over 1,200 yards receiving despite being the only offensive threat on the field in the second half of the season. Finally the Bucs shake off the ghost of our Lord Bert Emanuel and sign a decent free agent receiver. And he was also the Buccaneers' nomination for NFL Man of the Year for his off-field work too.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR - GERALD McCOY
Now this one was close as G-Mac narrowly beat out Lavonte David in spite of both being named All-Pros. This duo are beginning to remind Buc fans of the Sapp-Brooks combination that was in place for Tony Dungy to take over in 1996. Gerald gets the nomination here because my daughter still remembers how friendly he was on the field before the Houston game in 2011.
SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE YEAR - ADAM HAYWARD
You only realised how good Connor Barth was when you saw Rian Lindell attempt a fieldgoal. Yes he was 23 of 29 on the season but did you honestly ever have confidence in him? Adam "Thor" Hayward gets the honour for as much longetivity as for 2013 coverage performances. As well as being the special teams captain, he now ranks second to only Jeff Gooch in the all time special teams tackles list.
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR - TIM WRIGHT
Another close one as both Johnthan Banks and Mike Glennon showed they were the real deal for their selections in the 2nd and 3rd rounds respectively. But Wright, undrafted to boot, showed his receiving abilities throughout the second half of the season and ended the year second only to Jackson in terms of receptions.
BUCCANEER OF THE YEAR - BRIAN FORD
The award for the person who most sums up being a Buccaneer. And without Brian, a lot of British Buc fans would not have even got in the front door at One Buc Place, let alone shown around the facility and had pre-game sideline passes for games this past season. And he and his family took time out from a European vacation in July to meet with Bucs UK members.
NFL PLAYER OF THE YEAR - PEYTON MANNING
Sometimes you just have to appreciate what a great player you have in your midst before he retires and his performances are consigned to memory. After 16 seasons in the NFL, he remains the ultimate professional in terms of preparation, playbook understanding and game execution. Oh and he set an NFL record for touchdown passes in a season too.
WRITER OF THE YEAR - BILL SIMMONS
Heading up the Grantland Network, Simmons may spend much of his time writing and presenting on the NBA but his weekly NFL game lines podcast with Cousin Sal remains the must-have each week in terms of broadcast downloads. Honorable mentions to old friends Roy Cummings and Ira Kaufman along with everyone connected with the excellent Around the Horn that celebrated its 10th anniversary this past year.
DICKHEAD OF THE YEAR
Multiple nominations here without actually handing over an award this year. Former quarterbacks and coaches are naturally going to be on everyone's list but I would also like to throw in the bright spark at The Tampa Bay Times who decided to make their pages subscription only. Instead of paying for the chance to read Rick Stroud and the like, everyone simply switched to The Tampa Tribune at tbo.com. Nice career move there lads.