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KChiefs1
01-03-2006, 11:46 AM
Tom Brady!!! Surprise!!!:banghead:

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2006/writers/peter_king/01/01/week17/index.html

Tom Brady's My MVP
The Associated Press polls 50 media people for their All-Pro team and awards. I'm a voter. The AP asks for one MVP. I wish we could vote for, say, five candidates, listing them in descending order. If that were the case this year, which was an extremely difficult year to choose, I'd have had these five, in order: Tom Brady, Tiki Barber, Peyton Manning, Shaun Alexander, Carson Palmer. Why Brady? Basically because he refused to let this team die in the wake of all the injuries. There was a series this season when only three offensive starters from Week 1 (Brady, Deion Branch, Stephen Neal) were on the field, and street free agent Heath Evans was the running back. In all, New England had seven starting strong safeties, lost three starting offensive linemen for the season with injuries, played half the year without Corey Dillon (never really healthy all season) and lost its best three defensive players -- Tedy Bruschi, Richard Seymour and Rodney Harrison -- for a total of 22 starts. And Brady threw for a league-high 4,110 yards. He became the leader of this team, with everyone gone so much. Without Brady, this team would have lost the division to Miami.

NO CHIEFS IN HIS FINE FIFTEEN EITHER!!!!

The Fine Fifteen

1. Indianapolis (14-2). The one good thing about the last two weeks is that we've seen Jim Sorgi can be competent if he has to play. Not great, but competent.
2. New England (10-6). Very few regular-season games have had more of a third preseason game feel than Dolphins-Pats.
3. Pittsburgh (11-5). Nice gesture by Bill Cowher in Jerome Bettis' last game in Pittsburgh (come on, there's no doubt he's retiring), giving the Bus the start and introducing him last before the game.
4. Denver (13-3). Pretty darn impressive performance in San Diego on Saturday, for a game that meant nothing in the standings.
5. Chicago (11-5). Someone needs to explain to me what was accomplished in Minnesota by Lovie Smith benching a quarterback who'd played six quarters in 15 months -- and has two weeks off before playing again. Lovie, Rex Grossman's going to get hit. You can't keep him in a glass case forever.
6. Seattle (13-3). You get the feeling that if Shaun Alexander needed 200 yards instead of 54 for the rushing title Mike Holmgren would have found a way to get him those yards in Green Bay.
7. Cincinnati (11-5). Pittsburgh-Cincinnati. Wild Card. Someone better spike Bettis' pregame Skyline Chili four-way.
8. New York Giants (11-5). Next two names on the Giants' middle-linebacker short list, sources say: Harry Carson, Sam Huff. That's what it's coming to for the Giants, who are pulling these guys off the street.
9. Washington (10-6). Kudos to Terry Bradshaw. With the Redskins 5-6, he said they'd run the table and make the playoffs. Wish I'd have had his nerve.
10. Tampa Bay (11-5). Chris Simms has pretty much cured his interception problem.
11. Jacksonville (12-4). I almost like their chances better Saturday night with the more mobile David Garrard. The Pats are really rushing the passer well right now.
12. Carolina (11-5). John Fox tries to knock his former employers out of the big dance Sunday at 1 p.m.
13. San Diego (9-7). OK, I give up. I have driven the Chargers bandwagon the entire year. I have been faithful in the wake of losses they should never have lost. But not with a 17-point defeat at home to the Broncos. Hey, it was a meaningless game, but it was meaningless for both teams.
14. Dallas (9-7). No cigar.
15. Minnesota (9-7). I've got to hand it to Mike Tice. Those guys played for him right to the end.

The Award Section

Offensive Player of the Week
http://i.cnn.net/si/images/1.gifhttp://i.a.cnn.net/si/2006/writers/peter_king/01/01/week17/t1_lj_bengals2_all.jpg
Larry Johnson also scored 17 touchdowns during his stellar nine-game run.
Brian Bahr/Getty Images


(tie) Washington RB Clinton Portis, for another command performance with the playoffs on the line. His 22-yard scamper around left end in the fourth quarter gave the Redskins a 24-20 win over Philadelphia, clinching the NFC's No. 6 seed and sending the 'Skins to their fifth win in a row. His last five games: 136, 105, 112, 108 and 124 yards rushing.

Kansas City RB Larry Johnson. Speaking of incredible streaks by a back, here are Johnson's rushing totals in the last nine games: 107, 132, 211, 119, 140, 143, 167, 131 and, against the Bengals in the finale, 201. Amazing! The guy started nine games and almost won the rushing title! He got 1,750 yards, and spent half the season as a relief pitcher!

Defensive Player of the Week
Denver FS John Lynch, with five tackles, two sacks and two very significant forced fumbles. Both sacks were strip-sacks of San Diego quarterbacks. The first, an 8-yard sack of Drew Brees, gave the Broncos the ball at the San Diego 1, setting up the touchdown that gave Denver a 14-7 lead in the second quarter. The second, a four-yard sack of Philip Rivers, was a safety in the third quarter, giving Denver a 16-7 lead. Ballgame. Lynch is 34. He's finishing his 13th NFL season. The only thing you can conclude from this performance is he's not washed up.

Special Teams Player of the Week
(tie) Arizona K Neil Rackers, who kicked two field goals to give him an NFL-single-season-record 40 in the 17-13 loss at Indianapolis. His 42-yarder early in the fourth quarter was the clincher. What a season: 40 of 42, including an incredible 34 of 35 inside the 50. He not only should be the NFL's All-Pro kicker. It should be by a unanimous vote.
New England QB Doug Flutie, whose drop-kicked extra point was the first successful dropkick in the NFL since 1941. It's the same as an extra point, and Bill Belichick let Flutie try it after a fourth-quarter touchdown. Cool.
Philadelphia P Sean Landeta. The guy turns 43 on Friday, and all he did in what is likely his last game in the NFL was punt six times for a 44-yard average, giving him a 43.7-yard average for his five-game season -- his best average in nine years. What a great run Landeta had.

Coach of the Week
Kansas City coach Dick Vermeil, whom I'm sure could think of no better way to get his 126th, and final, career win than a 37-3 rout of the AFC North champion Bengals. The NFL will miss Vermeil, who will now tend to his vineyard and his grandchildren, not necessarily in that order. He's as good a guy for the game, and for the media, as I've covered in 21 years on the beat.

Goat of the Week
Houston K Kris Brown. Three weeks ago he missed a chippie that would have sent the game against Tennessee into overtime. On Sunday he blew a 31-yard, straight-on kick at San Francisco in a 17-17 game in the fourth quarter. This guy have a death wish or what? At least he got his team Reggie Bush.

Ten Things I Think

1. I think these are my quick-hit thoughts of Week 17:

a. Is any coach more fired than Norv Turner?
b. Other than Mike Tice and Dom Capers, of course. And Mike Martz.
c. Bill Parcells will probably return, with an extension, for his fourth Dallas season.
d. Shannon Sharpe made a point on the CBS studio show Saturday, asking whether it was smart for a banged-up LaDainian Tomlinson to be running the ball in a meaningless contest. Well, he's got 252 days 'til his next game, Shannon. Maybe a busted rib can heal in 252 days.
e. Gorgeous, superb two-feet-in touchdown catch by Doug Gabriel for the Raiders.
f. The Falcons ought to be ashamed of themselves. Either that or the Panthers played the greatest game in franchise history. I tend to believe the former. That's one heck of a tank job, getting outscored by 49 in their last three games.
g. I am going to resist the temptation to tell David Archer: "Now make sure you ask REALLY nice questions from now on.''
h. Brad Johnson can play for my team any time.
i. Tony Banks can't.
2. I think Kansas City president Carl Peterson advocating in USA Today for an expansion of the playoffs in the final week of the regular season -- when his team might win a 10th game, yet miss out on the playoffs -- is ludicrous. The timing is dumb. The idea isn't very good either. Imagine the Red Sox being five behind the Yankees with five games to play and Sox management coming out with a statement that it's unfair the Yankees get to spend $200 million while no other teams can afford to spend that much. They'd be ridiculed, and rightly so, for being foul-crying babies. The time to raise the issue is in the offseason, not during the heat of the race. Would Peterson have made the pronouncement if his team were 6-9 and out of the playoff hunt? Doubt it. Saying it in the final week of the regular season makes him sound like a guy who plays by the rules until the rules don't fit his team. Then he doesn't like the rules.
The idea itself makes little sense. You don't make a rule for a freak year. In fact, adding a seventh team per conference to the playoff pool would far more often help mediocre teams. Let's say you added a seventh team per conference and go back a few years. In the last 10 years, the seventh team in each year would have been 8-8 and 9-7 (2004), 9-7 and 10-6 (2003), 9-7 and 9-7 (2002), 9-7 and 8-8 (2001), 9-7 and 9-7 (2000), 9-7 and 8-8 (1999), 8-8 and 8-8 (1998), 9-7 and 8-7-1 (1997), 9-7 and 9-7 (1996) and 9-7 and 8-8 (1995). Just once in the decade before this year has a team won in double-digits and missed the playoffs. I like Carl Peterson, but if he wants his team to make the playoffs, I'd advise him to tell his defense to tackle better.
3. I think it's a swell idea, and the right idea, that the Saints are back in New Orleans for the 2006 season. But Tom Benson sure didn't sound like an owner who planned to unpack his bags when he got back inside the New Orleans city limits. For everything that town's done for you, Tom, can't you at least fake it a little better?

5. I think this is what I liked about Week 17:
a. The underrated Broncos. We've all forgotten about them, but we shouldn't.
b. Denver's running game, even without Mike Anderson, can get it done.
c. The integrity of the Eagles.
d. The piston-like legs of Ryan Moats. Now I know why Andy Reid was so high on him before the draft and so willing to let Brian Westbrook walk if they couldn't reach a contract agreement.
e. The Dolphins finished with six wins in a row. And that just shows you the mindset change that Nick Saban has made.
f. Tiki Barber has some very big, uh, guts.
g. God, was Indy's Raheem Brock shot out of a cannon against Arizona or what? Very good, very unknown player.
h. Redskins-Bucs rematch. How great is that? Remember the 36-35 game back on Nov. 13?
i. "It's not age,'' said Dick Vermeil. "It's just time." That's really putting it well.
j. A little off-topic, but ESPN did a heck of a job on Outside the Lines Sunday on how estranged O.J. Simpson is from the USC football program. Really insightful.

6. I think this is what I didn't like about Week 17:
a. Jerry Porter's effort. Nice short-arming, dude. Shameful.
b. Kerry Collins makes too many dumb throws for a veteran quarterback.
c. Pacman Jones. What a baby. What an immature little doofus.
d. I'd say the euphoria of Jim Mora's rookie year has worn off.
e. The Titans look very, very far away from being any good.
f. You know what they call Mike McMahon in the football business? A coach-killer.
g. Maurice Clarett. What a surprise.
h. Marshall Faulk looked very old against the Cowboys. He just didn't have any room and he couldn't make anything of his small holes.

7. I think the one team I'm not feeling really good about entering the playoffs is Cincinnati. Did you see the video (I forget where, maybe it was CBS) of Carson Palmer limping and grabbing the back of his leg while warming up in Kansas City on Sunday? How is he going to stay clear of the suddenly resurgent Pittsburgh pass-rush Sunday evening in Cincinnati?

8. I think I noticed, and I hope you did too, that the ratings for the final Monday night game on ABC last week -- the Jets-Patriots game -- were lower than the season average. People didn't tune in to see the last Monday night production on ABC. People don't do that. They tune in for the game. It wasn't a good game, so people didn't tune in. Simple. People don't care about the pomp of a network celebrating doing its job.

9. I think the Bears will be pretty happy with the All-Pro team I submitted to the Associated Press this morning. Here goes:

Offense
WR -- Hines Ward, Pittsburgh; (tie) Steve Smith, Carolina, and Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona.
TE -- Antonio Gates, San Diego.
T -- Walter Jones, Seattle; Willie Anderson, Cincinnati.
G -- Randy Thomas, Washington; Brian Waters, Kansas City.
C -- Shaun O'Hara, New York Giants.
QB -- (tie) Tom Brady, New England; Peyton Manning, Indianapolis.
RB -- Shaun Alexander, Seattle; Tiki Barber, New York Giants.
FB -- Kyle Johnson, Denver.
Defense
DE -- Osi Umenyiora, New York Giants; Robert Mathis, Indianapolis.
DT -- Jamal Williams, San Diego; Rod Coleman, Atlanta.
OLB -- Lance Briggs, Chicago; Shawne Merriman, San Diego.
ILB -- Larry Foote, Pittsburgh; Brian Urlacher, Chicago.
CB -- Ronde Barber, Tampa Bay; Charles Tillman, Chicago.
SS -- Troy Polamalu, Pittsburgh.
FS -- Bob Sanders, Indianapolis.
Specialists
K -- Neil Rackers, Arizona.
P -- Brian Moorman, Buffalo.
Ret. -- Jerome Mathis, Houston.
Honors
MVP -- Tom Brady, New England.
Coach -- Lovie Smith, Chicago.
Offensive Player -- Shaun Alexander, RB, Seattle.
Defensive Player -- Lance Briggs, OLB, Chicago.
Offensive Rookie -- Logan Mankins, G, New England.
Defensive Rookie -- (tie) Lofa Tatupu, LB, Seattle; Shawne Merriman, LB, San Diego.
Comeback Player -- Tedy Bruschi, LB, New England.

10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:
a. Au Bon Pain makes a very nice tuna salad sandwich on whole grain.
b. Early Saturday morning driving over a hill on a semi-busy street in my hometown of Montclair, I came upon four deer traveling east, side by side, on a two-lane road. I slowed and nearly stopped. They walked for maybe 100 yards until the one on the left looked over his shoulder at my car. Then they all hopped a low fence into some woods.
c. Here's hoping it's a good year for New Orleans. Not just in sports, but in life. My friend Jack Bowers is doing some work for Habitat for Humanity in New Orleans (www.habitat-nola.org (http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2006/writers/peter_king/01/01/week17/www.habitat-nola.org)) and says whether it be with a donation or some hands-on help, the city and area need you. Desperately.
d. Coffeenerdness: I must hand it to you, Conseco Fieldhouse Starbucks. You make a really good egg nog latte. And for my last cup of coffee in 2005, it was quite a treat. I'm now convinced it's all in the quality of egg nog.
e. New Year's Eve is so far overrated it's dangerous. Very dangerous. Does America really need another reason to get totally lit?
f. Before I get too far into 2006, I want to leave you with this restaurant recommendation in Baltimore: Amicci's in Little Italy. Simple food, done very well. Try the pane rotundo for an appetizer. You won't need dinner.

JBucc
01-03-2006, 11:47 AM
That's probably who I would choose

Mile High Mania
01-03-2006, 11:51 AM
I can't find any issues with Brady being the MVP this year... it would have been easy for that team to roll over and play dead early with all the injuries and issues with Dillon and the ground game.

Brady proved he can win and be successful with just about anyone, despite the defense not helping them.

Thig Lyfe
01-03-2006, 11:54 AM
I would give it to LJ. The fact that he did what he did in only 9 starts makes it all the more amazing.

Amnorix
01-03-2006, 12:01 PM
To me, it's between Brady and Tiki Barber. I'm biased, of course, but I'll take Brady.

Manning had a great year, of course, but Indy had a soft schedule, no adversity to overcome whatsoever, and is surrounded by future Hall of Famers. Brady single-handedly carried the Pats to the playoffs.

But if it's Barber, I won't bitch. IMHO he's more critical to the Giants than Alexander is to the Seahawks, whcih is why I give him the nod if it ain't Brady.

Amnorix
01-03-2006, 12:02 PM
Oh yeah, I've also seen the following state their picks:

Don Banks (CNNSI): Tom Brady
Pete Prisco: Manning

Mile High Mania
01-03-2006, 01:27 PM
If Peyton gets it... then it's weak. After the last 2 seasons, I think Peyton has set the bar for him to be able to win it again... and he didn't surpass that bar this season.

Brady, Alexander, Barber, Palmer, Johnson... these are all more viable candidates to me and in order of preference for me.

nascher
01-03-2006, 01:32 PM
actually CP proposed 14 teams already last year. Bad journalism again no clue.

Mile High Mania
01-03-2006, 01:42 PM
actually CP proposed 14 teams already last year. Bad journalism again no clue.

I'm pretty certain he knew that CP proposed this before... I think the "bad timing" reference was more about CP bringing it up again when he did (with 1 game remaining) rather than back in week 4 when nobody knew how close the race would be or a month from now when it would sound less like sour grapes.

sedated
01-03-2006, 01:58 PM
If KC made playoffs, LJ should be MVP.

I don't like Brady. He had the best coach in the game, and was in a weak division. They wouldn't have sniffed the playoffs if they were in the AFC West.

My vote goes to Alexander. Anyone who breaks the TD record should be MVP