Passing the midway point of the NFL regular season can only mean two things: Depression is now moments away from setting in, and it’s time to hand out some NFL midseason awards.
The Norv Turner Award for “Wait a Second, He’s Still a Head Coach?”
After Miami blew a 15-point lead at home to the Denver Broncos, Tony Sparano’s career seemed to be over with the Dolphins. But two weeks later, he’s still on the Miami sideline.
The only reason why I can see the Dolphins keeping Sparano around is because he gives the team the best chance at finishing with the league’s worst record and allowing them to draft Andrew Luck.
And really, at this point, that’s the best option. With Indianapolis playing like it is, the Dolphins can’t afford to fool around. They need to give themselves the best chance at losing each and every week, which is what Sparano provides them.
The Houston Texans Award for “Team that Frustrates its Fanbase the Most”
Even though Wade Phillips is no longer looking confused on the sidelines, the up-and-down nature of the Dallas Cowboys has continued in 2011.
The Cowboys continue losing games they should win, winning games they should lose and alternating primetime games in which they look like a competent NFL team.
And has a non-head coach ever gotten more publicity for doing as little as Rob Ryan? Despite his defense giving up 21.9 points per game, his weekly declarations to the media have managed to get him shown five times per broadcast.
The Jose Bautista Award for “Where Was This At The Start of Your Career?”
The conversation would usually go as follows among 49ers fans when it came to Alex Smith: A profanity-laced tirade about their quarterback, followed by them lamenting the fact that they could have had Aaron Rodgers instead.
But through eight games this season, Smith has thrown 10 touchdowns and just two interceptions. This has caused the words “Alex Smith” and “dependable NFL quarterback” to appear in the same sentence for what is believed to be the first time in history.
The second half of the season will show if Smith can keep this up, or if he will revert back to his old turnover-prone ways.
The Isiah Thomas Award for “Well, That Trade Made No Sense At All”
Following the injury to Jason Campbell, the Raiders completed a trade that sent shockwaves of confusion throughout the league. I know you’re probably thinking to yourself, “Oakland completed a puzzling deal? That’s so strange!” But it’s true.
Oakland sent a first-round pick and a conditional second-round selection to Cincinnati in exchange for Carson Palmer, a quarterback who has the capability to provide the opposing team with offense at any time due to his penchant for throwing interceptions that get returned for touchdowns.
The Raiders’ front office is thinking to win now, but this team wasn’t a legitimate contender with Campbell and isn’t with Palmer.
Even if they wanted to make the deal, how was Oakland forced to give up that much to the Bengals? Cincinnati had no leverage in the negotiations after Palmer opted to retire rather than play for them, so anything the Bengals were getting in return for Palmer was a bonus.