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2011 ESPY nominees include Aaron Rodgers, Clay Matthews and Mike McCarthy: Fan’s take
The 19th annual ESPY awards will be held in Los Angeles, California, on July 13, 2011. Aaron Rodgers(notes), Clay Matthews(notes), and Mike McCarthy are all nominated for individual awards while the Green Bay Packers were also honored as an entire team.
Here are the nominees from the Packers, why one should consider voting for them, and what I believe will happen.
Best Male Athlete: Aaron Rodgers
Aaron Rodgers will be pitted against Rafael Nadel (Tennis), Jimmie Johnson (NASCAR), and Dirk Nowtizki (NBA) for the Best Male Athlete award.
Rodgers has persevered since replacing Brett Favre(notes) as the starting quarterback in 2008. Under his leadership, The Lombardi Trophy returned to its original home in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Rodgers had a breakout performance during the divisional playoff round against the Atlanta Falcons when he went 31/36 for 366 yards and three touchdowns. Three of his four playoff games resulted in QB ratings of 111.5 or greater.
Rodgers is also a valuable commodity off the field. Rodgers helped raise money for the Midwest Athletes against Childhood Cancer foundation earlier this year. The charity funds research for childhood cancer and other blood disorders. He's continued to vocalize his support for cancer victims after he requested that his Twitter followers make Nick Bell a trending topic during his 21st birthday. Bell was a Mississippi State Bulldogs player who died from cancer last November.
Best NFL Player: Aaron Rodgers, Clay Matthews Jr.
Matthews has evolved into one of the NFL's best pass-rushing linebackers in just a couple seasons. Matthews was one of the few components on the Packers defense that Dom Capers couldn't replace. His biggest moment occurred when he forced Rashard Mendehall to fumble on a potential go-ahead drive. That changed the momentum of the contest and helped the Packers overcome a rash of injuries that nearly proved fatal.
Matthews also uses his stardom to improve the world. He teamed up with Cadillac and starred in a public service announcement that educated football fans on Duchenne, a deadly muscular disease that plagues the lives of many children. The efforts of Cadillac and Matthews resulted in the most successful Duchenne awareness program ever carried out and nearly $500,000 through a Super Bowl tickets auction.
Rodgers wants everyone to know that its fine if you vote for Matthews, although he thinks Matthews gets enough love because of his hair.
Best Coach/Manager: Mike McCarthy
Mike McCarthy joins Jim Calhoun (UConn Huskies), Rick Carlisle (Dallas Mavericks), Gene Chizik (Auburn Tigers), and Dom Starsia (Virginia Lacrosse) as the nominees for Best Coach/Manager.
McCarthy was consistently coaching players who were coming off the streets as the Packers ended the season with over one dozen players on the injured reserve. Along with having the NFL's second-youngest roster, the Packers entered Week 16 having to win six consecutive games to win a championship. Injuries, inexperience, road games, and Twitter controversies didn't stop McCarthy from keeping the team focused in their quest for a 13th championship.
McCarthy also sets an example for his players with his charitable contributions. He hosts an annual golf tournament in Middleton, Wisconsin, that benefits cancer patients at the American Family Children's Hospital. McCarthy claimed:
"I'm fortunate to have a lot of opportunities through the Green Bay Packers to be involved in a number of different charity events, but we wanted something that was specific to our family and something that we could continue to grow with our kids."
Best Team: Green Bay Packers
Rodgers was thoughtful in his first tweet with regards to the ESPY nominations:
Great time at ESPN today for Espy's nomination show. Packer nation rise up n get us team of the year. And vote for me if u want.
Great stories surround each of the championship teams from the past year. The Packers overcame a plethora of obstacles en route to fulfilling the preseason predictions of many NFL analysts (Rex Ryan, excluded).
I don't usually watch the ESPY Awards show. I'll probably check out the results this year since so many Packers are nominated. Rodgers would seem like a deadlock for the "Best NFL Player' award. Then again, think Peyton Hillis(notes).
Nowtizki, Carlisle, and the Mavericks may have an advantage in the other awards since they're heroes in the sports world after defeating the Miami Heat and LeBron James. They're also fresher in many minds since it occurred in June.
Joshua Huffman grew up in Michigan's Upper Peninsula as a Green Bay Packers and Chicago Cubs enthusiast. His favorite Packer moments include Super Bowl XXXI, XLV, and Al Harris's(notes) interception return following Matt Hasselbeck's(notes) "We're gonna score" comments. As a Packers and Cubs fan, he suffered through Steve Bartman and "4th & 26" in a span of three months.
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