The alternative 2018 NFL mid-season awards

Alex Finnis
The Telegraph
Ryan Fitzpatrick has been one of the highlights of the season - FR25171 AP
Ryan Fitzpatrick has been one of the highlights of the season - FR25171 AP

Didn't pick Patrick Mahomes as your mid-season MVP? Oooh get you, you kook. Yes, it's that time of year where every NFL pundit, wannabe or otherwise, makes their projected picks for MVP, Rookie of the Year and the rest of the end-of-season gongs.

You don't need me to tell you Mahomes is killing it, or that Aaron Donald is a monster. You need me to make some poor to average jokes about some of the more niche goings on of the NFL season!

Fortunately that's exactly what I have done.

We've got nine very special awards for you today, so let's not beat around the bush with all the usual pre-show nonsense. Let's dive right in at the deep end.

MDP (Most Deluded Player)

Here's the big one, straight off the bat, the award everyone's here to see. It's time to name the NFL MDP!

Let me take you back to week six, the Bills are playing the Texans in Houston. The Texans have just levelled the scores at 13-13 in the fourth quarter, and Bills quarterback Nathan Peterman - yes, that Nathan Peterman - turns to his coaching staff and tells them: "I got this."

<span>Bills quarterback Nathan Peterman threw two fourth-quarter interceptions against the Texans</span> <span>Credit: Kevin Jairaj/USA Today </span>
Bills quarterback Nathan Peterman threw two fourth-quarter interceptions against the Texans Credit: Kevin Jairaj/USA Today

Peterman immediately throws a pass straight into the welcoming arms of Texans cornerback Jonathan Joseph. Pick six. On their next drive, still in with a chance of winning the game, Peterman... throws another interception to Kareem Jackson. The Bills lose 20-13.

And so, without further ado, the NFL's Most Deluded Player of the season so far is... Hue Jackson! Huh? Hue Jackson isn't a player! Suck it up. These are my alternative awards and I can completely break the rules on the very first one if I want to. 

Jackson wins for the sheer volume of absurd comments he made in the days after being fired by the Browns, from saying their decision was 'premature' (despite going 1-31 over the previous two seasons) to claiming he wanted Carson Wentz, Deshaun Watson AND Patrick Mahomes, and Cleveland wouldn't let him have them. No wonder one unnamed Browns player allegedly directly compared him to US Office boss Michael Scott.

<span>Hue Jackson was fired by the Browns after his team lost to the Steelers</span> <span>Credit: AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar </span>
Hue Jackson was fired by the Browns after his team lost to the Steelers Credit: AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

Kicker of the year

The job of an NFL kicker, as far as I can discern, is to miss as many extra point and field goal attempts as possible, with the ultimate aim of becoming so good at missing that your team doesn't make you play anymore.

With that in mind the nominees for NFL Kicker of the Year are: Caleb Sturgis (Chargers), Chandler Catenzaro (Buccaneers), Mason Crosby (Packers), Zane Gonzalez (Browns, RIP) and Daniel Carlson (Vikings, RIP).

Aaaand the winner is... Justin Tucker, for choosing the most inopportune moment to miss his first PAT since high school. Cut him immediately, the scrub.

<span>Justin Tucker walks off the field after missing a vital extra-point against the Saints to lose the game</span> <span>Credit: AP Photo/Nick Wass </span>
Justin Tucker walks off the field after missing a vital extra-point against the Saints to lose the game Credit: AP Photo/Nick Wass

Contract hold-out of the year

Le'Veon Bell's hold-put has managed to turn him from one of the most electrifying players in the league to someone whose very name makes me so bored I want to start pulling out my own teeth, so it's not going to be him.

Jon Gruden not uttering a single word to his best player before trading him to the Bears was pretty funny, but there's only one winner here. Take a bow (literally), Earl Thomas.

Thomas very publicly angled for a trade to the Cowboys, and tried to hold out until his conscience got the better of him. In week three, against the Cowboys, he picked off Dak Prescott twice and bowed to the Dallas sideline. "Here's what you could have had, lads." The following week he fractured his leg against the Cardinals and left the field for the last time as a Seahawk on a stretcher, giving the one-fingered salute to his own bench. Legend.

Quote of the year

Andy Reid (on benching players when he has a lead to protect them from injury): "Listen, I just go off my gut. And I have a pretty big gut."

Kirk Cousins (on life in Minnesota): "This is the first year I’ve ever lived in a home with a heated garage... absolute game changer in the morning when I leave for work. Highly recommend it."

<span>Eli Manning, probably staring at Saquon Barkley's quads</span> <span>Credit: AP Photo/Seth Wenig </span>
Eli Manning, probably staring at Saquon Barkley's quads Credit: AP Photo/Seth Wenig

Eli Manning (on Saquon Barkley): "His quads are the size of my waist and whole upper body. I’ve never quite seen anything like it. I don’t often stare at another man’s legs, but in that case, you just can’t quite help it."

Thomas Davis (on how he'd dress his fellow Panthers for Halloween): "I'd dress Cam in some regular clothes for a change."

The winner? For the whole look and delivery it's gotta be Fitzmagic.

Ryan Fitzpatrick (wearing DeShaun Jackson's shades, gold chains and open jacket at a post-match press conference): "We have to stay humble... we can't change who we are."

Fan sign of the year

This incredibly high-concept effort:

Next.

The 'IDGAF' Award for least Fs given

I mean, it's going to be hard to beat Vontae Davis, just two weeks into the season, becoming so fed up with being a Buffalo Bill that he literally retired at half-time. Just full on put on his street clothes and waltzed out of the stadium. Incredible scenes.

<span>One and a half games was more than enough for Vontae Davis</span> <span>Credit: Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images </span>
One and a half games was more than enough for Vontae Davis Credit: Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

But I have to give this one to Fitzpatrick too. His approach to football in the twilight of his career has been one of if not the most enjoyable storylines of the season. The 35-year-old veteran is throwing the ball with the reckless abandon of a little kid tearing around the park, and it makes him so much fun to watch. The caveman beard, the super saiyan celebrations, the beautiful passes - the whole Fitzmagic experience has been an absolute joy.

Want another great quote? Twenty points down at half-time against the Steelers Fitzpatrick turned to receiver Mike Evans and said: "For some odd reason I love f****ing football. I love it." Evans replied: "Yeah, I'm with you. I love it too." That's what it's all about.

Kermit the Frog impression of the year

Yes, Patrick Mahomes is an incredible quarterback breaking all manner of NFL records and powering the Kansas City Chiefs towards the best season in their 59-year history, but did you know he moonlights as an adorable puppet frog who likes to sing and has an on-again, off-again relationship with a rather diva-ish pig? WELL YOU DO NOW.

The Cleveland Browns Award for the most Cleveland Browns performance of the year

Lots of nominees here, including the Cleveland Browns blowing an overtime game they really should have won against the Saints, the Cleveland Browns blowing an overtime game they really should have won against the Raiders, and the Cleveland Browns blowing an overtime game they really should have won against the Bucs, but the winner has to be the Cleveland Browns nearly blowing an overtime game they really should have won against the Steelers to end their 635-day losing streak in the most Browns way possible - by tying.

The Colin Kaepernick collusion award

We end tonight's show - yes, this is a show now - with a very special award - the Colin Kaepernick Collusion Award. This award goes to an organisation which has single-handedly managed to win Kaep his collusion case against the NFL by putting together such a spectacular car crash of a quarterback room all he needs to do is show the judge this tweet:

The Bills drafted the rawest quarterback in the class, and decided to support him by trading away their reliable starter, and bringing in a guy who couldn't unseat Andy Dalton when Andy Dalton was playing at his worst to compete with a guy who threw five interceptions in a single half last season.

In a turn of events which shocked no one except the Buffalo Bills management and coaching staff, they both turned out to be utter garbage, and poor Josh Allen was thrown to the wolves and sacked roughly 43 times a game until he inevitably got injured. In comes Derek Anderson, literally signed off the street, and Mat Barkley, who's barely even good for a camp arm. Christ. You're welcome, Colin.

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