The alternative NFL mid-season awards 2019

Alex Finnis
The Telegraph
ESPN's Sam Darnold mono graphic - ESPN
ESPN's Sam Darnold mono graphic - ESPN

Every year the NFL dishes out the same old awards. MVP (for which the debate starts roughly 15 minutes into week one and keeps rumbling on - not at all tiresomely!!! - until January), Offensive Player of the Year (which is just MVP again), Defensive Player of the Year (Aaron Donald) and so on.

And every year anyone with a website, blog, or Twitter account with more than 13 followers gives their opinion on who should win these awards at the halfway point of the season (i.e. now).

We don't need to tell you that Russell Wilson is leading the MVP race or that Christian McCaffrey is having a good year. You have eyes. You know that already. What we can do instead is present a host of different awards to celebrate the slightly more niche events of the 2019 NFL season so far. 

Roll out your red carpet and have your drum rolls at the ready...

Transformation of the Season

The San Francisco 49ers have gone from 4-12 bin creatures without a winning season in five years to the NFL's one remaining undefeated powerhouse. Yep, this award was an absolute no-brainer. We've got no choice but to give it to... Baker Mayfield, for a transformation so dramatic even the lads from Queer Eye would be proud. Sadly for Baker, he's just done it the wrong way round...

Don't worry Bake, the Browns have a long history of getting right back on their feet after a tough loss, we're sure everything will be fine...

The 'Bonfire' Award for best jersey to take a lighter to

<span>Antonio Brown is without a team after being cut by the Raiders and Patriots</span> <span>Credit: AP </span>
Antonio Brown is without a team after being cut by the Raiders and Patriots Credit: AP

The nominees for this award are: Antonio Brown (No 84, Pittsburgh Steelers), Antonio Brown (No. 84, Oakland Raiders) and Antonio Brown (No 17, New England Patriots).

Aaaaaand the winner is... all three of these worthless pieces of garbage. Dress your Guy Fawkes up in them, chuck them on the fire and hope Brown's NFL career goes up in flames with them. Good riddance.

The 'Surprisingly Down with the Kids' Award

There could only be one winner of this one, and it's... 42-year-old Tom Brady. No, really. Brady thrilled 13-year-olds everywhere when he joined the video-based social network in September, then made fun of his own blocking skills with this pure gold a couple of weeks later (turn the sound on, it's worth it).

He's the GOAT, he's humble, he's funny, he's married to a supermodel and has a beautiful, happy family - just makes you sick, doesn't it?

Tom may have to clear a couple of Lombardi Trophies from his cabinet to make room for this one, but we're sure he won't mind.

Benevolent Act of the Season

Before the Washington Redskins' game with the New York Giants on 29 September, they partnered with a charity called United Way, and agreed to donate 100 meals to needy children for every touchdown they scored. They scored... zero touchdowns.

Yep that's right folks, the Redskins are so bad they are literally depriving hungry children of food. Only this godforsaken franchise, honestly.

Surprising Feline of the Season

There are four feline teams in the NFL - the Cincinnati Bengals, the Detroit Lions, the Carolina Panthers and the Jacksonville Jaguars. No one is surprised by the Bengals' dismal season, and the Lions are hurtling rapidly towards their traditional .500 record, but there are two standout surprises on the other two feline franchises.

Undrafted second-year QB Kyle Allen has gone 5-1 with the Panthers, while sixth-round rookie Gardner Minshew has been a revelation for the Jags. Shame, then, that they were totally upstaged by this adorable little beast during the Cowboys-Giants game on Monday night.

Not a believer in black cats bringing bad luck? Well then how do you explain the Giants being 9-3 up before this little guy sauntered onto the pitch at MetLife stadium, but going on to lose 37-18, with Dak Prescott the Cowboys suddenly coming to life to torch the New York defense and condemn them to their ninth defeat of the season? Exactly. It had to be the cat.

Listen to the commentary on that clip, by the way - Kevin Harlon is the definition of a pro.

The Jetsy Award for the New York Jetsiest moment of the season

The New York Jets are a constant source of hilarity - unless you support them, in which case they're the reason you spend thousands of pounds a month on therapy. Their 2019 season - which started with genuine hope - has been a calamity of errors, from Adam Gase snorting smelling salts on the sideline during a pre-season game(???) to third-string quarterback Luke Falk being forced to play three games, in which he failed to register a single touchdown and was picked three times.

They've p----d off their best player by trying to trade him away, and last weekend they managed to lose to the Miami Dolphins - a franchise which is ACTIVELY TRYING TO LOSE EVERY GAME THEY PLAY. But nothing - nothing - will ever be as Jetsy as the graphic ESPN displayed during their 23-3 defeat to the Browns back in September.

It was already bad enough that the Jets' starting quarterback had been sidelined by a teenage kissing disease, but the graphic - that point - is too much to handle.

"Yeah," Darnold is saying, "I've kissed a girl. What you gonna do about it?"

OUT INDEFINITELY - MONONUCLEOSIS. Nothing in history has ever screamed 'New York Jets' more.

Siblings of the Season

<span>Kyle, Josh and Brandon Allen</span> <span>Credit: USA Today </span>
Kyle, Josh and Brandon Allen Credit: USA Today

The NFL is no stranger to brotherly love. We've got Jason and Travis Kelce, Eric and Justin Reid, Shaquill and Shaquem Griffin, JJ, Derek and TJ Watt, and this season Joey Bosa and his rookie brother Nick are tearing it up on defense for the Los Angeles Chargers and San Francisco 49ers respectively. Both are in the running to be named Defensive Player of the Year (not that we care, of course...).

BUT, they're not going to win this award. This one goes to three brothers playing quarterback for three separate teams, all excelling, but heartbreakingly unaware of the true nature of their relationship. Kyle Allen of the Panthers, Josh Allen of the Bills and Brandon Allen of the Broncos all won in week nine, but did not get to celebrate together, because they have no idea that they're actually related.

Their mother - their real mother - disappeared mysteriously during a freak storm when the boys were just babies. They were separated, raised by different families in different parts of the country, but always connected by an innate ability to throw a brown, ovular ball into the hands of another human. It is time, finally, that they know the truth. If anyone reading this has a connection to any of the long-lost Allen brothers, please, do the right thing.

The 'Shocked Pikachu' Award for least surprising story of the season

<span>Vontaze Burfict finally got a full-season ban</span> <span>Credit: AP </span>
Vontaze Burfict finally got a full-season ban Credit: AP

Through his seven-year career with the Cincinnati Bengals, linebacker Vontaze Burfict received 13 suspensions and fines. This off-season, they finally decided enough was enough.

The Oakland Raiders weren't just dumb enough to sign Burfict, they even made him a captain, and they were literally the only people in the world who were surprised when he was ejected from week four's defeat to the Colts for a helmet-to-helmet hit on tight end Jack Doyle.

The result? A long-overdue full-season ban, and we can only hope an end to a career in which he has repeatedly put the safety of his fellow players in danger. 

Anyway, back to the fun stuff...

Quote of the Season

This one is always hotly contested. Here are the nominees...

"Call me Mr Big Chest from now on" - Antonio Brown

"I wonder if I unfollow Parley for the Oceans [a climate change awareness group], that will bring the same kind of attention for their organization, and maybe we can save the planet" - Josh Rosen on unfollowing the Arizona Cardinals on Twitter

"Not bad for a running back" - Lamar Jackson after his five-touchdown display in week one

"Is that a lot? Cause I had 33 in 3 years" - ex-NFL quarterback Ryan Leaf, responding to the league's Instagram post about cornerback Jalen Ramsey having nine interceptions in three years

Aaaaand the winner is... this Philadelphian, for a burn so hot only a fireman could deliver it safely.

"My man just started throwing babies out the window, we was catching them… unlike Agholor." You just save several babies from burning to death and still have the calm of mind to come out a line like this. Beautifully savage.

Lifetime Award for Services to Living a Sweet, Sweet Life

I mean, that tweet says it all really, doesn't it? We're not going to miss Brock Osweiler, but he certainly won't miss us either. In fact, he has 41,396,679 reasons never to think about us at all.

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