It’s Super Bowl Sunday, the culmination of a lot of work put in by… us, the Deadspin staff. Seriously, go read up, my teammates here did a hell of a job the past couple of weeks. The game tonight is the biggest thing in the sports world, but Saturday was really busy, with the NFL awards and Pro Football Hall of Fame announcement being only some of the news to digest.
That’s where we’ll start, though, because that’s as good of a segue into a whirlwind of different items as any.
So, the NFL’s season awards…
MVP: Aaron Rodgers
He threw 48 touchdown passes. That’s really good. Rodgers now has three MVPs, which ties him with Tom Brady, Jim Brown, Brett Favre, and Johnny Unitas for second all-time behind Peyton Manning’s five. It should’ve been closer than Rodgers getting 44 votes, Josh Allen four, and Patrick Mahomes two, as any of the three would’ve been perfectly acceptable as MVP. But nobody really remembers the vote totals anyway, and maybe you figure that Mahomes has more MVP-level football in him and Allen still has more to prove? Anyway, the MVP has been a quarterback eight straight years now, and all but four times this century (Marshall Faulk in 2000, Shaun Alexander in 2005, LaDainian Tomlinson in 2006, and Adrian Peterson in 2012).
Offensive Player of the Year: Derrick Henry
This is an extremely weird award that would seem to be the “well, we only give the MVP to quarterbacks, so here’s something for everyone else” award, but they give it to QBs sometimes, too, so who knows? Henry ran for 2,027 yards and 17 touchdowns. No qualms with giving him a trophy for that.
Defensive Player of the Year: Aaron Donald
In this case, it really is about recognizing the other side of the ball, because a defensive player hasn’t been MVP since Lawrence Taylor in 1986, with Alan Page in 1971 being the only other winner. Donald joins LT and J.J. Watt as three-time DPOYs. Watt argued that it should’ve been his brother T.J., and he’s not wrong — Donald’s great, but T.J. had the better numbers for the year.
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Chase Young
He’s already a top-20 defensive player in the whole league. This was a no-brainer.
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Justin Herbert
There were two rookies who made the Pro Bowl this year. One was Young. The other was Justin Jefferson, the Vikings’ wide receiver. Herbert has a very bright future if the Chargers can put together some semblance of a roster around him. But Jefferson regularly made eye-popping plays and looked as good as a pro as he did in college. Herbert’s growing pains were evident, even as well as he played. And, really, Bucs OT Tristan Wirfs should’ve gotten a shout here, too. Tom Brady’s not in the Super Bowl again without him.
Coach of the Year: Kevin Stefanski
Yeah, if you get the Browns to the playoffs… still, Ron Rivera won the division with Washington after getting cancer, and yeah, they were 7-9, but it’s wild that he wasn’t the pick.
Assistant Coach of the Year: Brian Daboll
The universe is just trolling Eric Bieniemy at this point, right?
As for the guys headed to Canton… Peyton Manning, duh. Calvin Johnson, also duh, but glad that he got in on the first ballot and didn’t have to wait around because that would’ve been stupid… like it was for Tom Flores and Drew Pearson, who finally — finally — got their due. Charles Woodson was the best corner of the 2000s by a lot, and would’ve easily been the best defensive back of his era if not for Ed Reed being a generational safety. Alan Faneca was so good, you could tell that he was making an impact as an offensive guard. John Lynch deserves his spot, but it’s extremely odd to put him in the Hall before Ronde Barber and LeRoy Butler. And I will admit to knowing absolutely nothing about Bill Nunn, and I wish that I had before, because he led a truly amazing life.
Steph Curry scored 57 points, which, yeah, he was feeling it.
Golden State still lost to Dallas, though. For that matter, so did the Nuggets in Sacramento, even though Nikola Jokic scored 50 with 12 assists and eight rebounds.
Teams are now 2-3 this year when they have someone score 50, with Bradley Beal’s 60 on January 6 not having been enough in Philly, while Golden State won Curry’s other 62-point game against Portland and Fred Van Vleet dropped 54 in Orlando on Tuesday.
The last time there were two 50-point games on the same day? November 8, 2019, when Damian Lillard scored 60 in a Blazers loss to the Nets and D’Angelo Russell scored 52 for Golden State in a losing cause in Minnesota.
What if baseball was this fun all the time? Johan Camargo doesn’t celebrate his homers for Atlanta like this…
Camargo is Panamanian, but the Caribbean Series pits winter league teams against each other under the flags of the places where they play — in Camargo’s case for Aguilas in the Dominican Republic, for whom he had not homered in 20 previous games this winter.
Former Met Juan Lagares drove in the go-ahead run, and was named MVP of the Caribbean Series following Aguilas’ 4-1 win over Caguas (Puerto Rico).
Yes, Duke-Carolina is Duke-Carolina, but beating this year’s Duke team is nothing to go nuts about, let alone to flood the street for half an hour in the middle of a pandemic, you idiots.
That’s Connor McDavid, the best hockey player in the world, all alone on the left.
Granted, the Oilers were on a power play, but you cannot lose track of Connor McDavid, the best hockey player in the world, and give him half a sheet of ice to work with. Also, the Flames managed to have four guys guarding three, and one of the three was not Connor McDavid, the best hockey player in the world.
He scored, naturally.
And the Oilers still lost the Battle of Alberta, 6-4.
It’s hard to believe that Elvis Andrus was the Rangers’ shortstop for 12 years, because it really doesn’t feel like that long, and it’s harder still to believe that he’s not going to be in Texas anymore, traded to Oakland for Khris Davis in a deal also involving three minor leaguers. The “Elvis has left the building” headline was a layup, but you’ve gotta take your layups, and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram did.
Meanwhile, in Houston…
Having fans in the stands is going just great.