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ETSF's NFL Mid-Season Awards (Don't Be Mad At Me)

This much is clear when we talk about the 2009 NFL season. There are the "have's" and the "have-not's". The pundits will tell us that there are some truly exceptional teams and there are some really crappy teams. Things have changed so much from what we thought we knew at the beginning of the season, to what we thought at the quarter pole, to what has defined at the end of the first half speaks volumes to the parity in the NFL. With that being said, here the studs who are making some of these teams play phenomenally. Oh, and I definitely expect some of you to disagree. Here we go...

MVP of the 1st Half: Brett Favre, Minnesota Vikings

Obviously the easier choices here are Drew Brees and Peyton Manning, as their teams are both 8-0. However, nothing about their offense is any different that its been in prior years. Minnesota on the other hand, had been EXTREMELY handicapped in recent years as they relied on the likes of Brooks Bollinger, Gus Frerotte, and the Tavaris Jackson experience. #4 has made this team a Super Bowl contender and has energized an offense that now all of a sudden has a ton of playmakers, plus the ability to change the world with a single throw. Look at Percy Harvin, Bernard Berrian, and Sidney Rice...is there a better trio of WR's in the league right now better than those three? Purple Jesus is still in the backfield, and the fact remains that this offensive line is very solid. The 40-year old graybeard can sit back in his Wranglers' and pick apart defenses like he's shooting cans on a fenceline. Easy pickin'.

Offensive Player of the 1st Half: Cedric Benson, Cincinnati Bengals

Clearly if I went by the pure numbers then you'd again go with Brees or Manning, or even by who's leading the league in rushing I could've selected Chris Johnson of the Titans, however...there's no way in hell you could've told me that in 2009 that CEDRIC BENSON would be 2nd in the NFL in rushing yards and on pace to finish with almost 1700 yards rushing??!? Never, couldn't happen. He wins this by a landslide, its not even close.

Defensive Player of the 1st Half: Darren Sharper, New Orleans Saints

For someone who was released by the Minnesota Vikings, for someone who's been an all-time great in our generation of football, to see that the Saints safety already has 7 interceptions through 8 games and has helped turn a mediocre defensive 11 into an elite 11 is truly astounding. D-Sharp is doing it all, as he has returned three interceptions for touchdowns this year and has assumed a leadership role for his team. My buddy Tyrell, who is an avid Saints fan, would always get nervous when teams would throw deep on the Saints. They were liable to give up a big play nearly every time. Sharper has eliminated that fear, and is leading the Saints to glory in 2009.

Rookie of the 1st Half: Percy Harvin, Minnesota Vikings

By far the easiest choice I've made in a long time. Easier than choosing Alpha, easier than choosing my prom date back in high school, easier than choosing my favorite ice cream, (butter pecan) Percy Harvin has done EVERYTHING the Vikings have asked him to and excelled. Catching the ball, running the ball, returning the ball...Percy's done it all. He is the essential X-Factor in football, and anytime he gets his hands on the ball he is feared that he'll take it to the house.

Coach of the 1st Half: Josh McDaniels, Denver Broncos

Simply put, I cannot believe what's going on in Denver. There was more turmoil in the Mile High City than could ever be imagined and they hadn't even played a game yet. He traded away their supposed franchise QB, had multiple quarrels with their superstar wide receiver, and made some questionable free agent acquisitions in the off-season. They were picked to be in the CELLAR behind the RAIDERS & CHIEFS! What???? Now they are 6-2 and sitting pretty atop the AFC West where the Chargers were predicted to stand all along. Yes they just hit a 2-game skid, but there's no shame in losing to the Ravens and Steelers. McDaniels is a smart & young coach and he'll figure it out. Denver's making us all look real bad.

Team of the 1st Half: Indianapolis Colts

No Marvin Harrison, no Anthony Gonzalez, no Bob Sanders, and a severely depleted offensive line have all been major speed bumps to the Colts. However, losing the Gandhi of pro football in Tony Dungy might be an even bigger blow to this team. Yet, Peyton Manning, Reggie Wayne, and Dwight Freeney have manned up and put on a masterful performance through the first 8 games of this season. #18 is simply a maestro on the football field. I don't even think Jim Caldwell is actually coaching anyone out there, he's just a figurehead. #18 does it all. The defense has been high-energy all year and there are a ton of new faces that are continually making plays for this team. Plus, with the AFC as loaded as it is now, their 8-0 record looks all the more elite with every passing week.




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