This week, the nominees from each NFL team were announced for one of my favorite professional sports awards, the Walter Payton Man of the Year. This award recognizes players for their volunteer and charity work, not just their play on the field. These are men of character who give back to the communities that support their NFL careers.
It was originally called the NFL Man of the Year, but in 1999, after the death of Chicago Bears running back Walter Payton, who won the award in 1977, it was renamed to honor his legacy as a humanitarian. There are currently six active layers who have won the award — Drew Brees, Jason Witten, Thomas Davis, Larry Fitzgerald, Eli Manning and J.J. Watt.
Let’s take a look at the men who will be representing the NFC South teams as this year’s finalists…
Week 11 saw two division matchups for the NFC South, and both games ended up being blowouts.
While that in itself may not sound surprising, the resurgence of the Atlanta Falcons and their decisive win over the Carolina Panthers most definitely was a surprise – at least to me! With their third win of the season, the Falcons are now 3-7, but at least they are not alone at the bottom of the division. After losing to the New Orleans Saints, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are also 3-7.
The Saints extend their lead in the division with a record of 8-2 and with the loss, the Panthers drop to 5-5 and their playoff hopes have pretty much been decimated.
It seems the Defenses came to play this week with both winners garnering four interceptions in their respective games!
We are at the mid-season mark and already we have teams talking about moving on from their supposed franchise quarterbacks.
Let’s take a look at who may be leaving their quarterbacks behind.
Carolina Panthers placed Cam Newton on season-ending injured reserve this week, leaving many to question if we will ever see Newton in a Panthers uniform again., especially since they have quarterback Kyle Allen, an undrafted free agent who has played well for Carolina in relief of Newton. He has completed 60.7 % of his passes for 1,291 yards with nine touchdowns and four interceptions in six games.
The Panthers have gone 5-1 in the games in which Allen has started.
It’s hard to believe we are at the mid-point of the NFL season. As such, there were eight teams starting the year with brand new head coaches. Six of them are in their first head coaching position, while two have held the job before.
In the competition to see who made the best hiring decision, the clear – and only – winner at this point is the Green Bay Packers. Matt LeFleur has this team leading their division at 7-1. Now, perhaps it’s the Aaron Duo – quarterback Aaron Rodgers and running back Aaron Jones – who deserve some credit, but there are other teams in this group with talented players who are not even close to being .500. That means I’m giving the Packers an A on the hire. Trust me – other coaches might have found a way to screw up this team so I’ll give credit to LeFleur because he hasn’t.
Let’s take a look at the other seven teams to see how they are faring…
Week 7 was a bit quiet for the NFL’s NFC South Division. With Carolina and Tampa Bay enjoying the rest that comes with a Bye week, that left only the New Orleans and Atlanta seeing action.
In what seems to be a trend so far this season, the Saints won easily while the Falcons lost heavily.
With all four teams back in action for Week 8, and their quarterbacks being the most talked about subject on the mind of fans, let’s take a look at the upcoming matchups and see if there might be any surprises in store for the competition…
The most coveted award in college football, the Heisman Trophy. Aside: Do players still strike the Heisman pose anymore as a celebration? I don’t think I’ve seen that in a while.
But in the land of Turnover Chains and other celebrations, I’m assuming that the Heisman pose is a thing of the past? Please, feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.
Back to the topic at hand. Remember way back when, when there was a debate as to which quarterback would have the best career? Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota??
This conversation reached a fever pitch back in 2015 when they were both drafted by their respective teams. They were going to turn the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Tennesee Titans around, and get them back to being playoff caliber type teams.
All four of these teams need this break to heal and regroup. What’s interesting to me, is the startling similarities between these four teams.
Two from the AFC North and two from the NFC South. Two struggling with first-year head coaches and sub-par quarterback play, while the other two are dealing with injuries that have taken out their starting QB and left their entire offenses struggling.
But I wonder… will this “Bye” week hurt or heal these teams?
Week 5 saw a whole lotta offense in the NFC South! Apparently, it’s defense that is most lacking in this division.
The New Orleans Saints (4-1) remain atop the division after defeating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-3). The Carolina Panthers (3-2), with backup quarterback Kyle Allen under center again, got a victory keeping them in second place. The bottom spot is for the Atlanta Falcons (1-4), whose awful record may be the biggest surprise in the entire NFL.
Falcon quarterback Matt Ryan is the only starting QB left from pre-season due to injuries to Drew Brees, Cam Newton and Nick Foles, so you’d think they would have some kind of edge. Yeah, not so much. Head Coach Dan Quinn’s job may be in jeopardy if they don’t find a way to turn things around quickly.