I know that our season isn't over yet, but I want to go out on a limb and do a little award ceremony.
Team MVP and Defensive MVP: James Harrison-The team and I both agree. Deebo was a monster this year setting the team individual season sack record with 16 (would've had more if he weren't held every time he blitzed), racking up 101 tackles, forcing 7 fumbles, and pulling off one interception, and earning his second pro bowl appearance in a row. Watch out for him for the real NFL awards of MVP and/or Defensive Player of the year.
Runner Up: Troy Polamalu-Had a phenomenal resurgence and a healthy regular season.
Offensive MVP: Hines Ward-As he does time and time again, Hines Ward comes to play ball. Ward received his 800th career reception today, setting a team record, and at the same time broke 1,000 yards receiving for the 5th time in his career. On the season Ward had 81 receptions for 1,043 yards, averaging 12.9 yards a reception. He hauled in 7 touchdowns increasing the team record to 72. As another quick side note, he needs only 220 yards to hit 10,000 on his spectacular career. Ward has proved that even at the tender age of 32, he's still among the NFL's best.
Runner up: Mewelde Moore-See below.
Most Disappointing Player: Well, there's a few player that could be in consideration, but the most prominent, and most negatively effective, is Willie Parker. Don't get me wrong, I like Willie Parker as much as the next guy, but this year was just not his year. Injuries hampered his season and held him under a thousand yards, under 4.0 yards a carry, and only to 5 rushing Touchdowns. Hopefully he will turn it up like he did today against Cleveland. Let's hope this BYE week gives him a much-needed break.
Runners Up: Ben Roethlisberger-Again, I support Big Ben as much as the next guy-those comeback wins were proof that this guy belongs at starter, but he's had a major drop off to one of the best seasons any Steeler quarterback has ever had in which he threw a jaw-dropping 32 touchdowns, 3,154 yards passing, and a phenomenal 101.4 rating. This year he threw 17 touchdowns, 3,301 yards, and an 80.1 rating. Sacks on number 7 were a rare occurrence this year, decreasing one whole sack then last year's abysmal 47, adding up to 46. Not bad, not bad at all. I'm thinking more along the lines of the term "recession". Maybe the government will give us a bailout plan for our offensive line (Obama supposedly likes the Steelers). Get well soon Ben; and let's hope that this bump on the noggin gets you to play better again.
Picking up from where I last left off with the whole sack rant, my next runner up would have to be Willie Colon. His play can be summarized with the phrase penalty machine who couldn't block a 12 year old.By my count, including today's holding penalty, he owes the Steelers 14 points.
Breakout Player: LaMarr Woodley-I was so happy Woodley broke out this season. I had great feelings about this kid after seeing his highlights after we drafted him. A contributing reason as to why Deebo's sack total doubled this year, "The Wood" as he is termed, doubled the pass rush intensity by bring his monstrous moves to LOLB position. Woodley racked up 11.5 sacks, 60 tackles, two forced fumbles, and one interception (one-handed I may add). He and Deebo set a new record for the team's best blitzing duo ever (single season), passing such greats as Lambert and Ham, Greene and Lloyd, and Gildon and Porter. With his added pressure and his ability to draw double teams, he helped Deebo become a better pass rusher and vice verse.
Runners Up: Nate Washington and Bryant McFadden-
Nate Washington definitely proved me wrong. I thought for sure this would be his last season here, but by the looks of it, he may be a Steeler for a long time. Washington had 40 receptions, 631 yards and 3 touchdowns. His 15.8 yards a reception led the team. As long as he can catch a little more consistently he will turn into yet another big play threat.
As for Bmac, the guy stepped up. When he was healthy, he made big plays and is a consistent, in your face corner.
Surprise Player of the Year: Mewelde Moore-The man who should be starting in place of a still-not-100% Willie Parker, Mewelde Moore, in limited time, showed the world what he could do. In just 140 carries, Moore ran for 588 yards, averaging 4.2 yards a carry, and scored 5 rushing touchdowns. At the same time, he posted solid numbers in the receiving category as well, bringing in 40 receptions for 320 yards and a touchdown. Now I don't think he'll start with Parker in front, even though he should given Parker's current condition, but M&M still made a case for Offensive MVP.
Runner Up: Darnell Stapleton-Wow, who would've thought that losing Kendall Simmons, a former first round draft pick, for the season and replacing him with undrafted Darnell Stapleton, would've been an upgrade? I did and I'm sure many people did as well, and he did not disappoint. Now Stapleton was no pro bowl lineman, but he definitely was everything Simmons wasn't; a solid blocker in all categories who at times made mistakes, but for the majority of the time played well enough.
Rookie of the Year: Patrick Bailey-Won a team award for great special teams play, racked up 16 tackles in 12 games on special teams. Nothing against the man, but is anyone else just a wee bit disappointed that none of our drafted rookies did anything this year?
Well that about wraps it up. I'm looking forward to the playoffs, and I'm hoping that all the above mentioned players stay healthy so that we can roll onto the Superbowl XLIII, and the quest for one for the other thumb.