Thursday, November 3, 2011
NFC North: Now the Center of the Universe?
By Kevin Seifert
Most of you know that I don't get too excited about the incessant distribution of NFL awards for the top players of a given week or month.
The awards are generated by the NFL office, via team nominations, rather than the media/fan voting that takes place for postseason honors. And if we've been doing our job here on the NFC North blog, there should be no surprise when one of our players is recognized.
With that said, we should probably note that the NFC North's first-half dominance this season is reflected in the NFC Player of the Month awards. Black and Bluers produced a clean sweep in October and have won five of the six awards handed out in 2011.
The October awards went to Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (offense), Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jared Allen (defense) and Chicago Bears returner Devin Hester (special teams). Rodgers threw for at least 300 yards and two touchdowns in all four of the Packers' games in October. Allen had eight sacks during the month and Hester had a pair of touchdown returns.
Rodgers was also honored in September, and Detroit Lions kicker Jason Hanson was the NFC's special teams player of the month in September.
The awards are but a sliver of evidence we can cite about our little division's place in this league. Three of our teams rank among the top of ESPN.com's Week 9 Power Rankings, and the ESPN.com/angelfire.com playoff predictor is projecting the Packers, Lions and Bears to make the postseason. If we keep this up, we'll elevate from the Epicenter of Humanity to the Center of the Universe. Yeehaw!