NFC South: Halas Award
The ballot had been narrowed down to five finalists for each award. I had made an NFC South nomination in each of the five categories and I do have to admit I’m a little disappointed that former Tampa Tribune sports editor Tom McEwen was not a finalist for the McCann Award and former Carolina fullback Brad Hoover didn’t make the final cut for the Good Guy Award. I had nominated both and felt very strongly about those nominations.
Anyway, we’ll move on to the people who are finalists for each of the awards. Tampa Bay running back Cadillac Williams, who has overcome two major knee injuries, is a finalist for the Halas Award, which is given to the person who overcomes the most adversity.
Atlanta’s top-notch public relations staff of Reggie Roberts, Frank Kleha, Matt Conti and Brian Cearns is a finalist for the Rozelle Award, for the league’s most helpful PR staff, for the second straight year.
Longtime New Orleans Times-Picayune columnist Peter Finney is a finalist for the McCann Award, which goes to a writer for long-term contributions to the business. That helped me absorb the McEwen blow. Finney is to New Orleans what McEwen is to Tampa Bay -- a sports face of the area. McEwen gave me my first job in the business, so I’m admittedly partial. But I’ve gotten to know Finney through the years and he’s a fine gentleman and a very worthy candidate.
New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees is a finalist for the Good Guy Award, which goes to the player who does the most to help the media do its job. No argument against Brees. One other thing on Brees I should share with you: A lot of times, the media might paint a guy to be better than he is just because he can throw a football -- or run fast or whatever. But Brees is one of those guys who is every bit as good of a person as you'd imagine.
There is no NFC South tie to the five finalists for the Horrigan Award, which goes to a person who is not a player or public relations worker, who does the most to help the media do its job. I made a nomination for a certain NFC South executive. He didn’t make the cut, so I won’t name him. He’d be embarrassed (and turn red) anyway because he doesn’t like attention.
Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas
I had planned to start the morning off with team-by-team mailbags, but we had a sudden flurry of news around the division with the Saints releasing Brian Young, the Falcons making some roster moves and Tampa Bay kicker Matt Bryant winning the Halas Award from the Professional Football Writers of America.
Now that we're all caught up on that, I'm going to jump into the mailbag. I have (randomly) decided to start off with the Carolina Panthers. I'll be back in a bit.
Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas
The Professional Football Writers of America have just announced their annual awards and Tampa Bay kicker Matt Bryant has won the Halas Award.
That honor goes to the player or coach who has "performed with abandon despite injury or personal problems off the field." Bryant certainly fit the profile on that one. His infant son died unexpectedly in the middle of last season, yet Bryant continued to kick well and hit a game-winning field goal just days after his son's funeral.
Bryant joins some excellent company. Here's a look at past winners of the Halas Award:
1970 - Joe Namath, New York Jets
1971 - Gale Sayers, Chicago Bears
1972 - Tom Dempsey, New Orleans Saints
1973 - Jimmy Johnson, San Francisco 49ers
1974 - Mike Tilleman, Atlanta Falcons
1975 - Dick Butkus, Chicago Bears
1976 - Billy Kilmer, Washington Redskins
1977 - Tom DeLeone, Cleveland Browns
1978 - Pat Fischer, Washington Redskins
1979 - Bert Jones, Baltimore Colts
1980 - Roger Staubach, Dallas Cowboys
1981 - Rolf Benirschke, San Diego Chargers
1982 - Joe Klecko, New York Jets
1983 - Eddie Lee Ivery, Green Bay Packers
1984 - Ted Hendricks, Los Angeles Raiders
1985 - John Stallworth, Pittsburgh Steelers
1986 - Gary Jeter, Los Angeles Rams
1987 - William Andrews, Atlanta Falcons
1988 - Joe Montana, San Francisco 49ers
1989 - Karl Nelson, New York Giants
1990 - Tim Krumrie, Cincinnati Bengals
1991 - Dan Hampton, Chicago Bears
1992 - Mike Utley, Detroit Lions
1993 - Mark Bavaro, Cleveland Browns
1994 - Joe Montana, San Francisco 49ers
1995 - Dan Marino, Miami Dolphins
1996 - Larry Brown, Oakland Raiders
1997 - Jim Harbaugh, Indianapolis Colts
1998 - Mark Schlereth, Denver Broncos
1999 - Dan Reeves, Atlanta Falcons
2000 - Bryant Young, San Francisco 49ers
2001 - Kerry Collins, New York Giants
2002 - Garrison Hearst, San Francisco 49ers
2003 - Robert Edwards, Miami Dolphins
2004 - Sam Mills, Carolina Panthers
2005 - Mark Fields, Carolina Panthers
2006 - Tony Dungy, Indianapolis Colts
2007 - Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
2008 – Kevin Everett, Buffalo Bills