Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 10/30/12
Welcome to the NFL awards for the halfway point of the NFL season. This week, we honor the best & worst of the first half of the NFL season, as only we can.Let's get to it...The "first half MVP" award goes to Matt RyanMatt Ryan is not flashy. He's not what most people think of when they think of "elite quarterbacks."But guess what? He is, at least as far as being the most valuable asset to his team's success this year. And as anyone who follows football knows, the MVP does stand for "most valuable player."But even though this is the first of what is sure to be quite a bounty for the Falcons (no, New Orleans Saints defense, not in THAT way), the overwhelming feeling amongst both us here at the NFL awards and the general football-watching public is that everything he's done means nothing until he proves it in the playoffs. Such is life when you're the habitually-underachieving quarterback of a habitually-underachieving team.The "team of the first half" award goes to the Atlanta FalconsWe here at the NFL awards have been a little hard on the 7-0 Falcons at times this year, but when you're the only undefeated team in the league at the halfway point, there's really no other choice for "team of the first half", even if we think there might be better teams out there.And even though it seems like we're beating you over the head with it at this point (cause we are), it means nothing unless they show us something in the playoffs. Plus, we happen to know a team from 1972 that still lays claim to being the only perfect team in NFL history. As such, we got Mercury Morris to present this award to the Falcons, telling them to call him "when they get in his neighborhood." The "rookie of the first half" award goes to Robert Griffin IIIAndrew Luck has led his Colts to a better record, but, despite what we may have told you in another award, sometimes flash is a good thing. Especially in a football-starved town like DC, which hasn't seen much in the way of anything to even get remotely excited about in quite a long time.And while that hasn't necessarily led the Redskins to a good record (they're 3-4), it has at least proven that the future is bright for the first time in a while in Redskinland.And for that alone, RG3 is pretty much a slam dunk for this award, and pretty much has been since his first game of the year when he lit up the Saints. It's always been his award to lose, and so will "rookie of the year", especially as his play is continuing to both excite and improve the longer we go into the season.The "coach of the first half" award goes to Joe PhilbinHere is where the controversy might start to take over the show, as you would think that a 7-0, already twice-honored team would also deserve to have it's head coach honored, but that won't be the case here. So, why do we give this award to the Dolphins' rookie head coach Philbin?Because the Dolphins are 4-3 in a division where many picked them to finish last. And they're doing it with a team that is mostly put together of rookies and retreads, as it's most well-known names are rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill and the rejuvenated Reggie Bush.Who really knows what will happen to the 'Fins the rest of the year, but thanks to this start, things are looking up in Miami. And, as she always does, Playboy Playmate and former Dolphins' cheerleader Jaime Edmondson was the presenter.The "most surprising team of the first half" award goes to the Minnesota VikingsBut as surprising as the Dolphins' start has been, in my opinion (and it is my awards show), no one has had as surprising of a start as the Vikings. And although it has likely been more a product of a relatively easy schedule (though they can hang their hats on the win over the 49ers), it's undeniable that no one expected a team that went 3-13 a year ago to have already eclipsed that win total by the halfway point of this year.But we'd also like to remind our friends up north to enjoy it, because fame is fleeting, and the schedule gives them four games against the Bears and Packers in the second half. That doesn't bode well for extended success.The "worst coach of the first half" award goes to Jason GarrettThere are a lot of potential candidates for this one, but no one has looked more generally inept at his job than Garrett has this year. The same thing could probably go for a lot of the players on his team, as the Cowboys always seem to look that same way, but it has been said that players are often the reflection of their coach, and that is the main reason that Garrett has "earned" this honor, and, we're pretty sure, embarrassing all of the Princeton community in the process.Unfortunately, since one of the biggest problems Garrett has had this year is with clock management, he failed to appear to accept this award, leaving a lot of unanswered questions in the wake of another embarrassing situation, What else is new?The "worst team of the first half" award goes to the Kansas City Chiefs"Worst" can mean a lot of things. For instance, due to how over-hyped the Eagles and Jets are, and how many expectations they had on them, you could make an argument that they are the worst teams in the league. The Jaguars, who share the worst record in the league with the Chiefs, are also pretty bad.But no one has looked as completely inept as the Chiefs, who haven't had a single lead in regulation play this year. The only thing stopping them from having gone the entire first half without a lead is the fact their win came in overtime against the Saints, and their only lead was at the end of the game in that one. Add all that together, and it's easy to see why the Chiefs are easily the worst team in the league for the first half.The "story of the first half (that won't be missed in the second half)" award goes to the replacement refsRemember that time the replacement refs almost brought the NFL awards to a halt? Wild, scary times, huh? Well, never again. And even though it didn't take very long for both NFL teams and their fans to start complaining about the real refs (complaining about the officiating in sports is only human, you know), we're pretty sure on one misses the replacement refs.*Replacement ref note: Everyone misses us. You all need a little "intertouchdownception" in your lives now and then. Just admit it.*Accepting this award was to have been an actual replacement ref, but big, bad Ed Hochuli bench-pressed him right out of the awards show arena and accepted the award with five little words: "welcome to the gun show."The "first half Super Bowl" award goes to the New York Giants and Houston TexansThis award was necessitated by the recent history of the Falcons to flame out in the playoffs, and is presented to the two teams who may not have won the "best team" award, but played at a level that probably would have seen them meet in the "first half Super Bowl", if such a thing actually existed.Unfortunately for them (and for everyone else honored here today), they've in fact won nothing, since the back half of the season is where it's always at. All of us here at the NFL awards, though, feel that these are the two teams who are most likely to be left standing at the Superdome on the first Sunday in February, anyway.The "most competitive division of the first half" award goes to the AFC EastAt one point in the first half of the season, every team in the division was 3-3. and even though the last two weeks has seen the Patriots and Dolphins separate a little bit, this division still seems to be a roll of the dice on a weekly basis.But don't tell that to the Pats, who have been the rulers of the division for a long time, and appear to be heading in that direction again this year, sooner rather than later.Which is why we elected to allow the Patriots, Evil Empire though they are, to accept the award, and with Bill Belichick speaking on their behalf, it went about as well as you would expect, and ends everything for the week on a dry, soulless note.We'll be back next week. And we promise to try harder. Or something. 
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