It’s midseason award time in the NFL

Michael Moses

Can you believe the NFL season is already halfway over? I’m sure Cincinnati and Pittsburgh fans can’t, and at the same time, I bet Cleveland fans are praying for it to go a lot quicker than it already is. Either way, it’s time to hand out a few midseason awards.

“Top Gun” Award: New Orleans Saints

The Saints are one of two remaining undefeated teams. It appears the other black ‘n gold has it all – a Madden-like offense led by All-World quarterback Drew Brees, a balanced running game with three stud halfbacks and a defense that’s now backing up it’s “O”. They’re winning games by an average of 16 points. If they can get by perennial power New England on Monday Night Football later this month, count them as the Super Bowl favorites. Not yet, but close.

“Guess who’s back, back again.” Award: Chad Ochocinco, WR, Cincinnati Bengals

“Kiss the baby!” After a dismal 2008 campaign, Chad is back and better than ever. Probably the strongest this Johnson has ever been. He’s 8th in the NFL in receiving yards (639), 10th in receptions (44), tied for 3rd in touchdown catches (5) and 1st in celebrations. What player do you know bribes a ref with a dollar bill to uphold a call? Numero 85. The Bungals are no longer a pushover team. As a matter of fact.

“Seriously, Who Dey?” Award: Cincinnati Bengals

They’re not just an HBO favorite anymore! The Bengals used to be the only NFL team that was more popular in the preseason than the regular season, thanks to the TV show “Hard Knocks.” These days, they’re sitting at the top of the mighty AFC North. By sweeping the Baltimore Ravens, it brings up a very interesting matchup at Pittsburgh this Sunday. Keep in mind, the Bengals beat the Steelers in Cincy earlier this year. But do we truly believe that the black ‘n orange will go further than the black ‘n gold? Child, please.

“The Biggest Loser” Award: Believeland Browns

Cleveland’s motto used to be “At least we’re not Detroit.” Well, guess what Brownies? You’re the basement of the NFL. Your lone win this season was a 6-3 victory over the Buffalo Bills. You’ve lost seven games by an average of 19 points. You switch quarterbacks faster than Jennifer Aniston switches boyfriends. Eric Mangini is fat. Ex-coach Romeo Crennel was fat. Now you want to bring in Mike Holmgren as a Bill Parcels-type VP of Football Operations savior? He’s fat. Biggest Losers, like I said.

“Who’s the new guy?” Award: Josh McDaniels, head coach, Denver Broncos

AKA top rookie. And yes, it is a coach. Denver started out 6-0. McDaniels beat his former boss, Bill Belichick, at his own game. Eddie Royal is his new Wes Welker. And remember when Randy Moss was a troubled wide receiver? He went to New England, caught a bunch of touchdowns and resurrected his career. Sounds like Brandon Marshall’s current story, yet Moss’ former coordinator was “traded” to Denver. Sure, they’ve lost two in a row, but their remaining schedule has Kansas City twice, Oakland and Washington. McDaniels should win 10 games in his first season as a boss. And we thought Jay Cutler was actually better than Orton. Silly us.

“Welp, see ya later!” Award: Miles Austin, WR, Dallas Cowboys & Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers

If there ever was a doubt about a No. 1 wide receiver in Dallas or a No. 1 running back in Pittsburgh, those arguments are settled. It’s too bad for Roy Williams and Willie Parker to see their teammates run in front of them, but let’s face it, they’re the much better option. In his last four games, Austin has had 22 catches for 531 yards and six touchdowns. He’s first in the NFL with 22.7 yards per catch. As for Mendenhall, he’s rushed for 573 yards and four touchdowns, to go along with a 5.7 yards-per-carry average (second in the NFL). There’s no argument with stats.

“Come on, maaaan!” Award: Larry Johnson, RB, free agent

Honestly, I don’t even want to waste precious newspaper space. The former Kansas City Chief was suspended by his own team (using “gay slurs” was a reason), and his own fans started a petition to have the team drop him. They didn’t want him to break Priest Holmes’ franchise rushing record (LJ was 75 yards shy). The fans got their wish. Larry was dropped, and as of yesterday, no team in the NFL had picked him up. In addition to his attitude, his 2.7 yards per carry doesn’t quite help his argument. Come onnnn, maaaan!

Contact sports columnist Michael Moses at [email protected].