It's the most wonderful time of the year...and we are in a giving mood here at The Inquirer, so bring on the the 1st Annual All-Ahern team. The coveted honor and distinction that accompanies being named to the 2007 All-Ahern Team has inspired even the most refined individuals to lewd and lascivious behavior--sorry Al Gore...you came close this year, and the nude, crude holiday video you sent to me almost got you the nod for Best Naked Performance in 2007, but you got edged out by Detroit Lions defensive line coach Joe Cullen, who drove through a Wendy's drive-thru naked this past August. Coach Cullen, best not set that Frosty on the seat between your legs...or you'll go from a Quarter Pound Double to a Junior Bacon Single in under 2 seconds.
NFL Coach of the Year: Well, since we can't give another award to Joe Cullen, we will go with the coach who I think has had the greatest season from start to finish: Jacksonville Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio. Making the call to dump former franchise QB Byron Leftwich and go with David Garrard was bold. I'm talking "Michael Scott photo-shopping his face onto his girlfriend's family photo and making it his Christmas Card" bold. It was one of those situations where he had little room to be right--and a lot of room to be fired. This team has had probably the most physical defense in the league the last 2-3 seasons, but the offense has failed to match that intensity. Going with Garrard has proven to be ingenius--he is the 2nd-highest rated QB in the entire league. Garrard's numbers won't blow you away, but he has led this team to the brink of the playoffs and Del Rio deserves a lot of credit for putting him in that position. Welcome to the Ahern-team, Jack.
Best College Football Conference: SEC. Not a whole lot of explanation needed. From top-to-bottom this conference brings some serious heat. I mean, Kentucky??!! Arkansas??!! If you are a top 25 school over the last decade or so, you circle your date against Kentucky or Arkansas and call it Homecoming. Not lately...the teams in this conference have laid more wood this season than when Peter North and Ron Jeremy filmed that orgy scene...while building a deck!
Best Performance, leading Male: Adrian Peterson. This guy has been must-see TV since week 1, and his record-setting day against the Chargers was oh-so-manly. Applications for part-time waitress jobs on charter boats that cater to high-profile athletes on the lakes are at an all-time high since he joined the ranks of the purple and gold.
Best Team Performance: The 2007 Baltimore Ravens against the Miami Dolphins in Week 15. If only 1 or 2 players had wanted to lose that game to the Dolphins, they still may have won. But they got together and decided, as a team, that they didn't want to win. And then they executed their plan to perfection. Coach Brian Billick, always a team guy, got into the mix and earned himself an Ahern-Team award as well:
Vagisil Call of the Year: Coach Brian Billick deciding to kick the field goal with 12 seconds left from the 5-inch line against the only winless team in the league. If you have a team on the ropes...a team that has invented ways to lose this season...a team that 100% believed they were going to lose that very game...a team that no way was going to keep them out of the end zone...how do you kick the field goal? At worst you could throw a ball through the back of the end zone after 3 or 4 seconds of looking for an open receiver. Don't give me that "But Troy Smith is a rookie" B.S. Troy Smith faced a harder defense in practice throughout the week. He played against better teams in college...hell, he played in bigger games in college--not to mention the 4 nice passes he completed under pressure to get them down the field to begin with. The center could have farted and the ball would have crossed the goal line. Brian Billick, this tube of Vagisil is for you.
Comeback Player of the Decade: Over the course of his career, Fragile Freddy has gotten a bad rap for being injured and injury-prone. Sure, he has had his share of injuries, but Fred Taylor keeps getting off the mat and rushing upfield for the Jags. His 4.7 rushing average per carry is 5th all-time, he is 18th all-time in rushing yards (approx. 10,500) and of the 47 players in the history of the NFL that have rushed for at least 7,000 yards, he is the only one to never make a Pro Bowl, including this year. To achieve all this, he has had to come back from a lot (the snubs, the disrespect, the actual injuries). Worse, he isn't even the most famous Fred Taylor--that distinction goes to Basketball Hall of Fame coach Fred Taylor, who, in addition to coaching Jerry Lucas, John Havlicek, and Bobby Knight, coached Ohio State to the finals 3 straight years, winning it all in 1960.
Best Performance by a Trio: The Ahern-Team would not be complete without this trio of Jessica's...Jessica Alba, Jessica Biel, Jessica Simpson. These three had a great year. Hottest Jessica goes to Biel, Trashiest Jessica goes to Simpson, "Proof she did it" Jessica goes to the pregnant Alba. These celebrity hotties are having kids younger and younger, and with Britney's 16-year old sister now pregnant, Vegas has the over/under of when Alba's daughter becomes impregnated at 9.5 yrs old. A special order of merit is bestowed upon Jessica Simpson for destroying Tony Romo's ability to play football. Ponder for a moment, if you will, what those two must have done within at least 48 hours of last week's game, and tell me you honestly could have concentrated on one single play. Finally, thanks to the magic of Hollywood, we can rest assured that even if Jessica Biel portrayed a crippled, wheelchair-bound, elderly, double-amputee, burn survivor, we could count on some kind of dream-sequence where she would be running down the beach in slow-motion in a teeny tiny bikini with no less than 1 minute of camera time each dedicated to the front and back. Brilliant!
Easiest Job in the World: Coach/GM of the New York Knicks. Let me get this straight...bring in every head-case, injury-prone, high-salary malcontent you can find...become involved and entrenched in an environment that condones--NAY, encourages--lewd, crude, harassing behavior towards females...lie your face off to an owner who wouldn't know class if it sat on his face and took a giant dump...yeah, I think anyone could do that. Don't give me that, "but it's New York...the capital of media scrutiny". These guys are walking around with their rear-ends showing to the world and they don't seem to care--and they still have their jobs!
Ahern-Team MVP: Gilbert Arenas. The sentimental favorite was Sean Taylor, but we decided to honor Gil for his sacrifice this year. By shutting himself down to have knee surgery, he has single-handedly aided in his team's development more than anyone in the history of the Wizards/Bullets franchise. Learning how to win without your best player is best done in the regular-season...not the playoffs like we had to do last year (I say 'we' because yes, I play for the Wiz). Anyone who thinks we won't need him when he is healthy later this season is dumber than Isaiah Thomas and Jimmy Dolan combined!