We live in a country that is surrounded by football. It has become easily the biggest sport in the country, so it shouldn't have come as any sort of surprise that five of the major awards were handed out to NFL players/coaches or "moments."
This year is the 20th year since it was created and was hosted by actor Rob Riggle and I have included a 14 minute video of a few of his jokes from the program last night.
But, before you watch the video here's a rundown of the awards handed out to the NFL:
Record Breaking Performance: Drew Brees' 5,476 passing yards
This is a record that I think will be broken a couple more times, at least, with the way the NFL has been changing. Before the 2011 season, a quarterback has thrown for 5,000 yards in a single-season just twice (Dan Marino and Brees), but that number is now up to five (Marino, Brees twice, Tom Brady, Matthew Stafford).
Although I believe this record will not stand for very long, it's still a well-deserved victory for Brees when you take into consideration the fact that he broke Marino's record by nearly 400 yards.
*Coach K, career wins
*Mariano Rivera, career saves
*Lexi Thompson, youngest LPGA Tour winner
Game of the Year: 49ers over Saints, NFC Divisional Playoff
You know it had to be good in order to edge out Game 6 of the MLB World Series. And it really was.
With 34 combined points and four lead changes in the fourth quarter alone, the 2011-12 cinderella team (well, almost) pulled off the improbable upset over Brees' Saints thanks to a late 14-yard TD throw and catch from Alex Smith to Vernon Davis. The touchdown turned emotional as Davis ran over and hugged coach Jim Harbaugh. That was the icing on the cake for San Francisco, advancing to the NFC Championship game against the New York Giants.
*Mizzou at Kansas, CBB
*Rangers at Cardinals, WS Game 6
Best Moment: Tim Tebow's 80-yard GW touchdown pass in OT
No doubt it was a great moment, but I think there were a couple more deserving than this one (*ehem* last day of MLB regular season). But of course it was the finishing touch on a miraculous upset pulled off by Tebow's Denver squad that "stood no chance" against a defense of such gratitude–No. 1 overall Pittsburgh Steelers. Not to mention it was in the postseason and gave Denver the fastest overtime victory in history.
Ok, ok, fine. Tebow's moment deserved to be recognized with an ESPY. Congrats, Tebow. Enjoy it now, because I don't see it getting too much better since you joined the circus in New York.
*Derek Jeter's 3,000 hit
*Last day of MLB Regular Season
*Bubba Watson's Masters win
Best Coach/Manager: Tom Coughlin, New York Giants
Considering that, yet again, Coughlin was forced to shut his critics up by beating out tough teams in the postseason and Super Bowl to prove to everyone he is a more than capable head coach, I'd say he's pretty deserving of this award.
Haven't people learned by now that Coughlin seems to be best when backed up against a wall? Early in the season he was on the cusp of being flogged by Giants fans and run out of town, but once February rolled around these same fans started praising him and practically crowned him king.
Just goes to show that you're only loved when you're winning.
*Coach Calipari, Kentucky basketball
*Kim Mulkey, Women's Baylor basketball
*Patrick Murphy, Alabama softball
*Erik Spoelstra, Miami Heat
*Darryl Sutter, LA Kings
Best Comeback: Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions
This really was one for the books. In just 13 starts in two seasons prior to 2011, the No. 1 overall pick in 2009 had been less than stellar (19 TDs, 21 INTs, 3-10 record as starter). But this past season was a whole different story.
Stafford put up the fifth-most passing yards in NFL history (5,038) and a personal-best 41 TDs on his way to a record-season while leading Detroit back to the playoffs for the first time since 1999. With a little help from Calvin "Megatron" Johnson, Stafford put Detroit back on the radar...but this time, it was through the air that Detroit was making plays.
Going from starting three games one season due to a shoulder injury to a full 16 games the next season is a difficult enough task to accomplish as it is. But to not only accomplish that, but to pull a historically losing team out of the dark and into the light of the postseason? That is truly a noteworthy accomplishment.
*Sidney Crosby, PIT C
*Johan Santana, NYM pitcher
*Maria Sharapova, women's tennis player
Best NFL Player: Aaron Rodgers, Packers quarterback
He was already voted the 2012 season's No. 1 player by NFL Network after posting a 15-1 record this past regular season in Green Bay. Now he receives an ESPY for his spectacular play under center.
What's next for Rodgers, another Super Bowl ring? Perhaps.
*Drew Brees, Saints
*Rob Gronkowski, Patriots
*Calvin Johnson, Lions
*Terrell Suggs, Ravens
Best Male Collegiate Athlete: Robert Griffin III
Normally I wouldn't include this category on an NFL-based article. But, come on. We all knew this was coming. If RGIII didn't win it, then it likely would have been former Stanford Cardinal, now Indianapolis Colts, quarterback Andrew Luck.
Luck was the No. 1 overall pick, but it appears RGIII may get the last laugh as the flashy quarterback is awarded the ESPY over his counterpart Luck, in addition to three other deserving nominees.
*Andrew Luck, Stanford football
*Anthony Davis, Kentucky basketball
*Jack Connolly, Minnesota-Duluth hockey
*Mike Zunino, Florida baseball
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Host Rob Riggle, everyone!
Note: I do not own any of the above images (or video). No copyright infringement intended.