2011 FanPoster Of The Year: The Envelope Please...

As a hoary, osteoporotic 2011 limps off into the sunset, to be replaced by the shiny, cherubic face of 2012, it's time once again to ring out the old and ring in the new, FanPost-wise. Before we move on to the FanPoster of the Year, I'd like to take a moment to reiterate what O.C.C. expressed in his earlier "Honor Roll" post: "Most of us likely kept coming back, and eventually signed up, because of the community. So today we give a big tip o' the ole hat to those members that have made significant contributions to making BTB what is is today." The only hat big enough to tip to all y'all in our excellent community is a big ol' ten-gallon. And tip it I shall. Here goes:

Before I begin, however, I'd like to salute the many new faces (er, avatars?) who have filled the FanPost coffers to the brim in 2011. In past iterations of our weekly award column, I have invited all BTBers to come and join the FanPost party; in the past twelve months, an impressive number of you decided to accept my invitation and have churned out some great stuff. Thanks to all; our community has been the richer for your efforts.

Want proof? Since this time last year, there have been 33 FanPost of the Week Awards columns. In revisiting them and tracking the winners, I not only had the opportunity to stroll down memory lane ("Jeez, there have been a LOT of awesome FanPosts..."), but to notice that some FanPosters, like meteors, appear briefly in the night sky and then quickly disappear. Back in January, for example, a member named Hank Hill received honorable mention and then took home FPOTW honors in back-to-back weeks--and then was never heard from again (Hank: come back, we love your stuff!!). Hank was by no means the only shooting star in BTB's FanPost galaxy; many others appeared and vanished in a seeming instant.

The point here is that the top FanPosters are those who contribute steadily, week in and week out, throughout the year. O.C.C.'s Honor Roll post outlined the most frequent FanPosters and frankly, the numbers are staggering, both in terms of quantity (ChiaCrack with 123 FanPosts? The man is a machine!) and quality (5Blings and Greatwhitenorth with over 10 recs per FP? Astonishing!). And the amazing thing is that the best FanPosters have managed to offer both quality and quantity. Who are these bright suns?

Find out who this year's candidates are after the jump...

I submit to you a short list of finalists for the six-foot, gold plated, fully embossed "Rabbie" (which happens to be a statue of Tom Landry, clipboard in hand). In alphabetical order:

1. Chandus (for, among other FPs, his "Kool-Aid free" post-draft assessment)

2. Chia Crack (for a slew of fine posts, including a fantastic one on the Cowboys' Bravehearts)

3. Fan in Thick and Thin (who authored several excellent "MMQB" posts, with this one on close games being among the best)

4. 5Blings (for his annual "season of _______" post, among others)

5. Greatwhitenorth (who gave us several brilliant tongue-in-cheek posts on "Jerry's Draft Rules").

6. ScarletO (for taking the long view, as exemplified in his superb post on high-level competition).

Before we move on to the winner, I'd like to pause for a moment to recognize some of the year's other top FanPosters. Every one of these guys garnered multiple mentions and/ or wins in 2011: CotySaxman; NY Horn; the aforementioned Hank Hill, Lissyyyyy (the former Quinccyyy), Omar Little ("indeed"); Requiem (I'll always hold the dude in high esteem for deciphering the Cowboy's draft board in 2010); Musiccitynorm; RomoCop and CoachGary, a master of "X"s and "O"s. Shining beacons of football knowledge in a wilderness of pigskin ignorance, each and every one of 'em.

In 2011, however, their light, no matter how bright, paled in comparison to the lambent flame of the man who takes home this years larger-than-life statue. I narrowed the field to three candidates: Fan in Thick and Thin, 5Blings and ChiaCrack. In paring them down to the final candidate, I asked: who made the most original, most beloved and most impressive contributions? Using these criteria, I quickly eliminated last year's winner, FiTT, who gave us a lot of good statistical insight, but wasn't able to nab back-to-back wins. This left Chia Crack and 5Blings, worthy gentlemen both, each able to write eloquently (and copiously!) on a staggering variety of football-related topics.

In the end, however, it was no contest. 2011's top poster, in a landslide, is...(struggles to open envelope while simultaneously appearing suave and looking down the dress of the spokesmodel standing next to him at the podium):

ChiaCrack

Let's give it up for the estimable Crack! As O.C.C. noted in his Honor Roll post:

Hands down the most prolific poster of the past year has been ChiaCrack, who posted an incredible 123 posts. That's about 2.5 posts per week, and if you've read one of those things, you'll know that they are loooong with rarely less than 2,000 words, often much, much more. There have been entire doctoral theses written that were shorter than some of Chia's posts. Great effort.

But added to his mind-numbing productivity is a consistently high level of quality, thought and creativity. Again and again, Chia provided us with material that was well-researched, clearly yet passionately presented, and tremendously insightful. In 33 FPOTW entries this year, Chia took home one notable mention, ten runner-up nods and walked away with the hardware on four occasions--leading the pack in all three categories. Whether covering individual games, sharing info on obscure draft picks, or teasing out comparisons between the Cowboys organization and his favorite films, Chia was an energetic, brilliant, sometimes infuriating and always integral feature of BTB's daily life. Go here to read his Dickensian oeuvre.

Congrats, kid. You're gonna have to move some furniture around to make room for your big ol' life-sized golden Landry statue!

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