With the conclusion of the Super Bowl, the 2013 NFL season is officially over. While the end game for Cowboys fans was a new twist on the annual "Gut Punch" game (let's throw in a backup QB!), overall, the season still held plenty of intrigue.
Here on BTB, we tried our best to keep things informative and entertaining over the course of the roller coaster that was 2013. With the conclusion of the season, I figured it was time for us to hand out some virtual trophies for a job well done.
Ladies and Gentlemen... Your 2014 KDP 10 For 10 Awards!
There were a few candidates for this award as I saw it. One of my personal favorite players, Dwayne Harris became one of the NFL's most lethal return men and combined with Dan Bailey made the Cowboys special teams a true contributor. The way the world talked about Dallas' first-round pick, getting the kind of performance we did out of Travis Frederick could have made him an easy choice. The performance over the last eight games of the season from Mack Bernadeau is something I didn't think was possible.
But the award goes to...
George Selvie, Defensive End
Signed in the wake of Anthony Spencer's "bone bruise" surgery, Selvie arrived with little fanfare. He turned in an outstanding performance of seven sacks on the year while the Cowboys played the entire season without Spencer, Tyrone Crawford and pretty much everyone on the defensive line they planned to trot out there. Rabble and I joked that Selvie was guaranteed to make at least one big play a game, and if he made a second then Dallas was assured victory. George Selvie was the surprise of 2013.
Due to the fact that Dallas opted out of free agency last year, this award almost has to go to a draft pick. Dallas earned kudos for their draft from most resources for every pick EXCEPT for their first rounder. So here's a a big nose-thumb (or other digit) to all those folks..
Travis Frederick, Center
Frederick immediately added a calming influence to the offensive line. Though he was mostly just average in pass protection (still a step up from what Dallas had been getting from the position) Frederick was a rock in organizing the line and a bulldozer in the run game. Dallas now has two cornerstones on their line for (hopefully) the next decade.
It was a great year for BTB Fantasy Sports, as all four of the leagues were well contested. It took a strong draft, dedication to the waiver wire and a little luck for our four champions to end the season as Number One. All league winners will be invited to join the Premiere League next season, which hosts the FPWs, the Premiere Final Four, plus the league winners in a "best of the best" league. This year, the Premiere League was won by... that's right, me!
I'd like to thank the Academy..
But seriously, here are our league winners for 2013:
Fear The Star: KD Drummond, #VastArrayOfWeaponry
Reloaded: SoCal Cowboys, Bware of DWare
Revolutions: SeanN, BlueSilver
Animatrix: ???, Lone Star
The biggest participation ever for 10 For 10. In Year 4 of the contest, and third year on the front page, we regularly had over 200 weekly entries. There's no way I would have been able to manage it all without the help of my right-hand man, hookerhome.
The fervor was awesome, as everyone tried to make their way into the Hall of Fame. A HOF which stretched immensely with all the new inductees. But the real honor goes to the one person that sits atop the season-long standings... Congratulations goes to...
As one of 10 people to go 10-for-10 in Week 17, lsttexas shot to the top of the leaderboard to win the competition; the first time that has happened!
Also, we had multiple winners in our Playoff Brackets contest. Congratulations goes to: ChrisMan, thepainster, and boys.camncrew, who all were able to navigate things to perfection from the Divisional Round to the Super Bowl Champs. Only one person gets their name in the Hall of Fame though, so by virtue of the final score tiebreaker...
ChrisMan gets the nod!
There were several news articles where BTB set the pace for getting insightful news up quicker than the mainstream media did. Being that we don't have a beat reporter tuned into the team, it is extremely rare for our FPW's to get our hands on a piece of information first, but we do pride ourselves in getting you the relevant information first.
When a tweet hits, we do our very best to do two things; get a write-up out quickly and get you more relevant information quicker than the rest. There were several articles that I felt were worthy of this status, but the one time BTB broke the news, BTB became the news.
When Rabblerousr posted the article detailing in full the Cowboys 2013 draft board, bloggers around the world rejoiced. We scooped everybody and for me, it was a huge feather in my cap to be associated with the group of people (our community and writers) who not only cracked Jerry's Board once, but twice. But when several news outlets picked up on the crackage, and began sourcing us in their articles it was pretty surreal.
Then, when watching ESPN's First Take and I see the words 'Blogging The Boys' in the topic scroll?? #StahpIt.
So, no question, BTB Article of the Year goes to:
This was actually a really close battle. Dave, our fearless leader, brought on two new entities in 2013 that I feel extended the greatness that has been established here since 2005. For those that aren't aware, OCC is by far, our writer's MVP. The man does so much to help our group appear collectively smarter and more web savvy than we really are, his contributions can't be understated. OCC's work to bring each of us to a certain standard is part of the reason this blog is as great as I feel it is.
The runner-up has added an extremely sharp eye for discussion-worthy topics, which is pretty important in this field. And the work ethic? Only rivaled by OCC himself. Of course that newcomer is none other than our first female writer, Dawn Macelli.
However, I am very proud to say that the winner of this award was my "find". This writer is one of the smartest football people that I've come across and I think his addition to the team took the blog "over the top". His chalkboard series went from .jpgs and .gifs to whiteboard sessions and he continues to keep us moving forward.
Of course, the FPW I'm speaking of is none other than...
I know this is going to sting for some of you fellas out there, but a two-minute man is a major disappointment for the ladies. In this case, we're extending the moniker to the football field, as it seemed this guy could only be on the field for two-minutes at a time.
Drafted with the first and second picks of the 2012 draft, Cowboys fans had big plans for...
He was to team with newly signed "star" corner Brandon Carr (a runner-up here) and give Dallas a formidable duo for years to come. Two years in, and Dallas fans are wondering if we're going to have to revamp the secondary again.
Injuries more than anything have limited Morris Claiborne's advancement, but he's been unable to fully participate in either of the two offseasons since he's been in the league. He was injured throughout the season with knee, shoulder and other things and when he did play, didn't play up to what you would expect; especially considering how the two LSU corners drafted before and after him are faring (Patrick Peterson, Tyrann Mathieu).
So, Morris Claiborne gets the Two-Minute Man award. We desperately need you to step up your game, Morris. We are feeling very unsatisfied.
I'm going to cheat a little here, as none of the players that I really wanted to step up did so in a meaningful manner. However, the guy at number seven on my list played on a unit that, no doubt, lived up to the theme song...
"One day, the fellas got together, They vowed... that no one would ever, Come on our block, and terrorize us, The gangs that used to do it, now they idolize us, Guns, we don't like to use them, Unless, our enemies choose'em, We prefer to fight you on like a man, And beat you down, with our hands and bodyslam you at the...wild wild west" - Wild Wild West, Kool Moe Dee (1988)
Hand fighting; love it. Bodyslams? More, please. The trenches are a war, and what better way to describe an up and coming Cowboys lineman than with the '80s classic. The winner for this prestigious award...
The 2013 Cowboys Offensive Line!
What we do best here on BTB is analyze, and no one is better at this than the longest-tenured FPW, O.C.C. The Goog, as I named him a few years back, has been turning advanced statistics into everyman speak for multiple seasons, as he has a professor's ability of explaining what may appear complex. In this category's winning article, Goog suggested that the key to Dallas making improvement over their then two consecutive 8-8 finishes would be to improve their Passer Rating Differential.
O.C.C. outlined how PassRD is second only to points differential in predicting success for NFL teams, looked over the league and investigated how injuries to key defensive components resulted in skyrocketing defensive passer ratings. The Cowboys had to make this metric work in their favor.
It didn't happen, and neither did the Cowboys improvement. Regardless, that is our winner for Analysis Post of the Year, with a close nod going to my piece on how the Cowboys should go about rebuilding their 2013 roster through free agency and the draft.
Last season, I migrated my sometimey "Cowboys Crunchtime" Podcast over to the luxurious suite of Blog Talk Radio. It was a blast and I was able to incorporate new elements and production tricks that made things a bit easier. I was also joined by my associate producer Flip, better known as DaJugganot here on BTB. I had plenty of great shows, including the opportunity to interview both Emmitt Smith and Roger Staubach during my birthday week. However, my favorite show was none other than...
What a lineup! 3 hours of Cowboys goodness that will go into my personal hall of fame. If you want a look back at how we saw the season breaking down, take a listen by clicking on the picture.
According to PFF, out of 41 players that took a defensive snap for Dallas in 2013, only five played at an above average clip. Five.
Obviously, the pickings were slim, and that fact is outlined more clearly when one of them, Sterling Moore, didn't join the team until Week 14 (why, we'll never know). Of the other four, only DB Orlando Scandrick managed to play all 16 games relatively healthy.
However, despite suffering a neck injury that kept him from raising his arm above his shoulder for a stretch, our award goes to none other than...
Hatcher had an outstanding money drive in a contract-walk-year. The eight-year vet set career highs in sacks (11) pass deflections (3) and forced fumbles (2) on his way to his first ever Pro Bowl appearance, where he also caused some havoc. His season rivals the best years that any 3-tech has had under the tutelage of Monte Kiffin and Rod Marinelli, and this despite having the height they thought would be too tall for the position. Hatcher might not be a Cowboy in the future, but if so, he surely went out with a bang.
Lots of candidates for this award here. WR Dez Bryant had his second consecutive 90+ catch, 1200+ yards with double-digit scores campaign. RB DeMarco Murray finally broke out with his first 1,000+ yard campaign as a Cowboy, also notching 10+ touchdowns. Jason Witten, who appeared to have lost a step early in the season, came on like gang-busters down the stretch, with his seventh straight season with 70+ catches, and had his second-highest touchdown total ever, with eight scoring grabs.
They were all worthy award winners, but in all honesty, couldn't hold a candle to...
The Tyronnasaurus moved into the category of elite left tackles with his 2013 performance. He was flat-out dominant in his pass-protection over the course of the season. Smith only allowed his QB to be hit four times on the year, and that included just one sack... in Week 5! He seemed to improve each game and ended the year with a green PFF grade in seven of the final eight games of the year. That concluded with a season-high +5.0 grade against the Eagles in protection of backup QB Kyle Orton. Rightly so, he was awarded with his first ever Pro Bowl appearance.
The Cowboys finally have a dominant offensive lineman, and his name is Smith.
This brings us to the end of our 2014 Awards Banquet. We thank you all for going along for the ride, today, and everyday of your Cowboys-loving lives! Salute!