As befitting this time of year, I'd like to ring out the old and ring in the new, FanPost-wise. In order to bid adieu to a white-bearded 2010, I'll announce my FanPoster of the year and, to welcome in the infant 2011, I'll celebrate the arrival of some fresh new FanPosters, still wrapped in their swaddling clothes.
In 2010, many BTB members consistently contributed great stuff, both in the comments section and in FanPosts. My posting heroes include such long-time stalwarts as 5Blings, scottmaui, dunkman, Chandus, foyesboys, and Fan since '65 as well as a fresh group of wide-eyes youngsters who demonstrated that the show was not to big for them: G_SWAG, ChiaCrack, Jeterian 2, Tanstaafl and others. They joined the rest of you in making this a richer and more informed community.
In my estimation, however, their light, no matter how shiny and bright, pales in comparison to the lambent flame of the man who, as I said many a time, could easily have waltzed away with the FPOTW award each and every week: Fan in Thick and Thin. In 2010, Thick consistently provided us with material that was meticulously researched, statistically informed and insightful. Moreover, he continued to provide outside-the-box thinking that always made me see the next game, read the next article, or write the next post a bit differently. Go here to check out his complete works.
I spent the New Year in the California wine country, drinking (and buying) a lot of good wine. As luck would have it, I've got a couple of bottles of champagne left over from my New Year's celebration; I think I'll open (at least) one of them in order to toast Thick's achievement in the style he so richly deserves. I suggest the rest of you raise your glasses as well. Cheers to FTT, BTB's (well, rabble's) 2010 FanPoster of the year!
Before we pop the corks and get too deep in our cups, I want to salute the many new faces (er, avatars?) who have filled the FanPost coffers to the brim in the first week of 2011. In past iterations of our weekly award column, I have invited all BTBers to come and join the FanPost party; in the first days of 2011, an impressive number of you decided to accept my invitation and have churned out some great stuff. Whether this is due to this depressing season being over (among its many attractions, the offseason gives renewed hope), or because the college kids amongst you are on break, it really doesn't matter, because you all have been del fuego, baby! So, kudos to goldnboi7, TCBinNYC, Hank Hill, texasslomo, MilesAhead, and starmesh23 for adding your voices to the early 2011 mix.
But 2011's first FPOTW award is shared: it goes to two writers who ushered in 2011 by going straight up biblical on our asses: 5Blings' "Of Fire and Brimstone" joins Tanstaafl's "Hellfire and Damnation," suggesting that the God who watches his favorite team through the hole in the roof is Old Testament through and through. In his opus, Blings looks back to the 90s Cowboys and doles out credit to two men. One of these, Jimmy Johnson (the titular Fire), is no surprise; for Blings, Brimstone is Michael Irvin. Blings writes:
Jimmy needed a highly-touted player, who could garner the respect of the younger players, but also had Jimmy's ear, to set the tone on the practice field, in the locker room and on the playing field. Irvin was all of those things and more. Irvin possessed a trait that enveloped the entire team. He had a nastiness about him. He didn't just want to win. He wanted to physically and psychologically beat down his opponent and make them FEAR him. Before long you could see that the whole team was imbued with that sentiment. It was manifest in Erik Williams' head slap and Charles Haley's sacks and Larry Allen's lead blocks and Moose Johnston's blitz pickups.
I've long marked the ultimate demise of the 90s Cowboys dynasty as that fateful October day in Philly. When Irvin went down, an entire organization's will to win went down with him. Blings suggests that the team needs another "brimstone," a man who will instill a killer instinct. After seeing the ‘Boys struggle to put away Washington and Arizona, I couldn't agree more.
Now, to our other co-recipient! As does most of his work, Tanstaafl' s meditation on the coaching search comes from the gut--although, as he claims, he struggles to maintain balance. Indeed, this post is as much about balance as it is about Jason Garrett:
I'm torn. Torn between the man of reason I strive to be and the man of passion I yet remain. Between my mind's reasoning and my heart's desire. Ultimately knowing the baser of the two is more the man I am. More the man watching and reacting during those minutes between 60:00 and 00:00. And therein lies the heart of the matter, I suppose. Therefore, while I reason the likeliest choice to be one leaning to a more corporate business-like manner, one more potentially suited to my views regarding longevity in this HC position, my choice lay in a more human direction, one more passionate for the team playing those 60 minutes.
I struggle with this, too, Tan--especially when it comes to the Cowboys! Check out the full post to see who Tan's "passionate" candidate is. I think it'll come as a fun surprise!
All of these terrific posts foretell a most excellent year at BTB, packed with information, shared excitement and heated debate. Ol' rabble can't hardly wait!