The All-Douched Team is an annual holiday tradition
among the Cold, Hard Football Facts crew, much like the egg-nog-and-bourbon fueled fisticuffs that lend a festive air to the company Christmas party.
Wow, our wives sure can brawl. Meow!
The All-Douched Team, for those new to this experiment in revolutionary gridiron analysis that is the Cold, Hard Football Facts, is the list of players who belong in the Pro Bowl but got douched in favor of lesser performers with more recognizable names.
As always, some definitions are in order: Getting douched is not the same as getting snubbed. (By the way, how many times over the course of the year do you use the word "snubbed" other than as it applies to Pro Bowl honors? We're guessing zero.)
Any mediocre joker can get snubbed. Hell, you got snubbed for that promotion to senior assistant paperboy last year (as if CHFF needs another 36-year-old senior assistant paperboy among its readers). We got snubbed at the junior high-school break-dancing competitoin back in '83. And NFL players get snubbed when they have a great season but don't get to the Pro Bowl because there are three other guys at their position who had great seasons, too. Yeah, it sucks. But you can't really argue against any of the players who did make the Pro Bowl.
NFL players get douched, however, when they had a superior season to anyone at their position but get left off the team because the guy in front of them had a great season five years ago and now appears in a funny United Way commercial each Sunday.
Countless players are snubbed each and every year. But it takes a special type of player to become a member of the All-Douched Team, a guy who performs better than anyone in the game at his position but in the process generates all the acclaim and praise of the neighborhood pedophile.
Here, then, is our 2007 All-Douched Team, highlighted by our first-ever team-wide recipient of the ultimate and highly coveted All-Douched Team honor, the Massengill Award, which goes to the player or players douched more mightily this season than anyone else in the NFL.
We have a special tribute this year, as the Massengill Award, for the first time in its freshly feeling history, goes to an entire unit.
The 2007 Cold, Hard Football Facts All-Douched Team:
The Tampa Bay defense (Massengill Award team recipient)
Have you heard of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers? Probably not. They're this little team that plays down south and generates all the national television exposure of the Ron Paul campaign.
Here's a little primer: The Buccaneers have already clinched the NFC South title, with two games to play. At 9-5, they have the third best record in the conference. And their defensive accomplishments are legion. Tampa ranks:
- No. 1 in the NFL (tied with Pittsburgh) in scoring defense (15.6 PPG)
- No. 3 in the NFL and No. 1 in the NFC in total defense (278.0 YPG)
- No. 3 in the NFL and No. 1 in the NFC in pass defense (5.53 YPA)
- No. 4 in the NFL and No. 3 in the NFC in rush defense (allowing 3.73 YPA)
- No. 5 in the NFL and No. 4 in the NFC in our Bendability Index (17.85 Yard Per Point Allowed)
- No. 7 in the NFL and No. 3 in the NFC in Defensive Passer Rating (74.7)
And for all these accomplishments as the undisputed defensive class of the senior circuit?
Tampa earns not a single Pro Bowler.
Congratulations, Tampa. Enjoy your plastic-tipped Massengill Award trophy. You can get your revenge by shutting-out Green Bay or Dallas in the playoffs. Plus, you'll have that fresh-all-over feeling.
Gary Brackett, MLB, Indianapolis
Brackett got douched so bad he might as well get a sex change operation. We're sure Houston's DeMeco Ryans is a nice middle linebacker, the leading tackler (121) on a spunky Texans defense. But Brackett is the cog in the middle of one of the league's top defensive units and the top play-making LB in a conference littered with offensive powerhouses. He's registered a nifty 107 tackles and leads all NFL linebackers (tied with Chicago's Brian Urlacher) with five turnovers (four INT and one fumble recovery) and is second with five forced turnovers (four INT and one forced fumble). He's also second among AFC linebackers with 11 passes defended (Ray Lewis is No. 1, with 12). But more importantly, Brackett will be the biggest weapon in the Indy defense as it attempts to repeat as Super Bowl champions.
David Garrard, QB, Jacksonville
Garrard, as we reported earlier this week
, is almost singularly responsible for the turnaround of the 8-8 Jaguars of 2006 to the scary 10-4 Jaguars of 2007. And for that singular, near-MVP-worthy performance he gets douched more royally than Queen Elizabeth II.
His passer rating of 101.6 is second in the NFL, behind only Tom Brady. He's thrown just two picks in 307 pass attempts, a rate of 0.65 percent, the second-lowest single-season rate in NFL history. And his completion percentage of 64.2 is better than notable quarterbacks (and 2007 Pro Bowlers) Peyton Manning and Matt Hasselbeck. All from a guy in his first full year as an NFL starter.
Matt Lepsis, LT, Denver
Lepsis is a classic example of a high-level performer douched by a bigger name, and in this case a bigger guy, too, Baltimore's Jonathan Ogden. The Broncos consistently great offensive line looked like it might fall apart with the loss of perennial Pro Bowl center Tom Nalen this season. Instead, it's pumped right along like a smooth, well-cleansed piece of the female anatomy. Denver has been among the league leaders in our Offensive Hog Index all season, and continues to run the ball as well as anybody, as evidenced by an AFC-leading 4.5 YPA. He's also a rock of a performer who started 122 of 123 games over more than seven seasons before going out with a knee injury halfway through the 2006 season. He's recovered with a Pro Bowl-caliber performance at the premier position on one of the league's premier offensive lines.
Barrett Ruud, MLB, Tampa
If the totally douched Bucs were to get only one Pro Bowler, it naturally belongs to the guy in the middle of their classic 4-3, the middle linebacker. Yes, fellow NFC middle linebackers London Fletcher, Nick Barnett (a 2005 member of the All-Douched Team) and Jonathan Beason all boast more tackles ... but remember, tackles is an unofficial stat, one that's kept by each individual team. But none of those guys made the Pro Bowl anyway. The lone middle linebacker among the five LBs on the roster is Lofa Tatupu.
Certainly, there is room for one more, especially a guy who leads the conference's No. 1 defense, is among the league leaders in tackles (108), tied for the league lead with turnovers by a linebacker (two INT, two fumble recoveries) and is among the league leaders with three forced fumbles.
Ernie Sims, OLB, Detroit
In what parallel universe is Chicago's Lance Briggs a Pro Bowler ahead of Sims? Oh, that's right, in the parallel universe inhabited by Pro Bowl voters where douching worthy performers is the national pastime. It's a world in which reputation from the year before weigh more heavily than performances in the current year. Hell, we voted Briggs our defensive MVP last year. But he's just not the same player here in 2007.
Sure, Detroit's defense shits the bed. But so does Chicago's. So team performance is a wash. Every individual performance, meanwhile, which is supposed to be the foundation of Pro Bowl voting, goes Sims's way.
Sims has recorded 122 tackles, second most in the league. Briggs has registered 94 tackles. (Again, tackles are ann unofficial stat.) Sims has knocked away three passes in picked off one. Briggs boasts two and none. Sims has forced five fumbles. Goose egg for Briggs. Ahh, but Briggs got all the pub last year and he gets all the Pro Bowl votes this year.
The John Lynch Memorial Award: Lance Briggs, OLB, Chicago
This award goes each year to the defender who does absolutely nothing on defense yet still somehow ends up on the Pro Bowl. Congratulations, Lance. Enjoy the egg-nog-and-bourbon shooters while waiting for training camp.