By Mark Wald
The Cold, Hard Football Facts peace-prize panel of pigskin
As another season draws to a close, we'll soon hear about what a phenomenal year it's been for The Cold, Hard Football Facts. We'll hear about all the trends they identified before the dreaded "pundits" did. We'll hear about numerous myths debunked. And yes, we'll be reminded that we had no idea you need a good quarterback to win in the NFL.
As is also customary at year end, it's time for year-end lists and other retrospective examinations. And it's time to be thankful for watchmen who, like that timeclock-punching sheep dog from the Warner Brothers cartoons, thwart the wolves in sheep's clothing who would impede your path to NFL knowledge.    
Most folks probably aren't aware I issue a set of annual awards for pigskin journalism. It's my pleasure to report that, against staunch competition, CHFF won every award up for grabs this year.
No one's cleaned house like this since Alice went wild with the 409 when Mr. Brady was out town.
The Lie of Omission Award goes to CHFF for managing to encapsulate the history of the AFL without a single mention of one of its quintessential players: Daryl Lamonica. 
Not coincidentally, Lamonica is the one AFL player that statistically reinforces the supposed AFL Myth CHFF tried to debunk. I realize people forgot about the Mad Bomber after the Snake arrived, but this is ridiculous. It's like the dude never existed.
The Raising the Bar Award (aka Shit, He's Doing Well, We Better Go Back and Cover Our Ass Award) goes to CHFF for their ever-evolving standard of what constitutes a successful season for BrettFavre.
In August BrettFavre was a joke in the industry and Chilly was smoking crack. By late October as the wins piled up, CHFF intimated Favre had to win the Super Bowl; a playoff loss would prove they were correct in their doubts. By December, Favre's first (and only) 2-INT game of the season exposed him for the fraud he is. More recently, with a playoff spot already clinched, CHFF said the Vikings loss to the Bears last Monday night "officially ended Minnesota's hopes."
Give CHFF credit: raising your standards is good. If we'd only done that in high school.
CHFF wins the Did They Really Say That? Award for writing about Ravens QB Joe Flacco, "But Flacco won, and that's really all that's important ... no matter what the numbers say."
Whoa! Every once in a while, a glimmer of light in the darkness! We agree. If only CHFF would give us a clue about when stats are important and when they aren't, then we wouldn't have to guess.
The Enough Already Award to CHFF for their two years and running bandwagon ride on Kurt Warner's back. 
Last year CHFF touted the rise of the Cardinals before the season even started, then flip-flopped all year long as Arizona's (and Warner's) fortunes rose and fell. Then CHFF abandoned the Cards in their hour of need, only to see them rise again and run the playoff table. 
Going into this season, the gun-shy CHFF steered clear of Warner like a divorced spouse who refuses to acknowledge ever being married to the dame, chalking up Arizona's 2008 season as "stars aligning." But ever since Warner's victory over Favre in the "gunslinger bowl" a few weeks ago, CHFF is back as Warner's publicist. At least until he underachieves in the playoffs again.
The Marketing 101 Award to CHFF for consistently leveraging the BrettFavre story. 
Most days this season Favre's country mug was either plastered over a leading story on CHFF's web site or, at the very least, there were numerous links to past Favre stories embedded somewhere else on the home page. 
CHFF probably devoted more space to Favre than any other team or player this season. We're told CHFF doesn't run with the media pack, but matching the pundits story for story (albeit with a generally opposite take) isn't quite the same as ignoring the story altogether, is it?
Anti-print media or not, it's reassuring to know Cold, Hard Football Facts isn't immune to the realization that Favre sells newspapers. Saturation coverage is still saturation coverage regardless of the take on it.
CHFF wins the Nonexistent Research Award for missing the boat big time on the strengths and weaknesses of the 1980s Raiders and 1970s Rams, respectively. 
CHFF said the early 1980s Raiders won Super Bowls when statistics said they shouldn't, but those Oakland teams finished near the top of the league in most quality defensive stats. CHFF then singled out former Rams coach Chuck Knox for his top-notch passing game, which is kind of like singling out Patriots NT Vince Wilfork for his chiseled physique. 
Old time Rams fans are still laughing ... or still crying.
CHFF wins the Don't Worry, They'll Never Check Award for claiming to be the "only site in America that didn't rip the Broncos for dumping Jay Cutler in favor of Kyle Orton." 
A certain King of All Football Knowledge quickly pointed out (with evidence) that NFL Fanhouse, Bleacher Report,, and Fox Sports all ran stories back in April that were favorable to the Broncos and Orton. Then again, no one's ever heard of or Fox Sports.
The Thanks For Digging In Award to CHFF for their softball analysis about great quarterbacking. 
Great quarterbacks ALWAYS have great passer ratings. Yep, and fast cars always win races. Tell us why.
The Overlooked Cultural Impact Award to CHFF for letting the Hippies' reverse impact on the 49ers fortunes fly over their head. How did they miss this? 
For continual derisive comments about national treasure Al Gore, CHFF wins the Lack of Respect Award
Gore did invent the internet, after all, kicking off the decline of print media and unwittingly contributing to the rise of websites like Cold, Hard Football Facts. Hell, CHFF is so indebted to Sasquatch they should make him an honorary contributor.
The Misnomer Award to CHFF for their underwhelming categorization of the NFL's great quarterbacks as "game managers."
Brady, Rivers, Roethlisberger, Manning and the like aren't game managers. They're Gamemakers, Playmakers, Studs, Horses, Killers, Heartbreakers  ... anything but friggin' game managers.
For anointing Drew Brees the NFL's best quarterback based on "gaudy stats," CHFF wins the Jumped the Gun Award. 
Since then, Brees came down to earth, as we knew he would based on his career record in December and less than exemplary record in games decided by 7 points or less. CHFF, check the inscription on your Did They Really Say That? Award. Rinse. Repeat.
The We're Only Human Award goes to CHFF for falling victim to overconfidence and hubris only to have it come back and bit them, big time. 
After a stellar week picking games this year, CHFF uttered the dreaded phrases "no brainer," "sure thing," and "we'll lay double digit points the rest of the year" heading into games the following week. 
Anyone who's ever remotely dabbled in the finer arts of prognostication won't find it necessary to check the scores to know how this story ended.
CHFF's willingness to take an early stand based on factual evidence is commendable, and it wins them the Going Out On A Limb Award.  
We'll even overlook the occasionally absurd ramifications of such a strategy, like how The Team That Has No Chance (Pittsburgh) could possibly make the playoffs at the expense of The Only Sure Bet In Football (Denver).
The One-Upped Award goes to CHFF for being dry-gulched by the Ombudsdouche on the subject of the Saints defense. 
CHFF said the Saints were a great defense on the basis of their impressive Defensive Passer Rating and defensive pass completion percentage. 
Then the Ombudsdouche stepped in with the brilliantly researched nugget that only four teams in the history of the NFL since 1960 gave up more points per game than the Saints while achieving similar ratings.
It was at that point the notion of the great New Orleans defense floated away like an open balloon.
The Lost Innocence Award to CHFF and Buggered Boy for their "we're grown up now and too cool" attitude toward ESPN's Chris Berman
At one time you really liked him. Admit it.
For their revisionist history concerning Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, CHFF wins the Weasel Move of the Year Award
Early in the season CHFF named Adrian Peterson the modern-day Jim Brown, only to be strongly cautioned by the sage Ombudsdouche about jumping to conclusions. 
When Peterson disappeared soon after and Titans RB Chris Johnson came on, CHFF quickly anointed Johnson the best in the game and accused "pundits" of jumping to conclusions about Peterson. Hello? Has CHFF no shame? 
Why no, no they don't.
CHFF wins the Let's Put A Little Distance Between Us Award for taking a few steps away from's Peter King the last few months. 
At one time, King was CHFF's self-described "good friend" who helped contribute to their "nifty little relationship" with By midyear King was a dude they barely knew, maybe talked to once or twice. That's cold. Colder than Fidelity firing those four guys for playing fantasy football.
CHFF's pardoning of former Patriots personnel man Scott Pioli wins them the He's Got Pictures on Us Award. 
Apparently, New England's poor talent moves the last few years are all Bill Belichick's fault. The Chief Troll is either better informed than I am of the machinations inside Patriots headquarters or Pioli and his camera partied really heavy with the Chief Troll one night, if you get my drift.
CHFF wins the Abandonment Award for ditching the NFL in favor of the college game. 
You can't fool us. The NFL might pay the bills, but we know where your heart lies. 
Cold, Hard Football Facts also wins the Cheap Bastards Award. I'm doing this for free. That's right. The public (and CHFF) hasn't received this much no-strings-attached knowledge and visionary brilliance since Ben Franklin invented the public library back in the early 1700s. 
(CHFF responds: Maybe we're nitpicking here, but we kind of remember a certain library in Alexandria that was open to the public. But hey, what's a couple thousand years between douches?)
Finally, Cold, Hard Football Facts wins the Walked the Talk Award for their outstanding performance picking games against the spread this season. 
We don't care about CHFF's record straight up, unless they have some light or green beer to wash down that sissy stuff. I haven't picked games straight up since my local television station handed out orange slips of paper and asked me to circle the winners. 
But 57 percent against the spread, that's another story. That's tough, and that's big league. 
It's even more impressive when you consider CHFF didn't pick and choose their spots. Nope, they picked every game on the slate. And in a rare instance where their boasts matched reality, an incredible number of games and scores played out exactly like CHFF forecasted.
(CHFF responds: For the record, we took one game "off the board" in Week 12. So we'll end the year picking 255 of 256 games. Read about why we didn't pick that game here.)
CHFF either met the devil at the crossroads one dark night in late August, pulled some kind of wild and wooly fast one on us, or they're just flat-out good.   
Now, not to rain on the parade, but anyone familiar with picking NFL games against the points knows it's a streaky business. Trends change, teams evolve, and other unpredictable variables arise. You can do exactly what you did last year only to see it all come crashing down in a hurry. 
I put it to CHFF: do it again next year.
But for now, when you prove you can pick games, you've backed up the big talk and silenced your critics. In the only way that matters – on the scoreboard – CHFF proved they know what they're talking about.
CHFF, take a bow. Then drop and give me 20.