NeMesiS Posted January 4, 2007 Share Posted January 4, 2007 Now Tomlinson is better than L.T. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Year-End Awards: Can Tomlinson steal L.T. nickname? Jan. 3, 2007 By Pete Prisco CBS SportsLine.com Senior Writer Tell Pete your opinion! Judge Awards Here's a question to debate as we come out of the NFL season: Who's the better L.T., Lawrence Taylor, the originator of the nickname, or LaDainian Tomlinson, the San Diego Chargers running back who is on his way to winning his first MVP? LaDainian Tomlinson is breaking records and becoming a legend. (US Presswire) Taylor, to me, is the greatest defensive player of all-time. He was a player who revolutionized the game, his fierce style causing offenses to change the way they played. Taylor helped the New York Giants win two Super Bowls, scaring the hell out of opposing quarterbacks along the way and leading us to wonder how good he would have been if it weren't for those off-the-field demons. Never did I think another player would ever do enough to be in the conversation to use the L.T. moniker. It was his forever, right? Tomlinson has changed that. His remarkable 2006 season, in which he scored an amazing 31 touchdowns and once again ran through opposing defenses with the grace of the great ones, is moving him into a class in the Taylor zip code. He's not quite there yet -- how can he be when he's still not considered the best back of all-time by many? -- but it's a lot closer than it was a year ago. For his special season, Tomlinson is my choice as the NFL MVP. Oh, by the way, he led the NFL in rushing with 1,815 yards and also threw two touchdown passes. Tomlinson's winning is a good thing for the NFL. There might not be a less-assuming superstar in the league. He is polite, accommodating, loves his teammates, praises his offensive line and celebrates a score the way the suits at the league office love, by handing the ball to the officials. If Tomlinson can get the Chargers to the Super Bowl, which is a strong possibility since they are the top seed in the AFC, he may become the face of the NFL. If that happens, I just may have to put him side-by-side with Lawrence Taylor. There's only one L.T. in my mind, but come February that could change. Tomlinson or Taylor? Let the debate begin. League MVP: Tomlinson. He's had an amazing season for the best team in the NFL. And he has plenty of good football in front of him. Runners-up: Colts QB Peyton Manning, Saints QB Drew Brees. Offensive Player of Year: Tomlinson. See above. Runners-up: Brees, Manning, Kansas City Chiefs RB Larry Johnson, 49ers RB Frank Gore, Giants RB Tiki Barber. Defensive Player of Year: Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey. He continually plays the toughest position on defense at the highest level. Bailey is in the Deion Sanders class. Runners-up: Bears LB Brian Urlacher, Jaguars DT John Henderson, Dolphins DE Jason Taylor, Eagles S Brian Dawkins. Offensive Rookie: Jaguars RB Maurice Jones-Drew. If you really look at the numbers, he has to be the choice. Titans quarterback Vince Young won some games, but his numbers aren't as good. Runners-up: Young, Patriots RB Laurence Maroney, Saints RB Reggie Bush, Saints WR Marques Colston, Chargers T Marcus McNeil. Defensive Rookie: Texans linebacker DeMeco Ryans. He has been a tackling machine. If he was on a better team, everyone would know him. Runners-up: Lions LB Ernie Sims, Bills S Donte Whitner, Ravens S Dewon Landry, Bears DE Mark Anderson, Raiders S Michael Huff, Packers LB A.J. Hawk, Jaguars LB Clint Ingram, Chiefs DE Tamba Hali. Best free-agent pickup: Brees. And it isn't even close. Runners-up: Vikings RB Chester Taylor, Seahawks LB Julian Peterson. Worst free-agent pickup: It has to be Redskins safety Adam Archuleta. They gave him a big contact and he spent most of the season on the bench. Runners-up: Redskins WR Antwaan Randle El, Seahawks WR Nate Burleson. Coach: Sean Payton, Saints. It was close between Eric Mangini of the Jets and Payton, but since the Saints earned the second seed, Payton takes it. Runners-up: Mangini; Brian Billick, Ravens; Marty Schottenheimer, Chargers; Lovie Smith, Bears. Best assistant coach: Rex Ryan, Ravens defensive coordinator. He has talent, but he also knows how to coordinate the aggressive style. Runners-up: Mike Smith, Jaguars defensive coordinator; Cam Cameron, Chargers offensive coordinator. Most-improved player: Gore. He should be a Pro Bowl player for years to come. Runners-up: Raiders CB Nnamdi Asomugha, 49ers QB Alex Smith, Jaguars LB Daryl Smith, Ravens LB Bart Scott. Comeback player: Chad Pennington, Jets. It would be easy to give it to Brees or Carson Palmer, but neither missed time last season. Their injuries came late. Pennington did, which is why he's the choice. Runners-up: Saints RB Deuce McAllister, Ravens LB Ray Lewis. Biggest surprise: Eagles QB Jeff Garcia. His story is amazing. He played as well as any quarterback in the league the last month. Runners-up: The Saints, Jets and Saints receiver Marques Colston. Biggest disappointment: The Pittsburgh Steelers and Carolina Panthers. They started the season at the top of league, and finished it down way too far. Runners-up: Dolphins, Jaguars, Giants QB Eli Manning, Dolphins QB Daunte Culpepper, Bucs RB Cadillac Williams. Best moment: It happened a long time ago it seems, but the Saints winning that Monday night game against the Falcons in Week 3, the first game back at the Superdome, is still the best moment. Runners-up: Tomlinson breaking the touchdown record; Matt Bryant's 62-yard field goal to give the Bucs a last-second victory over the Eagles; Rob Bironas' 60-yard field goal to give the Titans a victory over the Colts in Week 13. Worst moment: It happened this week when Broncos cornerback Darrent Williams was shot to death. There's nothing on the field worse than that. Runners-up: Albert Haynesworth's despicable foot stomp of Andre Gurode's head; Trent Green's head injury. Best game: Can it be Boise State-Oklahoma? No, it was the Colts-Broncos game from Week 8. The Colts won it 34-31 in a shootout. Runners-up: The Eagles-Panthers game in Week 12, the Eagles-Cowboys game from Week 5 and the Colts beating the Jets in Week 4 on two fourth-quarter drives. Best trend: Last-second kicks -- long ones, too -- to win games. It makes for great theater. Runners-up: Blitzing. It really makes the game more exciting on both sides of the ball; the bad NFC. Worst trend: Too much protection of quarterbacks. Defensive linemen are too scared to make a play. Runner-up: Bad offensive line play. It's improved down the stretch, but it's not really that good. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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