Written by Josh Farnsworth
Images by Hubba Kimbrel
The Rookie Index – SFLm Regular Season Awards
Season 3 of the SFLm is fully in playoff mode after a stirring nine-week run. With the playoffs providing us some quality drama, we all have front row seats to some who will soon be the Class of 17 rookies. If you are one of them, here is a short list of unsolicited tips from someone who went through the process last year… Talk to owners. And talk some more. Maybe avoid 2 a.m. questions about team culture – or at least wait until the next morning, but keep talking at reasonable hours. Talk in general chat. We want to get to know you. (2 a.m. rule stands for this tip, too). Embrace the content. If you are reading this, congrats! You are embracing well. Don’t let the mock drafts stress you out. They are fun. Let your player tape those bad mocks to the mirror like Stallone in Rocky IV and motivate him/her. Talk to Ashley Jackson. I don’t have much of a “tip explanation” here. She is just awesome, really. One saying you may have heard from others is to not take your SFLm stats for draft gospel. Owners and general managers are looking for so much more than stats. Yes, your build is important and weekly check-ins are key. They are not everything. Your personality counts. What you want to get out of the league counts. But let’s take a moment (and a well-written, glorious column) to celebrate the top performers on the field in Season 3. Here is the Rookie Index’s own SFLm regular season awards. Feel free to pretend as you read this that there is a large awards gala happening (red carpet treatment, celebrities, the whole nine yards) and Tom Hanks is presenting you large golden trophies. Go ahead. This is your moment, SFLm award winners.
And the winners are…
Offensive Player of the Year
Douglas Brown/RB/Albuquerque Atoms
Go ahead and give Mr. Brown the hardware. The running back checks all the boxes on a dominating season, leading the SFLm in rushing by more than 400 yards and found the end zone 21 times. For perspective, no other player had more than nine. Twenty-one. Yikes. He was the driving offensive force for the Atoms, who finished 8-0 as someone who finished strong. Brown also showed up strong in big moments during their undefeated run as well. He wasn’t half bad in the passing game. Roll out the radioactive-green carpet. Kudos, Douglas.
Defensive Player of the Year
Dante Grimm/SS/Albuquerque Atoms
The defensive award is a much, much, much closer race. Determining a winner comes down to what you value most. Plenty of respect to pass around: Derek Williams (Lexington), Justin Reside (Ottawa), Myles Gibson and Zed Markov (Memphis) and Robert Krohn (San Jose) all have major cases. The Grimm Reaper (I have not officially found out if he likes this nickname, so if you are reading and dislike, how about The Gimmulator? I’ll keep workshopping it) did just enough to earn the Rookie Index bump. Grimm registered 72 total tackles (5th in the league), one sack, two INTs, eight PDs (4th in the league) and made some clutch plays throughout the season. I don’t want to put too much stock in the fact he also played for the 8-0 Atoms, but hard to skip that bullet point. Congrats Dante’s Inferno. (Too much??)
Special Teams Player of the Year
Paw T. Pawtai/K/Tacoma Grizzlies
Opportunity is vital. The Grizzly kicker converted 14 of 15 field goals on the season. Several of those kicks kept Tacoma in ballgames. The other three kickers in the league only had 16 attempts combined. Yes, Pawtai is the only kicker with a miss, but showed strong consistency from several distances. Those opportunities kept coming. Paw kept burying pigskin in the net. Thank that Tacoma offense for getting within range enough.
Opportunity is a beautiful thing.