“Don’t give up, don’t ever give up” Jim Valvano gave a speech in 1993 that left a crowd in tears, and to this day still give me the chills when I hear it. On a night to celebrate Athletic Excellence, Individual, and Team success, a young boy by the name of Jarrius Robertson had the sports world captured as he accepted the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance. Now as entertaining as we all find this young man, I notice his strength, bravery and his unquestioned passion for his favorite team: The New Orleans Saints. I just wanted to be sure to mention Jarrius because he is a great reminder of the words spoken by Jimmy V all those years ago, and they have had profound impact in the lives of many.
As for the other awards, The Green Bay Packers picked up multiple:
Best NFL Player: Aaron Rodgers. Going up against the likes of Superbowl LI MVP Tom Brady, MVP Matt Ryan, and Rookie sensation Ezekiel Elliott. Rodgers came out on top, Winning the award for the 4th time in his career. Now while I’m sure there is much debate, I do feel the voters got this on correct. Athletically gifted, with the ability to seemingly make something out of nothing, and the mental strength to overcome what some would deem insurmountable, Aaron Rodgers demonstrated all of these traits last season. After a 4-6 Start to the season, with top weapons either out due to injuries, or still recovering from past injuries, Aaron proclaimed “I think we can Run the Table” and they did just that! Last season the Leader of The Pack did more with less than any of the previously mentioned candidates, he made a declaration and backed it up, he was the best NFL Player. Congrats Aaron.
Best Comeback Athlete : Jordy Nelson. In my opinion this was one of the easier awards to predict. Obviously Jordy got off to a slower start than most had hoped, but as the Packers started to turn their season around …It was apparent the Jordy Nelson of old was back! After missing the entire 2015 season due to a Torn ACL, suffered in the second game of the preseason against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Nelson bounced back this season with 97 Catches for 1,257 Yards, and piling up an NFL best 14 Touchdown Catches. Bravo Jordy, and Congratulations on the ESPY.
Best Play: Aaron Rodgers to Jared Cook in the Divisional Round. If you missed this play in action, I feel for you because it truly was a magical moment. With just 0:12 remaining, score tied 31-31 in the Divisional round against the Dallas Cowboys. The All-World QB stepped to the line looking at 3rd and 20. As he took the snap Rodgers almost immediately flushed the pocket to his left, stepped up…hesitated, then locked onto his target Cook who was coming across the field. With such ease, and what looked to be a simple flick of the wrist Aaron threw a 36 yard dart on the run and across his body to his intended man Cook. The throw was one of the best I’ve ever seen, but the catch was nothing to sneeze at either. Finding a way to shake free of Safety Byron Jones, secure the catch, and get both feet down in such a small area was awe inspiring,(in fact the initial official ruled the pass incomplete before being overruled) The play would set the Packers up with 0:03 remaining, and a chance to advance to the NFC Championship game with a 51 Yard FG from (K)Mason Crosby. Crosby did hit the kick, although it did look to be heading left, the ball hung on and sailed through the uprights securing the Packers Victory in thrilling fashion! This is a play I won’t soon forget. Congratulations to All of the Green Bay Packers for a great season, and Congratulations on the 2nd Consecutive ESPY for Best Play!
Go Pack Go!