2011 was a year filled with incredible games, outstanding performances, and unbelievable moments. Who and what stood out above the rest? Find out in the 1st ever

Joey Awards!

Who will win a Joey?

Most Outstanding Male Athlete: Packers QB, Aaron Rodgers: In 2011, Aaron Rodgers led the Packers to 17 straight victories. During that time, Rodgers threw for 5,454 yards, 49 touchdowns, and only 8 interceptions. On December 4, the Packers were tied with the Giants with 58 seconds to go. With the ball 80 yards from the goal line, Rodgers completed 24, 27, and 18-yard passes to set up Mason Crosby for a 31-yard field goal to win the game. If Rodgers can keep playing at this level, he can be one of the greatest quarterbacks ever.

 

Most Outstanding Female Athlete: Soccer Player, Abby Wambach: If it weren’t for Wambach, the number one women’s soccer team in the world (U.S.) would have been eliminated from the World Cup in the quarter-finals against Brazil. After a 1-1 tie at the end of regulation, Wambach scored a goal that no one watching could ever forget. Her header in the 122nd minute sent the game into penalty kicks, and Team USA later won. In the semi-finals, Wambach scored again to cement a trip to the finals against Japan. Once again, Wombach scored a go-ahead goal in the 102nd minute, but her efforts weren’t enough with the U.S. falling to Japan in penalty kicks.

Most Outstanding Team: Green Bay Packers: It’s hard to argue with 17 victories (so far) in 2011.

Best Upset: March Madness, VCU Rams: The 11th seeded Virginia Commonwealth Rams shocked the world in March Madness. VCU’s amazing run began by upsetting Georgetown in the first round, but that was only the beginning. VCU went on to defeat Purdue then Florida State to advance to the Elite Eight against the 1st seeded Kansas. VCU didn’t stop there and defeated the Jayhawks to move on to the Final Four in Houston. The Rams finally fell to Butler, but not after orchestrating one of the most unbelievable March Madness runs in memory.

Best Play: Cincinnati Bengals Wide Receiver, Jerome Simpson: He stuck the landing!

Most Exciting Game: Game 6 of the World Series (Cardinals vs. Rangers): See Wild Cards.

Best Sports Movie: Moneyball: I strolled into the dimly lit movie theater not expecting much from Moneyball. When the lights came on after the credits, I was extremely surprised by how much I enjoyed the movie. Brad Pitt handled the role of A’s General Manager, Billy Beane to perfection, Jonah Hill excelled as Peter Brand (based on Paul DePodesta), and Bennet Miller did a wonderful job directing. Unlike Michael Lewis’s book, Moneyball the movie was more of a personal story than a baseball story. Some of my favorite scenes included a hilarious moment just at the trade deadline and a scene where Beane listens to a song his daughter recorded for him. I highly recommend Moneyball to any movie or baseball fan.

Most Embarrassing: San Diego Chargers Kicker, Nick Novak: Just before a 53 yard attempt, the TV camera spots Novak peeing on the sideline.

Best NFL Player: Green Bay Packers QB, Aaron Rodgers: See above.

Best NHL Player: Washington Capitals Left Wing, Alex Ovechkin: Every time Ovechkin steps on to the ice, he puts on a show. Ovechkin has scored 24 points (13 assists and 11 goals) in 33 games in 2011. The Russian won’t let up this season, and could lead the Capitals to the Stanley Cup.

You have to look, but it’s in there.

 

Best NBA Player: Los Angeles Lakers SG, Kobe Bryant: As much as it pains me to admit, Kobe is the best. In fact, the dictionary’s definition for unstoppable is Kobe.

 

Best MLB Player: (Former) St. Louis Cardinals 1B, Albert Pujols: If anybody in baseball deserves Pujols’s $254 million contract, it’s Pujols. In 2011, King Albert hit 36 home runs, drove in 99 runs, and had a .906 OPS. Pujols also helped the Cardinals on defense, getting 1,254 runners out. Pujols stepped up his game in the playoffs, and in Game 4 of the playoffs, Pujols hit 3 home runs, tying a World Series record. I have no doubt that Pujols will continue his superb play in Los Angeles.

Best College Football Player: Baylor Bears QB, Robert Griffin III: From The Heisman Winner is…:

“Robert Griffin III, or RGIII, has been phenomenal this year. He has completed 70% of his passes for about 4000 yards, and has only thrown 6 interceptions. He has also thrown 36 touchdowns. Even though he is a QB, RGIII can run the ball almost as well as he can throw it. He has 644 rushing yards and 9 rushing touchdowns. RGIII is also very clutch. When Baylor was playing OU, RGIII he threw for 479 yards, rushed for 72 yards, and threw 4 touchdown passes including a game winner. RGIII has made the Baylor Bears competitive.”

Most Inspiring: Fennville Blackhawks: After making a game winning buzzer-beater to preserve a perfect season, Fennville Blackhawk basketball player, Wes Leonard collapsed on the court and later died from cardiac arrest. Leonard was only 16 years old. The Blackhawks played with heavy hearts in the regional playoffs and won their region. They later fell to the second best team in Michigan, but the Blackhawks were an inspiration to us all.

2011 was such an amazing year in sports. The games were exciting, the players were impressive and inspiring. We can only hope that 2012 can be half as exciting.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, and Happy New Year!

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