In less than a week, Americans will decide who the next leader of the free world will be, but in between all the election hoopla, has anyone realized that the NFL regular season is halfway through?

In less than a week, Americans will decide who the next leader of the free world will be, but in between all the election hoopla, has anyone realized that the NFL regular season is halfway through?

Where are our priorities, people?

In honor of the great debate, I’ve decided to hold my own version of the election, but rather than have it involve Republicans and Democrats, this one pertains to linemen and quarterbacks. It’s time to hand out some midseason NFL awards, according to the popular vote and the Erik K. Horne “Electoral College.”

For midseason MVP, the popular vote would go to New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees for his aerial assault on the league, but the Electoral College would select the New York Giants’ Eli Manning. Brees ranks in the top three in the league in passing yards, completion percentage, completions and touchdowns, but all the Saints have to show for it is a 4-4 record in the NFC South. Yes, Manning has a better supporting cast on defense and, yes, Brees has had to deal with his far share of injuries on offense (Reggie Bush, Jeremy Shockey), but Eli is quietly having a better season than his big brother Peyton, a perennial MVP candidate himself. The youngest Manning has thus far compiled the best regular season quarterback rating of his five-year career (88.9) while leading his Giants to the top of the NFL’s best division.

It’s been Eli, not Tony Romo that’s been the best in the NFC East following an offseason that was overrun with Cowboys talk. We’ll get to America’s Team in a bit.

The people would choose Tennessee’s Jeff Fisher for the midseason Coach of the Year award, but the Electoral College would go with Oakland’s Lane Kiffin – yes, he with the 5-15 career record with the Raiders. Fisher is currently the NFL’s longest tenured coach and his Titans are the last standing undefeated team, but Kiffin receives this distinction for the manner in which he handled the constant threats from Raiders’ owner Al Davis, who made a mockery of a great franchise with his public lambasting and slander of the 33-year-old.

The final straw was Davis holding a press conference to show off a letter he wrote to Kiffin. Rather than expose Kiffin for his alleged insubordination, Davis exposed himself as someone who has been lapped by the 21st century NFL, as well as someone who still loves a projector just as much as a high school science teacher.

The midseason Team of the Year would probably be the Titans or the Buffalo Bills in the people’s eyes, but what team has provided us with more joy/sadness/befuddlement/disappointment than the Cowboys? Naturally, the Electoral College would pick America’s Team strictly for the way they have captivated the nation. From Adam “Pacman” Jones, to the nation’s most significant pinkie, the Cowboys have been “must-see TV” since the preseason.

What started as a once-a-week HBO series entitled “Hard Knocks” should have been extended into a full-season reality TV show named “The Twilight Zone”. Unfortunately the name was taken.
What makes the Cowboys the midseason Team of the Year is that despite tons of injuries, questions under center and the inevitable T.O. rant waiting to happen, the second half of the season allows them some upside. The bye week welcomes back Terrence Newman, Felix Jones and possibly Romo from injury, the team gets back-to-back games against NFC West teams at home in weeks 12 and 13 and new acquisition Roy E. Williams will be more acclimated to the offense.

Yes the ’Boys will have six of their last eight games against teams with winning records, but this is what makes them so exciting to watch. Dallas is the midseason Team of the Year because of what they can be, not what they have been so far. America loves to see its best get knocked down and come back with resilience. What better team to do so than the Cowboys, a now unlikely underdog in the NFC East?

Manning. Kiffin. Cowboys. Names on the backburner at the midseason break who have won my vote. It’s the parody of the NFL at its finest. CNN, MSNBC and FOX can’t top the NFL for election-year insanity.

Erik K. Horne,
(580) 221-6522