Wednesday, January 05, 2011


2010 was a bit of an off year for Boston sports. The Celtics made the NBA Finals, but lost to the Lakers. The Bruins blew a 3-0 series lead to Philadelphia. The Patriots were unceremoniously dismissed from the playoffs by the Ravens. And the Red Sox failed to make the playoffs.

However, the year seems to be ending on a high note. The Celtics remain one of the premier teams in the NBA. The Red Sox made some big moves. And the Patriots went 14-2, clinching the #1 seed in the AFC playoffs.

The BBS Award nominees and winners are determined solely by me. And they cover the calendar year. Here is a list of the Awards, along with their 2009 recipients:

Frazee Award for Goat of the Year (Adalius Thomas)
Shaughnessy Award for Worst Sportswriter (Michael Holley)
A-Rod Award for Biggest Choke/Disappointment (Red Sox' offense)
Varitek Award for Most Overrated Athlete (David Ortiz)
Flutie Award for College Athlete of the Year (Brad Thiessen)
Orr Award for Bruins Player of the Year (Marc Savard)
Bill Russell Award for Celtics Player of the Year (Rajon Rondo)
Bledsoe Award for Patriots Player of the Year (Wes Welker)
Ted Williams Award for Sox Player of the Year (Jon Lester)
Tom Brady Award for Biggest Surprise Out of Nowhere (Sebastian Vollmer)
Bloody Sock Award for Toughness (Mark Herzlich)
Game of the Year (BU Wins NCAA Hockey Final)
Auerbach Award for Executive/Coach of the Year (Peter Chiarelli)
Lifetime Achievement Award (Gene DeFilippo)
Athlete of the Year (Wes Welker)
Team of the Year (BU Hockey)



This isn't the happiest Award to give out. The Celtics and Bruins were knocked out by rivals in heartbreaking Game 7s. The Red Sox were irrelevant, and the Patriots haven't won anything truly significant yet. So who gets Team of the Year for 2010? The one team that won a national title.

BC Hockey.

BC Hockey started 2010 slow, losing two games in the Denver Cup, then losing an outdoor meeting with BU at Fenway. Then in February, they exploded. They won the Beanpot, stormed through the Hockey East Tournament, then ripped through the NCAAs. They won their last 9 games, scored 24 goals in their 4 NCAA games, 21 goals in their 4 Hockey East tourney games (that's 5.6 goals per game in their last 8). They finished their season on a 17-2-1 run.

They were also 13-5-0 in the opening phase of the 2010-11 season, tied for the top spot in Hockey East, and ranked 3rd in the country.


Despite the failures of our teams, there have been some sensational individual performances. Here are the nominees for Athlete of the Year...

Rajon Rondo - PG, Boston Celtics
Clay Buchholz - SP, Boston Red Sox
Adrian Beltre - 3B, Boston Red Sox
Tom Brady - QB, New England Patriots

The winner is...

Tom Brady

What can you say about this guy that hasn't already been said? I'm just going to quote the man himself.

"Most Valuable Player in a team sport really doesn't make a lot of sense. I can understand most valuable golfer or something like that… The only award I care about is a Super Bowl ring."

Doesn't that say it all? I won't glorify him, or use the phrase "consummate team player." He wants to win. Maybe he only wants to win for himself. But he's smart enough to know that he can't win on his own. That being said, he'll do everything he can to win.

He's not as fast as Rondo, not as strong as Beltre. In a decathlon, I'd take 95% of Boston pro athletes over him. But when it comes to applying God given talent, along with hard work, dedication, and focus, there's nobody superior in the world to Brady.


This goes to someone who has amassed a lifetime of accomplishments. And this year, for the first time, I'm awarding it to an athlete, not a coach or executive. The 2010 winner is Mark Recchi.

He's only been with the Bruins for 2+ years, but when you look at Recchi's career as a whole, it's simply astounding. 570 goals, 938 assists, 56 playoff goals, 77 playoff assists.

He's played in 1,609 NHL games, which is 9th most all-time. For other sports, that devalues a player's stats, as there's the belief that they're hanging around, accumulating numbers. But you can't just hang around in the NHL. Not only do you have to earn playing time, you have to pay for it in bumps, bruises, and big hits. Recchi's 42, and still playing 16 minutes a night.

Sixteen 20+ goal seasons, seven 30+ goal seasons, four 40+ goal seasons.

He's 20th all-time in goals, 14th in assists, 13th in points, 16th in game-winning goals, he's put together a more than respectable career. He's a Hall of Famer.


This goes to the off-field person who contributed the most to their team's on-field success. Believe it or not, two Bruins have won this Award. There really doesn't need to be a list of nominees for this Award, because we know who's going to win it.

It's Bill Belichick.

This guy traded Randy Moss in the middle of a season, then won 11 of 12 games. This guy was the head coach, the offensive coordinator, and the defensive coordinator. He's developed a young defense into a ball hawking group of playmakers. He's engineered an offense that's scored the most points in the NFL, nearly 5 more per game than any other team.

The guy simply gets things done.


This goes to the most exciting, entertaining, important game of the year in the Boston sports world. It was an off year for Boston sports, so don't expect many of the nominees to be big wins. While there were some nice victories out there, they were often followed by heartbreaking defeats. Here are the nominees...

1/1 - Bruins 2, Flyers 1 (OT) - Winter Classic
4/21 - Bruins 3, Sabres 2 (OT) - Conference Quarterfinals
5/7 - Flyers 5, Bruins 4 (OT) - Conference Semifinals
5/13 - Celtics 94, Cavaliers 85 - Conference Semifinals
5/14 - Flyers 4, Bruins 3 - Game 7
6/17 - Lakers 83, Celtics 79 - NBA Finals, Game 7
10/17 - Patriots 23, Ravens 20 (OT)
10/26 - Celtics 88, Heat 80 - Opening Day
11/7 - Browns 34, Patriots 14
11/10 - Bruins 7, Penguins 4

See, there's not much positive here. The Bruins and Celtics ended their seasons in close Game 7 losses. The biggest wins for all four teams were regular season contests, or playoff games that only built up the feeling of loss when our teams ultimately failed.

I'm going to pick the Patriots' 23-20 OT win over the Ravens.

This was the Pats' first game without Randy Moss. They were playing a 4-1 team that had eliminated from the playoffs a few months prior. Nobody had any idea what to expect.

This was Danny Woodhead's introduction to the NFL. He'd contributed in wins over Buffalo and Miami. But this was his first truly big game. He ran for 63 yards on 11 carries, and caught 5 passes for 52 yards. Little did we know that this would become a pattern, not a flash in the pan.

Then there was Deion Branch. This was his first game back with the Patriots. All he did was catch 9 passes for 98 yards and a touchdown.

Little did we know how much these guys would end up contributing. Little did we know that the 11 3rd down stops the defense made, and the 2 Red Zone stops, would be the sign of things to come.


This Award typically goes to an athlete that fought through injuries, or severe adversity. Someone who displayed an almost inhuman ability to tolerate pain. Just think about JD Drew and Jacoby Ellsbury. This Award goes to guys who are the opposite of them.

The winner this year is...

Wes Welker

In a way, the Patriots' 2009 campaign ended when they lost Wes Welker. And surprisingly, the 2010 season started with him ready to go. I remember how pumped he was after catching his first ball of training camp. How he darted with all the elusive alacrity of a minnow on speed.

He didn't have his best year as a Patriot, but you could do a lot worse. 86 receptions for 848 yards and 7 touchdowns. He was 1 shy of matching his career high TD mark. And the only game he missed was #16, when the Patriots decided to finally rest the man recovering from torn ACL and MCL injuries.

Guys like Wes Welker have character. They exemplify the whole "mind over matter" thing. They live to compete, to play, to win.


This goes to someone who wasn't expected to do much, only to do quite a bit. This year's nominees are...

Clay Buchholz - SP, Boston Red Sox
Nathan Horton - RW, Boston Bruins
Danny Woodhead - RB, New England Patriots
BenJarvus Green-Ellis - RB, New England Patriots
Rob Gronkowski - TE, New England Patriots

The winner is...

Danny Woodhead

The reason he wins the Award is because he truly came out of nowhere. A Division II "star" cut by the Jets, then signed by the Patriots. We all thought that the Pats hired him as sort of an informant, because he was acquired the week of the Jets game. Pay a guy an NFL wage for a week, he tells you all about the team you're about to play, then you cut him. Cutthroat Bill Belichick at his finest.

926 total yards from 131 touches (7.1 yards per), and who is he now? He's one of the key cogs to the Patriots' dynamic offense. And a few months ago, he was dropped by the Jets so they could activate David Clowney.


The Red Sox' offseason was much more entertaining than their regular season. They were pretty bad in 2010. But there were some bright spots. Here are the nominees...

Adrian Beltre - 3B
Jon Lester - SP
Clay Buchholz - SP
David Ortiz - DH

And the winner is...

Clay Buchholz

Buchholz emerged as an elite pitcher in 2010. He was 17-7 with a 2.33 ERA. He finished 6th in Cy Young voting, had the 2nd best ERA in the American League and 3rd best in baseball. He and Lester kept this team close to contention, claiming 36 of the Red Sox' 89 wins. Hopefully, Buchholz and Lester will be the base of the 2011 rotation, which features question marks like Beckett and Matsuzaka.


This goes to the Patriots best player. I think you might be able to guess who'll win it this year. The nominees...

Tom Brady - QB
Jerod Mayo - ILB
BenJarvus Green-Ellis - RB
Devin McCourty - CB

The winner is...

Tom Brady

I had the other three as nominees as honorable mentions for their terrific seasons. Mayo led the NFL in tackles, Green-Ellis ran for 1,000+ yards, and McCourty finished 2nd in INTs.

Anyway, back to Mr. Brady. He led the NFL with a 111.0 QB Rating. He was only 4th in completion percentage, and 8th in yardage, but his accuracy cannot be questioned with only 4 picks, and his effectiveness is not in doubt with a league leading 36 TDs.

Brady is the centerpiece of an offense that changed mid-season into one that distributed the ball to multiple targets from multiple positions. Only 18 of Brady's 36 touchdowns were caught by wide receivers. The rest went to tight-ends (17), and Danny Woodhead (1).

Brady finds the open man like nobody else in the NFL, and he delivers the ball to that man with unmatched precision.


Another simple Award. The Celtics' best player in the 2010 calendar year wins this one. The nominees...

Paul Pierce - SF
Kevin Garnett - PF
Rajon Rondo - PG

And the winner is...

Rajon Rondo

The guy makes plays. He's averaging 13.5 assists per game this season, which tops the NBA, by nearly 3 assists per game. He's the reason Ray Allen gets open looks. He's the reason the Celtics get contributions from so many other guys. He's not the Tom Brady of the Celtics, more like the Drew Brees. He's developed from a young, raw talent into a legit NBA star.


This is a pretty simple Award to explain. It goes to the Bruins' best player. Here are the nominees...

Milan Lucic - LW
Tim Thomas - G
Patrice Bergeron - C
Zdeno Chara - D
David Krejci - C

And the winner is...

Tim Thomas

It's true, Thomas didn't do much in the first half of the 2010 calendar year. But in the second half, he's carried the Bruins on his back. Without him, they'd be hovering around 10th place in the East, with a struggling offense, and an inconsistent defense.

This season, he leads the NHL with a 1.80 GAA, 0.22 lower than 2nd place. His .945 SV% is also atop the League, and his 5 shutouts are tied for the most in the NHL. He's 18-4-5, trailing a few guys in the Wins column, but those guys also have more Losses. He's the best goalie in the NHL so far, and he's the biggest reason the Bruins are where they are.


This Award goes to the athlete that performed the best, but also did so on the biggest stages. In other words, the Williams soccer team will likely never have a winner of this award, while BC and BU athletes have claimed most of these. The nominees for this year are:

Montel Harris - RB, Boston College Football
Luke Kuechly - LB, Boston College Football
Cam Atkinson - F, Boston College Hockey
John Muse - G, Boston College Hockey

And the winner is...

Luke Kuechly

You may have never heard of him, but he's a big deal. He led the country in tackles with 170 (101 solo), and was a consensus First Team All-American, BC's first since Mike Cloud in '98. He won ACC Player of the Week 4 times this season, and was one of the primary reasons that BC finished the year with the 19th best scoring defense in the country. He's only a sophomore, and the sky is the limit for this kid.


This goes to the Boston athlete that was praised just a bit too much. Maybe they were good, but folks here thought they were all-time great. Here are the nominees:

Ray Allen - G, Boston Celtics
Daniel Bard - RP, Boston Red Sox
Jonathan Papelbon - RP, Boston Red Sox
Tuukka Rask - G, Boston Bruins

And the "winner" is...

Tuukka Rask.

It was amazing how some Bruins fans turned on Vezina winner Tim Thomas, and how quickly they crowned Tuukka Rask as the Norse god of goaltending. While Rask clearly outplayed Thomas last season, and earned his spot in net for the 2010 playoffs, he failed to come through in the post-season.

If Bruins fans, and the Bruins front office had their way, Thomas would have been traded in the off-season, with Rask cemented as the #1 goalie. In retrospect, that might have been one of the most painful things to happen to Bruins fans, and that's saying something.


This is one of the most loosely defined BBS Awards. It can go to a player, a coach, a team. It can go to a game, or just one play. It's awarded to the biggest "snatch defeat from the jaws of victory" person/event of the year. But it can also be given to someone or something that just didn't live up to expectations. Here are the nominees...

Patriots playoff loss to Ravens
Red Sox bullpen
Bruins blow 3-0 lead to Philly
Celtics can't finish off Lakers

And the winner is...

The Bruins blowing a 3-0 series lead to the Flyers.

Bruins fans have endured pain, but this was unprecedented. After roaring to a 3-0 series lead over the Flyers, the Bruins became only the 3rd NHL team, and 4th in all sports, to blow such a lead. Not only that, but they were up 3 goals to none in Game 7. And the game-winning goal came on a power play, which was awarded because the Bruins had too many men on the ice. This collapse redefined choking.

That's all I have to say about that.


This goes to the most annoying, condescending, pious, irritating, arrogant, and generally unlikeable sports writer of the year. And this year, it's going to the guy who still refuses to give Bill Belichick credit for anything:

Ron Borges of the Boston Herald

Ever since the rise of Tom Brady, Borges has despised Bill Belichick. He even didn't give Brady much of a chance until he won the Super Bowl. This is a nice gem from this season, in a column titled: "Randy Moss trade another blown call by Belichick."

"Take away the Patriots from Bill Belichick and what is he? A gym teacher with better jewelry, no disrespect to gym teachers intended. So how does he sell this latest fire sale to his players? Good luck."

The Patriots are 10-1 since that "blown call." And what's so funny about this is that Borges argued that Moss was washed up when the Pats' first acquired him. Talk about selling low and buying high.

In the whole "Team of the Decade" debate before the last Super Bowl, Borges lobbied for the Colts because:

"The Colts have won more regular-season games this decade than the Patriots, won more consecutive games this decade than the Patriots, made the playoffs more often this decade than the Patriots (9-8), reached the playoffs more consecutive years than the Patriots (eight straight) and if they win Sunday will trail them by only one Super Bowl victory this decade."

Borges would be tolerable if he could let go of his anti-Belichick grudge. But he can't. He's more negative-minded than Shaughnessey. And if you disagree with him, you're "drinking the cool aid," or pledging "In Bill We Trust."

Borges can't even admit "I hate Belichick, but respect him as a coach." I've got friends who are Steelers fans, Jets fans, Dolphins fans, Eagles fans, and they all admit to despising Belichick, but also concede that he is a phenomenal coach. Why can't Borges do that?


This Award is named after former Red Sox owner Harry Frazee, who sold Babe Ruth and many more talented players to the Yankees in order to finance his stupid Broadway plays. Basically, this Award is given to the biggest villain in Boston sports. Here are the nominees:

Josh Beckett - SP, Boston Red Sox
Jonathan Papelbon - RP, Boston Red Sox
Randy Moss - WR, New England Patriots
Laurence Maroney - RB, New England Patriots
Claude Julien - Coach, Boston Bruins

And the winner is...

Randy Moss, formerly of the Patriots.

After the initial backlash of the Moss trade, the Patriots went on to win 10 games. Moss, on the other hand, has only caught 18 passes during his time with the Vikings, then the Titans. In Boston, Moss went from a victim, to the villain, as fans started to blame him for the Patriots' struggles, and credited their recent success to his departure. And despite all he did for the Pats, especially in '07, he did turn into a monster at the end. He demanded a contract extension, took plays off, and in the end, didn't want to be here.

And now, he wishes he were here. But he's not welcome.