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And the midseason winners are ...

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Posted: Thursday October 22, 1998 11:00 AM


You've waited long enough, so here are my Almost Midseason Awards, honoring the best and worst of the first half of the 1998 season. I know all 30 teams haven't played eight games yet. All I know is baseball is over, hockey has started and basketball is making a big mistake.

Best Coaching Job: Denny Green, Vikings. Green got the contract he deserved. Green didn't blink when it was time to draft Randy Moss. The addition of Moss as the game's best new deep threat has been, dare we say, Super(XXXIII).

Best Coaching Decision in a Bad Situation: Dom Capers, Panthers. Capers acted swiftly in axing Kerry Collins. The Panthers haven't won, but no team members questioned Capers' decision. That alone should buy him another season.

Worst Coaching Decision in a Bad Situation: Norv Turner, Redskins. Not handling the Jeff Hostetler situation better. Super Bowl winning QBs are hard to come by. Every team, especially those that are bottom feeders, needs clubhouse leaders.

Worst Coaching Job: Must have been Kevin Gilbride, Chargers. Stay tuned; there are others in line.

Best Defensive Lineman Headed for the Hall of Fame: Pick 'em. Reggie White, Packers; Bruce Smith, Bills; Chris Doleman, 49ers. All three graybeards are playing like they're in their late 20s.

Not For That Kind of Money Defensive Lineman: Pick 'em. Sean Gilbert, Panthers; Dana Stubblefield and Dan Wilkinson, Redskins. You fill in the blanks.

Best Old Quarterback: Steve Young, 49ers. Six straight 300-yard passing games helps to further get that monkey off his back.

Best New Quarterback: Charlie Batch, Lions. Mr. Freeze would be a great nickname for the best rookie QB in this draft.

Best Rookie other than Randy Moss: Robert Edwards, Patriots. Toughest rookie runner I've seen in years. Must have been those years spent at defensive back.

Best Commercial: "I'm Back" Steve Young and Jerry Rice, 49ers.

Second-Best Commercial: All those Snickers ads. I've been searching the attic for my old electric football game.

Longest Running Commercial: In the shower with "Ironhead" Heyward, ex-Bear, ex-Saint, ex-Falcon, ex-Ram ... Colts should be pretty clean by now.

Too many Commercials: Kordell Stewart, Steelers. More commercials than big plays in 1998.

Most Surprisingly Good Team: Atlanta Falcons. Some glue to hold Chris Chandler together would help.

Most Surprisingly Bad Team: Washington Redskins. Impeach the whole team.

Best Comeback Player: Doug Flutie, Bills. Nine years of CFL highlights.

Remember, it's only midseason, so things could change.

Former All-Pro receiver James Lofton is an NFL analyst for CNN/SI. His weekly column appears every Thursday exclusively on  

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