All posts by Bryan Frye

History of the Career Receiving Touchdowns Record

I’ve written several histories of NFL career records, but the history of the career receiving touchdowns record is the most fascinating to me. Twelve men held the receptions title, and eleven held the receiving yards record. Seven different players held the record for rushing yards and for rushing touchdowns. Eleven quarterbacks held the passing yardage crown, while ten captured the touchdown title. This record is different. Thanks, primarily, to Don Hutson and Jerry Rice, only four players have held the record for receiving touchdowns since…

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2018 GridFe Awards

With the full 2018 season in the rear view, it’s time to hand out some awards. As always, I include postseason performance when deciding on awards, but my rule is this: the postseason can only help.1 In general, I lean toward players who played the entire season. However, I will make exceptions for those who missed a few games but either produced at such a high level that I had to include them or played as many snaps as those who played in all sixteen…

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Bryan’s 2018 All Pro Team

I am not the sole proprietor of The GridFe, so I don’t want to call this the GridFe All Pro Team. The players and coaches I have selected are my own choices, and they are often at odds with the picks of my fellow contributors. This is my all pro team. There are many like it, but this one is mine. I base my selections on traditional and advanced stats, film study, and my own futile attempts at properly applying context to each player’s season.…

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Automatic Awards 1920-2017

Named in honor of Automatic Otto Graham, the Automatic Award goes to the most valuable player in the league each season. Given the value of passing for most of NFL (and AFL and AAFC) history, this award will almost always go to a quarterback. He touches the live ball more than any other player, has by far the largest impact on the outcome of his team’s success, and mans arguably the most important position in team sports.1 By and large, I am going to give…

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Godzilla Awards 1940-2017

With its name taken from Lawrence Taylor‘s college appellation, the Godzilla Award is bestowed annually upon the top defensive player in the league. Stats are relevant, of course, but they require context. For example, in 2006 Shawne Merriman led the league with 17 sacks. He did that while playing for Wade Phillips and getting a ton of relatively easy paths to the quarterback. Jason Taylor had only 13.5 sacks, but he did it primarily by beating his blocker and padding his box score on his own…

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Sweetness Awards 1920-2017

Named after the most well-rounded offensive weapon in history, Walter Payton, the Sweetness Award is presented to the top offensive player in the league each year. The the chagrin of some, this is going to focus pretty heavily on statistical production, which often limits the chances of the big fellas up front from getting their deserved recognition. Sweetness Awards from 1920 to 1931 rely on spotty records and a mountain of hagiography. We can’t know for sure if Benny Friedman really led the league with…

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World Awards 1920-2017

Called such in honor of perhaps the greatest football player of all time, Jerry Rice, the World Award is reserved for the most outstanding player in the league each season. Don’t confuse this with the most valuable player award, which is almost always a quarterback. This award is for the best player, without respect to position. The award is a difficult one to bestow, because it means I am counting all positions as equal and trying to determine who played his position better than other…

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Genius Awards 1920-2017

Named in honor of San Francisco 49ers offensive innovator and organizational mastermind Bill Walsh, the Genius Award goes to the top head coach every season. For many publications, the coach of the year award doesn’t seem to have any concrete set of criteria. The qualifications are often nebulous and internally inconsistent, and far too much credit is given for simple reversion to the mean. Oftentimes, the media and public at large establish a set of expectations for a team, assume those expectations were correct, and…

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Gray and White Awards 1939-2017

Named in honor of Mel Gray and Billy “White Shoes” Johnson, the Gray and White Award goes to the top return man in the league each season. I do not separate punt return and kick return contributions, so I occasionally have to choose between the best kickoff returner and the best punt returner. Often, players will be so good at their jobs that they make the choice easy. Other times, there will be two players who are good at one or the other, but I…

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TD Awards 1960-2017

The TD Award is named in honor of 49ers great Tommy Davis and goes to the top punter in the league each season. People have vastly different opinions on what makes a great punter. Historically, people would just look at gross punting average and call it a day. It became popular to say Sammy Baugh was the great of all time, ignoring the fact that he frequently punted on third down to a defense with no returner to stop the ball from rolling and augmenting…

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