Back in October, I released my Double Valid All-Star teams for both leagues of Major League Baseball. They were so well received (Not a single person complained!), that I decided to do something similar for football. What follows is my NFL Double Valid All-Pro Offense. A double valid, by the way, is a player whose first and last names are valid plays in the popular board game Scrabble.*
Quarterback: Drew Brees, Saints
Sure, it would be better if his name was Drew Breeze, but he still qualifies as a double valid. The word brees is the plural of bree, a chiefly Scottish word meaning “broth, stock, or juice.” So after you’ve sketched pictures of broths, you can say you drew brees. Anyway, as long as Brees keeps putting up 5,000 yard seasons (5,162 this season), he’s going to be the signal caller on this team.
Halfback: Matt Forte, Bears
Matt Forte was undoubtedly the class of the double valid running backs. Frank Gore had a strong year, but nothing like Forte’s. And perennial double valid stalwart Ray Rice has apparently decided to go all Shaun Alexander on everybody. (Flash cut to 2015: Rice is battling LaMichael James for back-up reps behind a 32-year old Gore on the 49ers.) So it’s Forte — with career highs in rushing yards, receptions, receiving yards, and touchdowns — who gets the double valid nod this year.
Fullback: Frank Summers, Bills
Summers is the only choice here. Literally. He’s the only starting double valid fullback in the entire league.
Wide Receivers: Golden Tate, Seahawks; Hakeem Nicks, Giants
A tate, per the Scrabble Dictionary, is “a tuft of hair”, so it’s a shame Golden Tate doesn’t have blond hair to live up to his name. Injuries forced the Seahawks to lean very heavily on Golden this season, and for the most part he’s come through. He doesn’t always put up huge receiving numbers, but he makes up for it by doing stuff like this and this. Also, in my (admittedly biased) opinion, he’s also the best receiver in the league at adjusting to a ball in-flight.
Hakeem Nicks had a disappointing year from an on-field production standpoint (nary a touchdown), but name-wise, he’s still got it. An hakeem is a Muslim physician, so maybe we should start calling him Dr. Nicks. Although … Dr. Nicks? Hopefully he’s not your surgeon.
Tight End: Jimmy Graham, Saints
He’s the best tight end in football, so he’s the obvious pick. Graham had the best year of his career this season, which is crazy when you look at some of his previous years (like, say, 2011). This season, it seemed like he caught a touchdown every game. Technically he didn’t, but he did average a touchdown every game — he put up 16 on the year.
Center: Nick Mangold, Jets
A mangold is a “beet with a large yellowish root; grown chiefly as cattle feed”. Mangold is a big fella named Nick who plays center for the New York Jets. I think Nick Mangold is a pretty good player — he’s a former Pro Bowler and all — but the Jets have such a dearth of talent on offense, who can tell one way or the other?
Guards: Wade Smith, Texans; Rob Sims, Lions
Things went well for neither the Texans nor Lions this year. Two teams with playoff aspirations at the beginning of the season, one finished the season losing 14 straight games, the other, only four. The head coaches of both teams were just fired, and the rate alcoholism among sports fans in both Houston and Detroit has gone up 355% since September.
Surprisingly, however, both the Texans and the Lions had pretty good offensive lines this season (at least they did if you believe the nerds at Football Outsiders). Wade Smith and Rob Sims, each started every game for their respective teams, so, give them some credit, I guess. They’re a couple of decent double valids. Oh, and in case you’re wondering, the word sims is a cut form of simulations.
Tackles: Jordan Gross, Panthers; Guy Whimper, Steelers
According to Wikipedia, a jordan is a chamberpot,** so Jordan Gross has perhaps the most on-point name in the NFL. A jordan is in fact gross. Scattalogical interpretations of his name aside, Jordan Gross had a really good season protecting the blindside of his quarterback and fellow double valid Cam Netwon.
Guy Whimper, on the other hand did not have a really good season. He appeared in just 10 games, and couldn’t crack the starting lineup of a below-average offensive line. But he has the best name in the league and one of the best all-time. That counts for a lot in my book .. or blog, I guess. Whatever the case may be, I want as much Guy Whimper as possible.
Kicker: Matt Prater, Broncos
By making this team, kicking a 64-yard field goal is now Prater’s second best accomplishment this season. If you’re wondering what a prater is, it’s “one who prates”. Obviously.
That’s it. Coming soon: 2013 NFL Double Valid All-Pros, Defense
*Or, if you prefer, Words With Friends. Same word list, basically.
**The Scrabble Dictionary gives the much less more euphemistic definition of “a type of container”.