Eric Horowitz, 2007
Granola Bars. Gruesome Injuries. Public Urination. Those are just a few of the many motifs that can be found throughout the PBI’s long and storied history. While those could all be the subjects of lengthy and fascinating Ph.D. theses, there is one motif that stands out above all of them. Sham MVP winners. With the game’s 10-year anniversary upon us, this is the perfect time to take a look back at the five most undeserved MVP awards of all time.
1. Dan “No Humerus” Fulop (2005)
Fulop is one of a select group of athletes who have won MVP awards while they were unconscious. As Fulop was being driven off the field in an ambulance, his elbow at an 86 degree angle to his body, Paul J. Blank stood at midfield and awarded the MVP trophy to the man whose true courage and generosity left him thinking only of how his injury would affect the well-being of his family. Despite all this, most PBI historians view the award as an atrocity. Besides having his elbow dislocated, Fulop did little to distinguish himself on a field full of hungrier players. Is sympathy a good enough reason to give an award? Hopefully someday the greatest ethical minds of our time will come up with an answer.
2. Yossi “Steve Madden” May (2006)
May put up some impressive numbers in 2006, but the game was played in a torrential downpour and he had the unique advantage of wearing cleats. With improved traction he was like a gazelle running amongst slow humans, and that has led many to question the legitimacy of the award. May’s defenders will argue that equipment doesn’t make that much of a difference. After all, in “Terminator 2: Judgement Day” Arnold Schwarzenegger was able to defeat the much more advance T-1000 even though he was an outdated T-101 unit. Unfortunately for May, most people don’t buy the Terminator analogy, and today his award remains so dubious it can’t even get him a free burger at T.G.I Friday’s.
3. Ari “The Wrecking Ball” Jacobovits (2003)
This award was reminiscent of when Alan Page of the Vikings’ “Purple People Eaters” defense took home the 1971 NFL MVP Award. It’s extremely rare for a defensive player to be named MVP, and in awarding the trophy to the defensive minded Jacobovits Blank broke the cardinal rule of sports marketing---“You don’t give big awards to defensive players.” They just don’t sell. You don’t see Phillip Daniels doing cell phone commercials that tear down the 4th wall. You see Peyton Manning doing them. That’s because quarterbacks sell. Grind-it-out defensive players do not, and therefore they can’t be MVPs. There’s no telling how much this decision hurt the PBI’s website traffic.
4. Noah “Morpheus” Zimmerman (2002)
In the PBI’s 2002 edition, Zimmerman accounted for all four of his team’s scores and the class of ‘99 demolished the class of ’02, 30-0. While Zimmerman dominated the game, the talent disparity between the two rosters made it a mismatch of suspicious proportions. Local North Potomac gambling rings even had the class of ’99 as an absurd 17.5 point favorite. Did Zimmerman stack his team in order to secure a 2nd MVP award? We may never know, but the truth could haunt Zimmerman for the rest of his PBI career.
5. Dubi “Dubi” (1999)
Like many Brazilian soccer stars, Dubi decided to go with just one name for the 1999 game. The move paid off when the bruising fullback ran for 100 yards and led his team to a comeback victory. Unfortunately, questions still dog Dubi about his appearance in that game. Questions such as “How old is that guy?”, “What’s his connection to JDS?”, and “Mr. Blank has friends?” They all have their answers, but those answers do not always satisfy the diehard PBI fans.
Eric Horowitz is a regular contributor to SportsIllustrated.com. He is a eight year PBI veteran.