For 44 years the national civic organization known as “The Committee of the 101″ in Kansas City hosts an award program recognizing the very best in the National Football League. They host a black-tie dinner and this year, all proceeds from the event were donated to the Truman Medical Center charitable foundation. It is a veritable “who’s who” of the NFL right in the heart of America every year.
The categories recognized by the 101 are:
AFC Offensive Player of the Year
NFC Offensive Player of the Year
AFC Defensive Player of the Year
NFC Defensive Player of the Year
AFC Coach of the Year
NFC Coach of the Year
Lamar Hunt Award for Professional Football
Also recognized every year are the Derrick Thomas Award for the most valuable Kansas City Chiefs player and the Mack Lee Award for the Chiefs rookie of the year.
All of the awards were announced before hand, but the two Chiefs specific awards aren’t released until the afternoon of the event. Hosted by NFL Network’s Paul Burmeister — who also does the play by play along with Trent Green on the Chiefs preseason games telecasts — it was quite an event, to say the least.
As everyone expected, Jamaal Charles was the Derrick Thomas award for the year. Generating almost 2,000 yards of offense by himself and scoring 19 touchdowns through the air and ground will have that affect. In fact, if it wasn’t for the record breaking season by the Denver Broncos quarterback, Peyton Manning, he would have probably won the AFC Offensive Player of the Year Award as well.
Another familiar face took to the stage though as head coach Andy Reid was named the AFC Coach of the Year. Taking a team in complete disarray from a dismal 2-14 season to 11-5 — including a record breaking 9-0 start — and a playoff berth is cause for some notice. There was talent on this team before Reid took over last January but it wasn’t being utilized. He found a way to do that.
No other Chiefs won the “national” awards as the pass rusher from the Indianapolis Colts, Robert Mathis, took home the AFC Defensive Player of the Year nod.
Being voted the Rookie of the Year was an unlikely candidate in Marcus Cooper. Cooper found his way to the stage in a pretty convoluted way. He was drafted out of Rutgers by the San Francisco 49ers in the seventh-round of last year’s draft and then cut just after the final preseason game. Chiefs general manager John Dorsey saw something in him and brought him onto the Chiefs where he quickly found himself thrust into a starting role due to injuries. Though Cooper had a bit of a downturn toward the end of the season, he finished the 2013 campaign with 44 tackles, three interceptions and a forced fumble. Perhaps his biggest play though was recovering a muffed punt in the endzone against the Tennessee Titans for his first career touchdown. That’s not too shabby for a seventh-round pick.
The final award of the evening, though, went to another familiar face in Kansas City. In 2008, the Committee of the 101 added the Lamar Hunt Award for Professional Football. The award is the pinnacle of the event and given to an individual or entity who embodies the spirit of competition and the NFL. Past winners of the award include Roger Staubach, NFL Films, Monday Night Football, Tony Dungee and the Foolish Club — the original eight owners of the American Football League who were “foolish” enough to go up against the NFL. This year, the Chiefs legendary and Super Bowl winning quarterback Len Dawson was added to that list. Presented by the son of the award’s namesake, Clark Hunt, Dawson was overwhelmed.
Finally, in addition to all the awards, Hunt also had another huge piece of news for the crowd. Legendary Chiefs running back Priest Holmes will be inducted into the Chiefs hall of fame. Holmes, who came to the Chiefs in 2001 as a free agent still has the most rushing yards by a single player at 6,070. Add his 76 rushing touchdowns — including 48 in two seasons — and it’s easy to see why he’ll adorn the ring of honor.
“It is an honor to announce the induction of Priest Holmes into the Chiefs Hall of Fame,” Hunt said. “On behalf of my family and the entire Chiefs organization I would like to congratulate Priest on a remarkable career. As the Chiefs franchise all-time leader in rushing yards, total touchdowns and rushing touchdowns, Priest set a standard for excellence on and off the field during his time in Kansas City. We are grateful for his contributions to the team and the community.”
Arrowhead Addicts congratulates all of the 101 Award winners for 2013, but especially the Committee of the 101 for putting on such a great event and helping a worth cause.