Tonight's NFL Honors awards show could have a heavy Dallas Cowboys flavor to it. Several Cowboys, past and present, have a strong chance of hearing their names called as the NFL recognizes 2017 standouts and announces the next crop of Hall of Fame inductees.
The awards show will air at 8:00 pm EST on FOX. Comedian and actor Keegan-Michael Key of “Key & Peele” fame will serve as host.
While several different media entities have their own annual awards for pro football, the Associated Press awards are the only ones recognized by the NFL as official. Those AP awards are what you will hear announced tonight.
Here is a quick rundown of what Cowboys fans could be interested in:
- Offensive Player of the Year – Ezekiel Elliott stands a solid chance of taking this award. With the Falcons' Matt Ryan likely to be named Most Valuable Player, Elliott's league-leading production at running back could get him recognized here. DeMarco Murray won it for his big season in 2014. Elliott's competition will be all quarterbacks; Matt Ryan, Drew Brees, and Aaron Rodgers.
- Offensive Rookie of the Year – This one will almost certainly go to Elliott, who had the third-most rushing yards ever for a rookie. If Zeke were not to win it, the good news is that it means teammate Dak Prescott would almost certainly be the alternative.
- Coach of the Year – As I discussed recently, Jason Garrett has the best case for this award. He led his team over tremendous obstacles and yet still had the best record in the NFC. There are other compelling candidates, but I will be very disappointed if Garrett doesn't get the recognition he deserves.
- Hall of Fame: Jerry Jones – This will be Jerry's first time on the ballot and he is widely expected to be named for his enormous contributions to growing the NFL brand.
- Hall of Fame: Terrell Owens – The former Cowboys receiver has a first-ballot resume in terms of his statistics, but he was not chosen last year when he became eligible. Owens' personality and problematic history with multiple franchises cost him a first-ballot selection. He is a finalist once again and hopefully the voters are done taxing him.
Tonight will mark the sixth NFL Honors show. Since it began, the Cowboys haven't had many representatives. We already mentioned DeMarco Murray's 2014 win. The only other Cowboy winner has been Jason Witten, who was named the Walter NFL Payton Man of the Year in 2012 for his off-field work with charities and volunteer efforts.
Will this 2016 NFL Honors mark a new trend of increased Cowboys involvement? We certainly hope so!