In just over three weeks, the movie industry will celebrate its greatest achievements of the past year. In just over 24 hours, the National Football League will hold its own industry-award extravaganza.
The Academy Awards ceremony, going on its 85th year, is slated for Monday, January 24. The football equivalent, known as the "NFL Honors Award Show" hasn't been around nearly as long – last year was it's rather successful debut – but it's just as exciting, especially for those who would rather spend three hours at the stadium than two at the cineplex.
The second annual NFL Honors show will air on Saturday night, February 2, beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET. It will be held at the Mahalia Jackson Theatre in New Orleans – once again pairing up with the site of the Super Bowl after taking place in Indianapolis last year – and will be broadcast by CBS. The award-show feel extends all the way to the podium; 2010 Oscars co-host Alec Baldwin will emcee the NFL Honors proceedings just as he did last year.
The two-hour show centers around a long list of honors from the 2012 season, some chosen by the media and some voted on by fans at NFL.com. Among the most prestigious Associated Press trophies to be handed out are the Most Valuable Player award, the Offensive and Defensive Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year awards and the Coach of the Year award. Those honors that were determined by fan vote include Rookie of the Year, Air and Ground Player of the Year and Play of the Year.
There are plenty of reasons for Buccaneer fans to tune in, as some of Tampa Bay's brightest stars may be joining Baldwin on the stage. The following Buccaneer players and representatives are up for awards on Saturday night:
- General Manager Mark Dominik is one of two finalists for the Salute to Service Award, presented by USAA. The league partners with USAA to hand out the annual award in order to recognize excellence in appreciation of military service carried out by NFL coaches, players and staff. Dominik has been nominated for the award two years in a row and has already been significantly honored by being chosen as a finalist.
- RB Doug Martin is one of five nominees for Rookie of the Year, as voted on by fans on NFL.com. Martin's competition includes fellow running back Alfred Morris and a trio of big-name quarterback newcomers in Robert Griffin III, Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson. Martin led all rookies with 1,926 yards from scrimmage in 2012, the third-highest total ever in a debut season, and scored 12 touchdowns.
- Martin and LB Lavonte David are also considered strong candidates for the AP's Offensive and Defensive Rookie of the Year awards, respectively. David started every game for Tampa Bay at weakside linebacker and led the team with 139 tackles, placing him among the top 10 of all NFL players in 2012. His 20 tackles for loss were the most by a rookie and third most by any player behind Defensive Player of the Year front-runners J.J. Watt and Von Miller.
- Finally, both Ronde Barber and Eric Wright have a chance to take home the trophy for "Play of the Year." There are 20 impressive moments from 2012 that could win that honor, including memorable interceptions by the Bucs' two cornerbacks. Barber was nominated for his shoestring interception and touchdown return against Kansas City in Week Six while Wright picked up a bid for his winding pick-six against the New York Giants in Week Two. This one was also voted on by the fans.
So tune in to CBS on Saturday night to see if any Buccaneers get their own Oscar moments.