And here’s some background on Page, as borrowed (i.e., plagiarized) from our past write-ups regarding the award.
Alan Page was an undersized but overachieving defensive tackle in
the days of three channels and computers the size of Winnebagos. I was
introduced to him by a book from the NFL’s “Punt Pass and Kick”
library, a ’70s-era not-so-subtle attempt at indoctrinating a
generation of America’s youth.
And it worked.
On the cover of Gamebreakers of the NFL was a picture of Page
old-time spiderweb facemask riding some poor sap from the 49ers to the
ground. Thirty-seven years later, I’ve still got the thing.
He earned a law degree while playing for the Vikings, and became a
practicing attorney after his football career ended in 1981. Eleven
years later, Page was elected to the Minnesota Supreme Court, where he
has served with distinction ever since.
Page remains the best defensive tackle we’ve ever seen, and for his
on-field exploits and post-football success we’ve name the annual award
given to one of the league’s defensive linemen after him.
Last year, the winner was Vikings defensive end Jared Allen. This year, we’ve got to give it to Allen again.
He was at times a beast, notching more than half of his 14.5 sacks in two games. He also scored a safety and a touchdown, forced five fumbles, recovered three, and intercepted a pass.
Along the way, he forced opposing offenses to divert resources toward aiding the effort to keep him from literally roping the quarterback’s legs and tying the carcass to the roof of his truck.
Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney’s heroic effort to get himself ready to play in the Super Bowl earned extra consideration for the veteran lineman, but at the end of the day it was Allen by a nose.
Or maybe we should say by a mullet.