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We here at Sports of Boston are looking back at the year that was in 2009, and will be issuing honors for Boston’s Player of the Year, Game of the Year, and Story of the Year, in the 2009 Sports of Boston Awards Show. In 2008’s inaugural Show, Dustin Pedroia took home Player of the Year honors after his MVP season. Another 5’9″ overachieving player took home the prize this year: Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker.
How good was Wes Welker in 2009? We’ll run through his numbers in a second, but consider this: he won the SoB’s 2009 Player of the Year with the 2009 season not yet complete, and he also missed two games. That’s correct, he won a Player of the Year award based on 13 games of service.
Welker is having a historically efficient season. In just 13 games, he’s already set the Patriots record for receptions with 122 (breaking the team record he set last year). That number is already good for third-best all time in a single season, tying him with Cris Carter (he had 122 catches twice) and Jerry Rice. He needs just two catches to move past Herman Moore for second place on the single-season receptions record list.
If Welker goes absolutely crazy on Sunday against the Texans and he hauls in 22 more catches, he’ll set the single-season record for catches in a season in just 14 games, while it took Marvin Harrison 16 games to catch 143 balls in 2002. When you’re in a record-setting season, I’d say you qualify for a Player of the Year Award.
“While Randy Moss may have the records and paycheck, Wes Welker leads the New England Patriots in receiving yards with just below 1,200, despite having missed Weeks 2 & 3. He has also garnered more than 100 yards in six games during the 2009 season and more than 10 carriers in seven games. Without No. 83, the Patriots would be nowhere near their current 10-5.” – SoB’s Erikk
“Welker missed two full weeks and still is having one of the greatest receiving seasons in NFL history. The Patriots offense would be no where without him.” – SoB’s Jeff
Finishing with two votes each…
“Love him or hate him, Thomas took his unique goaltending style to new heights in ’09. He first won the starting job over Manny Fernandez, then went on to win the league’s Vezina Trophy as the top goaltender, the first Bruin to do it since Pete Peeters 26 years ago. The Bruins may not have gone as far in the playoffs as fans had hoped in the spring, but it was by no fault of the team’s netminder. Thomas’s performance all year long has helped propel the Bruins back to relevance in the Boston sports scene.” – SoB’s Brian
“The outstanding golatending of Tim Thomas was one of the main reasons why the Bruins were able to finsh with the best record in the NHL during the ’08-’09 season. Thomas set career highs in Wins (36) and SV% (93.3) and he led the NHL with a 2.10 GAA (also a career-best). For his efforts, he was awarded the Vezina Trophy, becomng the first Bruin to win the award since Pete Peeters during the ’82-’83 season. With his help, the Bruins made it to the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals, the furthest they had been in the playoffs since ’98-’99.” – SoB’s Pete
“When the team needed him to emerge as a star, he did. During the 2009 playoffs, he continued to throw up triple-doubles and outplay the likes of Derrick Rose and Rafer Alston. He made others around him better with his play and earned a nice contract in the process. He is one of the bright spots for the Celtics future and will keep them going as a favorite for the NBA finals this year.” – SoB’s Teddy
Also receiving votes: Jon Lester (1), Paul Pierce (no votes in final balloting, but he was nominated)