Welcome everybody to the first annual Barry Awards! Please take your seats.
Before we get to the program, let’s take a brief look at the history behind this most prestigious award. Named after one of the NFL’s all-time greats, ‘The Barry’ will be given to the player who best exemplifies what legendary Lions running back Barry Sanders stood for:
Greatness in the face of failure.
For years, Barry Sanders was the sole beacon of hope for Lions fans. A glimmering light in what was otherwise a dark exercise in paper bag affixation. In what can only be described as a testament to his sheer will or perhaps cruel naivety, Sanders always played hard – racking up record-setting numbers despite sharing the field with the likes of former NFL quarterbacks, and now DMV employees, Scott Mitchell and Erik Kramer.
What makes The Barry Award different from other awards like MVP, Coach of the Year or Defensive Player of the Year, The Barry honors individual player excellence regardless of team success or achievement. Through perseverance and contractual motivation, these players have shown that winning isn’t everything. Or the only thing. Or, even a thing, really. So, let us celebrate these players who have taken one for the team, and in turn, taken it from behind in the first annual Barry Awards:
Qualifying for The Barry requires much more than just prolific statistical achievements. Players will be weighed against criteria that will measure a player’s fortitude, virtue, skill and in general, their ability to withstand a great deal of bad luck. Nominees for The Barry will be judged in these five categories:
Sustained team failure
The player’s team must demonstrate a concerted, long-standing commitment to organizational dysfunction and field-proven incompetence.
High level of character
The player must be a respected member of society and maintain a positive public attitude no matter how depressing their situation.
The player must be viewed as a victim of their situation or circumstance, leading to public sympathy from fans, media and other players alike.
The player must be in complete contrast to the players around them, accomplishing great success despite considerable ineptitude from their teammates.
The player’s individual talent combined with team despair must be transcendent – going from morose to humorous over the course of his career.
And the nominees are:
For his performance in: ‘A stream of consciousness runs through it’
In this indie production set among the lakes of Minnesota, a young man is caught between two worlds colliding. On one end, a head coach battles with symptoms of apparent brain damage, while an over-privileged quarterback becomes embroiled in a case of sexual harassment. Crumbling beneath the weight of it all, Peterson attempts to fake a knee injury in the hopes of getting traded, only to return triumphant with the performance of a lifetime.
For his performance in: ‘My Right Foot’
Lechler delivers a moving performance as a man held captive for years by a deranged dictator. Despite immense talents and all-time great punting accomplishments, Lechler is relegated to anonymity by being kept in solitary confinement. By the time the evil dictator finally passes away, Lechler has already been forgotten about, and spends the rest of his days fading into the abyss of something called “The Black Hole.”
For his performance in: ‘Silence of the Rams’
In this foreign adaptation, Jackson plays a mute football player who shows blind loyalty to those around him. While physically menacing with a large, intimidating stature, Jackson shows his softer side in this role, incapable of speaking his mind while enduring suffering and sadness – culminating in a tragic ending that sees his team ignore the opportunity to be rescued by a savior named Robert Griffin.
For his performance in: ‘No Country for Old Quarterbacks’
In this heart-wrenching tale, Thomas serves as the personal bodyguard for Brandon Weeden, a 73-year old quarterback attempting one last shot in professional football. Thomas discovers however, that his duties extend beyond the norm, and is swayed into diaper changes and preparing prunes for Weeden. Although Thomas initially feels contempt, he eventually grows to love Weeden up until his final days.
And the winner is…
For his performance in: ‘To Kill A Cardinal’
In the end, the academy simply could not ignore the performance given by Fitzgerald in this epic saga of betrayal. Set in a desolate wasteland of retirees, ‘To Kill a Cardinal’ focuses on Fitzgerald’s attempt at reclaiming his former glory. Lured with bribe money and promises to surround Fitzgerald with a team worthy of his leadership and skill, Fitzgerald foolishly decides to stay. But he quickly learns it was all just a ploy to get him to participate in a cruel and disturbing science project in which Joey Harrington clones are being made and sent from Area 51 to play with Fitzgerald. Even more lies and deceit follow as Fitzgerald fights to keep his sanity and from entering a deep state of depression in the desert.