Why the cool kid’s table matters

Published on February 4th, 2020

by Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt
My obsession with proper standards for determining award recipients has been directed at US Sailing and World Sailing, as I have been disappointed in how selection for their annual achievement honors now includes a popularity component.

To their defense, and considering the commercial climate, it has become quite fashionable to enlist online public voting on these matters. It is a brilliant manner to gain interest and exposure, though at the expense of actually thinking about the very best method to make these decisions.

The latest example came on the day after the 2020 Super Bowl when ESPN NFL Analyst Tim Hasselbeck questioned the choice of Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes as the recipient of the Pete Rozelle Trophy, awarded annually to the most valuable player in the game.

It is one of the most prestigious awards in the National Football League, and it includes online fan voting to determine the recipient.

It’s easy to say Hasselbeck was nitpicking, as the QB of the winning team does often get the honor. But CBS Sports had his back, as both saw Chiefs running back Damien Williams as the key to victory, doing things not ever done before in route to two fourth-quarter scores that helped the Chief’s rally from a 20-10 deficit.

But selecting Williams would have required knowledge (and sobriety).

The NFL system gives the fans 20% of the decision, with the balance given to 16 members of the Professional Football Writers of America who are on site to cover the game. The fan component could have pushed the final tally from the cerebral option to the popular pick.

When US Sailing’s Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year awards are announced on February 6, fans will carry one-third of the decision to select the most prestigious honor that US Sailing provides to recognize significant accomplishment. Who will win it? Here’s my prediction.

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