Hard Hat Award (Game #10, @ K.C.)
Stillers RB Rashard Mendenhall is the winner of the weekly Hard Hat Award, given to the Stiller player who best embodies the iron-tough, hard-as-steel attitude of the steel workers inside the blast furnace of a still mill.
In yet another gutless, heartless performance by the Stillers in their loss to the lowly Chefs, Mendenhall was one of the very few players, if not the only player, to give it his all and play with the gusto and hustle that wins football games. Mendenhall had a solid day as a RB, toting the ball 21 times for 80 yards, and snaring 4 passes for 36 yards, including his 1st NFL receiving TD off a 13-yard slant. Mendy ran with toughness and authority, and in OT, while the Chefs were reeling, Mendy did his part by ripping off runs of 7, 7, and 8 yards.
What really won over The Committee was Mendy� effort on the BenRoth INT in the 3Q. On a 1st down at the Chef 10-yard line, the Stiller passed (don�t ask why; as that�s another story). LB Andy Studebaker picked the pass 2 yards deep in the EZ, and ran for daylight. While the rest of the Stiller offense loafed or waived at Studebaker, Mendy set out on a full sprint. Tonio Holmes, a man much leaner and a bit faster than Mendy, basically gave up around the Stiller 40 and jaked it from there. Not Mendy. He ran hell-asunder and hauled down Studey at the Stiller 8-yard line. The defense made a very rare stop, and the Chefs settled for a FG, with Mendy thus saving 4 points. That, my friends, is the kind of hustle, grit, and determination that wins a player the coveted Hard Hat Award.
No one else was in consideration after this epic slopfest that saw 8 penalties, 2 dropped INTs, a Stiller INT caused by a wide open TE basically batting the ball upwards, another KO returned by an opponent for a TD, and yet another blown 4Q lead.
It bears repeating that there is almost always -- if not always -- a strong correlation between the number of players in consideration for the Hard Hat, and if the team won or lost. Simply put, Hard Hat kind of football leads to victory; pansy football (a term used here long before Troy Pola popularized it) leads to defeat. Given the poor effort and lack of toughness this past Sunday, it should come as no surprise that the Stillers got beaten.
Kudos to Mendy for winning the Hard Hat Award. Wear the Hard Hat proudly, Rashard!
Previous 2009 Hard Hat Winners:
Game #1, vs.
Game #2, @
Game #3, @ Cinci: Mike Wallace (honorable mention to Alice Cooper bassist Chuck Garric)
Game #4, vs.
Game #5, @
Game #6, vs.
Game #7, vs.
Game #8, @
Game #9, vs. Cinci: No one