Among all the awards that are presented after an NFL season, there is one that deserves some notice, the “All-Joe Team,” named annually by the USA Today.
The award started in 1992 by USA Today NFL writer Larry Weisman, one of the very good guys who covered the league. Weisman truly cared about players who contributed to teams’ success but who likely gained very little notice for their efforts.
Weisman named the award after Joe Phillips, a defensive lineman who played that year for Kansas City. Phillips labored in a spotlight that shined brightly on two others – Neil Smith and Derrick Thomas.
The paper has had the award annually since Weisman started it, and the team has a 53-man roster.
Each NFL team has a representative and only players who never have made a Pro Bowl are eligible. Once a “Joe” visits Honolulu, he is booted off this award’s island.
On the surface, the “All-Joe Team” may not appeal tremendously to fans. Believe me, NFL PR Departments take the award seriously.
Publicists throughout the league put elbow grease in nominating players for the “All-Joe Team.” Other awards can be popularity contests on many fronts, but publicists in the league know their locker rooms very well. They know players who truly are contributing away from acclaim.
Many times, PR types get counsel from the coaches, too. Coaches get great peeks at deserving players in meeting rooms, weight rooms and practices. Those venues factor tremendously into the success of every winning team.
This year’s Colts recipient is tight end Dwayne Allen. Allen joined the club as the 64th pick in the 2012 draft, and he set the club seasonal record for tight ends with 45 receptions.
Allen started 17 games (counting the playoffs), gaining praise by club officials for his maturity, professional nature and talents. On more than one occasion, Allen was described as having a very “veteran” manner.
Chuck Pagano sees a future so bright for Allen that he says the Clemson product soon could be among the league’s top tight ends, if not the best of the entire bunch. Allen was part of a two-TE “Joe” set that included Carolina’s Greg Olsen.
The announcement of the “All-Joe Team” came this week. I like that it was done separately from all the other awards. It does have its place in a league that employs 1,696 players on active rosters.
Dwayne is one of many bright spots on the team. He also is a trusted voice at his locker, a stand-up guy who is comfortable with the media and who puts effort and wits into his responses.
Congratulations, Dwayne – well deserved, young man. You may want to enjoy this one while it lasts. You may be booted off this island soon if you keep playing like you did last year.
PAST COLTS “ALL-JOES” FROM 2003-present (*eventually made Pro Bowl)
2003 – Rick DeMulling, Hunter Smith
2004 – Brandon Stokley, Jeff Saturday*, Montae Reagor, Hunter Smith
2005 – Montae Reagor
2006 – Ryan Diem, Nick Harper
2007 – Gary Brackett Antoine Bethea*
2008 – Dallas Clark*, Kelvin Hayden, Melvin Bullitt
2009 – Melvin Bullitt
2010 – Jacob Tamme
2011 – Pat Angerer
Tags: dwayne allen, indianapolis colts, Larry Weisman
Posted in Colts Blog