For more than a decade the Raiders have had some of the best special teams players in the NFL. At times, they have had some great overall special teams work. While that cannot be said of this year, one of the most deserving award recipients yet again comes from special teams.
Special Teams Player of the Year - Sebastian Janikowski
There has rarely been a less debatable award than this one. So much so it just might leave the realm of opinion and just be seen as a fact. One might even argue Janikowski is the Raiders Player of the Year regardless of whether he was technically special teams.
He made more field goals this season than any other kicker in the NFL (31). He didn't miss a kick inside 50 yards and only missed one inside 60 yards (51).
Six times this season, he outscored the rest of the team. The Raiders won three of those games and two of them, he kicked the game-winner. Three times, he was the team's only scorer. One such time was in week 15 when he hit five field goals to help the Raiders beat the Chiefs 15-0.
In week six he missed his only kick from inside 60 yards. It came from 51 yards out. But he also made two other field goals of 50 yards or more in that game (50, 57). The first of the two moved him into sole possession of third place in league history in kicks of 50 yards or more. He surpassed longtime NFL kicker Morten Andersen. The difference is, it took Andersen 24 years to get that mark. Janikowski has done it in 13.
A little icing for that cake is he did it while facing one of Anderson's former teams-- the Chiefs. It was reminiscent of last season when he tied former Broncos kicker Jason Elam for the NFL record for the longest field goal (63 yards) in Denver.
Janikowski was snubbed from the Pro Bowl squad this year by Browns kicker Phil Dawson despite Dawson's longest kick coming from 52 yards out and Janikowski's longest coming from 57 yards out. Both kickers missed one field goal inside 60 yards. Janikowski had three misses but two of them were from 61 and 64 yards out.
Good ol' Seabass scored so many points for this team this season (118), a lot of people were saying he should have been the Offensive MVP. I might've agreed except he doesn't play on offense. This is his award for his season. And it is well deserved.