Bednarik, Nagurski Awards for Tyler Damages Butkus’ Credibility

When members of the Dick Butkus Award committee watched as Temple’s Tyler Matakevich took home another impressive piece of college football hardware on ESPN Thursday, it was dinner, not breakfast, time, but they surely had to have egg on their faces.


This is just huge for Tyler, TU and recruiting.

Left off the list of finalists for the Butkus Award given to the nation’s best linebacker, Matakevich won the Chuck Bednarik Award as the nation’s best overall player, which had to be embarrassing for the Butkus people.  An uproar of epic proportions followed  release of the Butkus finalist list with committee members peppered with emails and letters from Temple and AAC football fans who were wondering what the criteria was. Many of those same fans posted on social media that the committee claimed they had nothing to do with the selection of the finalists.

Matakevich not only took home the Bednarik Award, but it was his second such award as the nation’s best defensive player. Earlier this week, Matakevich won the Charlotte Touchdown Club’s Bronko Nagurski Award. That begs this question: If Matakevich, a linebacker, is named the top defensive player by two historically more prestigious groups than the Butkus one, just why was he left off the list of 10 finalists as the nation’s top linebacker?

The answer has to be that the Butkus “committee,” or whoever is in charge of pairing the list down to 10, did a sloppy job without a whole lot of homework done. Matakevich is one of seven players in the history of the FBS to have at least 100 tackles in four-straight seasons. With one game left in a soon-to-be 14-game season for Temple this year, Matakevich has 126 tackles and that is 13 more tackles than Butkus winner Jaylon Smith of Notre Dame. In a head-to-head matchup on Halloween Night, Matakevich was the clearly the best linebacker on the field as he had 13 tackles and an interception in a 24-20 loss, while Smith had 10 tackles. Matakevich had five more interceptions than Smith, who had none, and five more interceptions than anyone competing for the Butkus, Bednarik and Nagurski Awards.

The latter two groups took their jobs seriously, while it now apparent that the Butkus people shirked their responsibility. That is a hit on the credibility of their award from which it could be very hard to recover.


9 thoughts on “Bednarik, Nagurski Awards for Tyler Damages Butkus’ Credibility

  1. TM deserves everything and more.., scary thought is nobody on the current roster will even come close to his achievements.., 100 tackles per year will not be replaced, even more important is his leadership and example, the kid never missed a practice in four years.., it will be interesting to see if PJ, Jahaad, Dawkins, etc will be able to set the example like TM, KF, EL, MI

    how can nine of the 26 senior be coming back, who are they?

    “Probably the most interesting news, and it’s something that has been stated before, is that Temple will have 26 seniors who will be graduating. Rhule did say that nine of the graduates will be coming back next year”

  2. My understanding is that if a player has a year of eligibility left because he red shirted, he may do a post graduate year and still play.

    • that’s true, but probably would apply to only robby of the current seniors. if matt left that out as a nugget in a presser and I had been there, I would not have left it floating.I would have said, “whoa, hold on there, sparky, just who are the nine?”
      just sent an email to my ex co-worker Marc Narducci asking him to clarify.

  3. wow, that was fast. Marc is doing a great job:

    I have a list, but was given more than nine names so I am waiting for the response. Also Robby is not on that list.
    Temple wasn’t confident in the appeal for Robby and to be honest, he indicated to me much earlier that after this season he would like to pursue a pro career. I will keep you posted but was waiting for the answer on those nine to do a blog post.

  4. maybe MR is counting the R-Juniors as seniors since a few will graduate this year? we have quite a few red shirt juniors who are academic seniors…, much like Hershey Walton this year, who by the way was on the 2011 team that got blown out by Toledo

    • Bingo. Mystery solved. Two great catches by you; first to catch the paragraph in the story originally and to solve the puzzle. Willie Mays and Aaron Rowland could not have made better catches.

  5. Rename it the Bupkis Award.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s