When you have an award description as vague and all-encompassing as the Rotary Lombardi Award, there might be a reason your preseason watch list contains 123 players.
Here's who the Lombardi Award is handed out to each season:
“Eligibility for the Rotary Lombardi Award is limited to down linemen, end-to-end, either on offense or defense, who set up no farther than 10 yards to the left or right of the ball, or linebackers who set up no farther than five yards deep from the line of scrimmage.”
Vagueness. Specificity. Yardage requirements. This award has it all!
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It's watch list has more than all, though, with 123 names on the list. Eleven of those names hail from the Big Ten. Here they are:
— Chi Chi Ariguzo, LB, Northwestern
— Michael Bennett, DT, Ohio State
— Austin Blythe, C, Iowa
— Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State
— Shilique Calhoun, DE, Michigan State
— Carl Davis, DT, Iowa
— Randy Gregory, DE, Nebraska
— Rob Havenstein, OT, Wisconsin
— Kaleb Johnson, G, Rutgers
— Jake Ryan, LB, Michigan
— Brandon Scherff, OT, Iowa
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My biggest question is this: Is there someone working for the Lombardi Trophy who consistently checks whether all of these guys stick to the yardage requirements? If Ariguzo lines up six yards from the line of scrimmage on a play or two over the course of the season, is he disqualified? If Gregory is 11 yards out from the ball on a certain percentage of snaps, is he disqualified? If so, this instantly becomes one of the more fun awards, as we get to see who's eliminated from contention each week because they had to shift out on a goal-line set or had to go into pass coverage against six wideouts.
It's like "Survivor," with counting instead of challenges and 300-pound linemen instead of good-looking people in bathing suits.
Who doesn't want to follow that?