Behind The ScenesNFLStudio

Fan votes help determine NFL Live’s Midseason Awards

Once a year, ESPN’s NFL Live literally rolls out the red carpet for a special show that celebrates the best of the NFL with a little Hollywood glitz. Today is that day with the annual NFL Live Midseason Awards (3 p.m. ET).

Trey Wingo hosts this small-budget spectacular in front of a live studio audience in Bristol, Conn. He will arrive for the show with analysts Tim Hasselbeck, Herm Edwards and Antonio Pierce in a limo with everyone dressed in tuxedos.

Gold statues – well, they’re not really made of gold – will be awarded to top NFL players and the best coach for their performances in the first half of the season. Fans have the opportunity to vote for the award winners via Twitter in seven categories – Comeback of the Year, Comeback Player of the Year, Coach of the Year, Offensive Player of the Year (Non-QB), Defensive Player of the Year, Offensive Rookie of the Year and Midseason MVP.

Before emceeing the festivities, Wingo spoke with Front Row about the unique tradition that has become NFL Live’s Midseason Awards.

What’s the history behind NFL Live’s Midseason Awards?
We started it six years ago and it’s evolved into a really fun event. In its first incarnation, it was just 30 minutes of the show, but then it sort of grew organically and people seemed to like it. Now, thanks to the team and great creativity from our director Brian Albon, it’s become one of the highlights of the year.

Where did the idea come from?
The idea came about just as a new way to talk about what we’ve seen over the first eight weeks of the season. We’re always trying new things on NFL Live like debate shows around the election – and I’m sure on Election Day we’ll have something planned as well. Brian and [producer] Jeff Wheatley, as well researchers like John Parolin, contribute a ton to the show.

Are any special touches planned for the awards show this year?
We always hope to have some of the winners as guests. And usually the first question I ask them is “What’s it like for you to win a completely made-up award that has no real meaning?” That seems to set the right tone for what we’re trying to do.

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