Japan’s X League Announced Most Valuable Player And All Star Awards

Japan’s National Football Association held its annual awards show a couple of weeks ago in Tokyo and the 2016 champion Fujitsu Frontiers, not surprisingly, led the way.

The Frontiers had nine players selected to the All X-League team. Runner-up Obic Seagulls had six and semi-finalists Panasonic (and IBM) had four apiece.

Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department Eagles took home the “Fair Play” award, while Colby Cameron (Louisiana Tech) was named league MVP and Michigan’s Devin Gardner got Rookie of the Year.

In total 25 players were named to the All X-League team. Eleven each on offense and defense and three on special teams (kicker, punter and returner).

Despite this being the era of passing football the positions named wouldn’t have been out of place in the 1980’s. Two receivers, one tight end and two running backs made up the offense while the defense was a 4-3. The players in attendance each gave a short speech and only Noriaki Kinoshita deviated from the standard “thank you / I’ll do my best in 2017” script. The former Atlanta Falcon seemed nonplussed to win as a kick returner, still seeing himself primarily as a wideout.

Emory Polley (Brown) and Edmond Toby Davis III (Alabama State University) accepting All Star Awards. Both play for the Panasonic Impulse.

Pearl and Green Bowl schedules set

The 2017 fixtures were distributed at the event both for the Pearl (Kanto area) and Green (Kansai area) Bowls which will run in the spring, and the League proper, which starts in August.

The first games of 2017 will be on April 22 at Fujitsu Stadium. IBM Big Blue takes on Bulls Football Club at 2pm followed by Lixil Deers versus Fuji Xerox Minerva AFC at 5pm.

John Stanton (St. John’s (Minnesota) University), who plays tight end for IBM Big Blue accepted his All Star Award in Japanese. Stanton has been living and playing in Japan since 2013.

John Gunning is a Tokyo based sports writer. He is a sumo commentator for NHK and covers MMA and American football for national and international publications.