July 15, 2004
Former University of Tennessee standouts Peyton Manning and Tom Pappas won ESPY Awards last night at ESPN's 12th annual awards show at Hollywood's Kodak Theatre. The show is scheduled to air on ESPN Sunday, July 18 at 9 p.m. (EDT) and be hosted by Jamie Foxx.
For the first time, fans determined the winners in all 36 ESPY Awards categories, including the 19 cross-cutter honors that pit athletes from different sports against each other. More than 10.5 million votes were cast from June 21 through July 9.
Manning was voted as "Best NFL Player," beating out former UT teammate Jamal Lewis, while Pappas was voted by the fans as best male track and field athlete.
Manning led the Colts to the AFC title game and shared the NFL's Most Valuable Player Award with Titans quarterback Steve McNair in 2003. The former UT All-America threw for 4,267 yards with 29 touchdowns last season.
Pappas, who is competing for a second consecutive Olympic berth in the decathlon at the U.S. Olympic Trials at Sacramento, captured the decathlon at 2003 World Track and Field Championships.
Lance Armstrong, currently on a quest for his sixth straight Tour de France crown, was voted by fans as Best Male Athlete. It was Armstrong's second consecutive honor in that category. Former UConn basketball star and current Phoenix Mercury player Diana Taurasi captured Best Female Athlete and Best Female College Athlete, the latter a repeat performance from 2003.
The Detroit Pistons, fresh off their NBA title victory over the Lakers, had a strong night. They won Best Team over the New England Patriots, UConn Men's and Women's Basketball, the Florida Marlins and Tampa Bay Lightning, while they also took the trophy in the new Best Upset category. Pistons coach Larry Brown edged out Geno Auriemma, Bill Belichick, Bob Ladouceur and Jack McKeon in Best Coach/Manager.
In other key cross-cutter categories, LeBron James was named Best Breakthrough Athlete, the Patriots-Panthers Super Bowl Best Game, Miracle Best Movie and teenage surfer and shark attack victim Bethany Hamilton Best Comeback. Also, Masters winner Phil Mickelson won Best Championship Performance, Eric Gagne's (Los Angeles Dodgers) 55 Straight Saves In One Season captured Best Record-Breaking Performance and Brett Favre's (Green Bay Packers) amazing game (399 Yards, four touchdowns) one day after his father's death was selected Best Moment. The New Orleans Saints' laterals for a touchdown won the Best Play trophy.
Of the 17 sport-specific categories, only four were repeat winners from 2003: Barry Bonds (Best MLB Player), Annika Sorenstam (Best Female Golfer), Serena Williams (Best Female Tennis Player) and Gail Devers (Best Female Track and Field Athlete).
The ESPY Awards also included the presentation of the Arthur Ashe Courage Award.
This year, the recipient was Liberian soccer star and UNICEF ambassador George
Weah, who has, at great risk, worked tirelessly to help his war-torn country.
2004 ESPY AWARDS -- WINNERS
NDIVIDUAL SPORT CATEGORY WINNERS
BEST NFL PLAYER: Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts
BEST FEMALE GOLFER: Annika Sorenstam
BEST MALE GOLFER: Phil Mickelson
BEST NHL PLAYER: Jarome Iginla, Calgary Flames
BEST JOCKEY: Stewart Elliott
BEST MALE TRACK & FIELD ATHLETE: Tom Pappas
BEST FEMALE TRACK & FIELD ATHLETE: Gail Devers
BEST FEMALE SOCCER PLAYER: Mia Hamm, U.S.
BEST MALE SOCCER PLAYER: David Beckham, Real Madrid
BEST FEMALE TENNIS PLAYER: Serena Williams
BEST MALE TENNIS PLAYER: Andy Roddick
BEST MLB PLAYER: Barry Bonds, San Francisco Giants
BEST NBA PLAYER: Kevin Garnett, Minnesota Timberwolves
BEST WNBA PLAYER: Lauren Jackson, Seattle Storm
BEST BOWLER: Pete Weber
BEST BOXER: Antonio Tarver
BEST DRIVER: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
CROSS-CUTTER CATEGORY WINNERS
BEST FEMALE ATHLETE: Diana Taurasi, Connecticut Basketball
BEST MALE ATHLETE: Lance Armstrong, Cycling
BEST TEAM: Detroit Pistons
BEST COACH/MANAGER: Larry Brown, Detroit Pistons
BEST COMEBACK: Bethany Hamilton, Surfing
BEST UPSET: Detroit Pistons
BEST BREAKTHROUGH ATHLETE: LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers
BEST GAME: Super Bowl: Patriots-Panthers
BEST RECORD-BREAKING PERFORMANCE: Eric Gagne, L.A. Dodgers - 55 Straight Saves In One Season
BEST CHAMPIONSHIP PERFORMANCE: Phil Mickelson - Masters
BEST PLAY: New Orleans Saints' Last-Play Laterals Result in TD
BEST SPORTS MOVIE: Miracle
BEST FEMALE COLLEGE ATHLETE: Diana Taurasi, Connecticut Basketball
BEST MALE COLLEGE ATHLETE: Emeka Okafor, Connecticut Basketball
BEST MOMENT: Brett Favre, Packers - 399 Yards, 4 TDs A Day After Father's Death
BEST FEMALE ACTION SPORTS ATHLETE: Dallas Friday, Wakeboarding
BEST MALE ACTION SPORTS ATHLETE: Ryan Nyquist, Bike Stunt
BEST ATHLETE WITH A DISABILITY: Kyle Maynard, Wrestling
BEST OUTDOORS SPORTS ATHLETE: Tina Bosworth, Log Rolling
ARTHUR ASHE COURAGE AWARD: George Weah
CO-PRESENTING SPONSOR AWARD WINNERS
The 2004 ESPY Awards also included two co-presenting sponsor awards.
GMC PROFESSIONAL GRADE PLAY: Steve McNair, Titans - Makes Playoffs Despite Injuries
UNDER ARMOUR UNDENIABLE PERFORMANCE AWARD: Brett Favre, Packers - 399 Yards, A Day After Father's Death