Golden Tate blossomed in his third year in the NFL.
• Golden Tate, WR, Seattle Seahawks — Ok, so his winning catch against Green Bay was really an interception by Packers’ safety Melvin Jennings. Plus, Tate should have been called for offensive pass interference on the Hail Mary hurl by quarterback Russell Wilson. That didn’t stop Seattle fans from going bonkers in celebration or football fans in general from coming unglued on the replacement officials that tried their best to ruin the first half of the 2012 season. Sports Illustrated ranked the play as the most memorable in sports in 2012.
• Kyle Rudolph, TE, Minnesota Vikings — Rudolph became one of seven Vikings to play in the 2013 Pro Bowl -- and the third selected to the game as a replacement -- after veteran Tony Gonzalez pulled out due to an injury. Rudolph went on to win game MVP honors, catching five passes for 122 yards and a touchdown in the NFC’s victory.
• Jordan Black, OT, Kansas City Chiefs — Jordan Black retired after the 2010 season, sat out 2011, then came back with the Washington Redskins underweight at 270 pounds. He worked hard to work his way back into a reserve role in 14 games before being suspended in December for four games after a failed drug test. He insisted it was a prescribed medication the NFL knew about, some reports saying it was for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. He lost an appeal and missed the final two games of the regular season. Black is currently a free agent and would have to sit the first two games of 2013 if he were to return.
• Ian Williams, NT, San Francisco 49ers — Though he didn’t play in the Super Bowl against eventual winner Baltimore, Williams got an AFC Championship ring in just his just his second pro season after going undrafted in 2011.
• Brady Quinn, QB, Kansas City Chiefs — The days after Kansas City linebacker Javon Belcher shot and hilled his girlfriend and then took his own life, Quinn led the Chiefs to a 27-21 victory on Dec. 2 over visiting Carolina. It was the team’s second win of the year after losing 10 of its first 11, and it was Quinn’s first victory as a starting QB since Dec. 10, 2009, when he was with Cleveland.