Since the NFL regular season is over and the divisional matchups are set, I thought it would be a good idea to hand out some end of the season awards.
It’s down to Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, and Tom Brady for MVP. In my mind, Rodgers is out because back-up Matt Flynn proved that he could be just as successful with the offense as Rodgers can. He couldn’t be as good as Rodgers for the whole year, but something tells me that the Packers wouldn’t exactly descend to 2011 Colts levels without Rodgers. I’d give the MVP to Brees because he set the single season passing yards record, he had a much tougher schedule (six victories over teams that finished 9-7 or better as opposed to Brady’s zero), and a very strong personal anti-Brady bias.
NFL’s Best Side Story of the Year
TEEEEEBOOOOOWWWWWW!!!! Every single week, there was a sense of excitement when Tebow played. We never stopped asking ourselves “Can he do it again? No, he can’t possibly do it again! Wait,… he did it again!!!!” He became such a polarizing figure that by Week 15, the Tebow bandwagon turned in to the runaway train from the movie Unstoppable. The runaway train ran off the tracks and crashed in Weeks 15-17. But it got going again with last week’s upset over the Steelers.
The Disappearing Act Award
My version of the anti-comeback player of the year award. This one is a tie between Santonio “A little hustle never killed anyone, but why risk it?” Holmes and our three-time Disappearing Act champ, Michael Vick. Vick always has hot and cold streaks and lots of injuries, so this one is semi-explainable. Sadly, I’m approaching word capacity for this column and have a couple more awards to get to, so I can’t go off on my Santonio Holmes rant. Just know that what he did was indefensible and turned me against him for life.
Rookie Of the Year
Cam Newton wins my rookie of the year. Every single time I see the guy play, it’s absolutely amazing. You never know what Cam is going to do next. He’s a Vick-like rusher, with almost the same speed and more power. However, you could always commit to stopping Vick’s runs because he could only pass well about 50 percent of the time. You don’t have that luxury with Newton. I can just imagine defensive coordinators sitting at their desks at 3 AM Friday morning with empty takeout boxes scattered all over the room the week they play Newton. If Carolina ever gets a decent defense, watch out. Honorable mention rookies of the year go to Andy Dalton and A.J. Green (the Bengals did a great job of drafting this year, and I never imagined I’d be saying that about the Bengals).
NFL’s Biggest Surprise
This one goes to the San Francisco 49ers. I had them ranked at 27th in my NFL Preview, right ahead of the Luke McCown era Jaguars. If anybody tells you that they predicted that the Niners were going to be this good, they’re absolutely lying. Opposing running backs managed only three rushing touchdowns on the Niners all year. Three rushing touchdowns all year. That’s a historic defense. Also, I’ve come to realize that I would really be more comfortable with the new Alex Smith in charge of the Jets offense rather than Mark Sanchez. At this point, I think I’d even settle for the old Alex Smith.
NFL’s Biggest Disappointment
This one unquestionably goes to the Philadelphia Eagles, who ultimately failed to make the playoffs for reasons that weren’t completely explainable. After thinking about this for awhile, I came to the conclusion that the Eagles had the talent, they just didn’t use it right. They signed perhaps the best man-to-man coverage guy in the league and had him play zone. They had quite possibly the best running back in the league, but a coach who didn’t know how to use him. They had the most exciting team in the league, but they couldn’t get on their signature “Look out, they’re starting to catch fire” streak until it was too late. Regardless, I’d be scared of this team going in to next year.
That pretty much wraps up the NFL Awards. Thanks for reading and I’ll see you all next month after the Super Bowl.