The NFL and the Associated Press are handing out the annual end-of-the-year awards one by one, with the first one — Defensive Player of the Year — going to Troy Polamalu.
The others are Defensive Rookie of the Year, Offensive Rookie of the Year, Comeback Player of the Year, Offensive Player of the Year, Coach of the Year, and of course the Most Valuable Player award.
Everyone has their own opinion on who should win which award, and I’m no different. So we’ll be going one-by-one and picking a winner along with an explanation as to why I chose that player. Since Defensive Player of the Year has already been chosen, we’ll start with Offensive Player of the Year and work from there.
Offensive Player of the Year – Philip Rivers, QB, San Diego Chargers
I really wanted to go with Arian Foster here because I’m so sick of quarterbacks always winning these types of awards, but Rivers was so good this year it’s impossible not to pick him.
Rivers threw for 4,710 yards, 30 touchdowns, 13 interceptions, and finished with a 101.8 passer rating. Those numbers are impressive enough, but when we take into account the fact that he did it without Vincent Jackson for nearly the entire season, Malcolm Floyd was beat up all year, and the running game fell off dramatically, we have a guy who should be getting a lot more consideration for MVP.
Defensive Rookie of the Year – Ndamukong Suh, DT, Detroit Lions
This is an absolute no-brainer. The guy was a devastating presence all year long and is already one of the best defensive tackles in the league. Suh racked up 10 sacks without a guy on that line to take pressure away from him and plays with a mean-streak that the NFL hasn’t seen in quite some time.
College success quite often does not translate to the NFL, but this guy could be in MVP talks at points throughout his career. This is a guy the Lions can build their defense around for the next decade.
Offensive Rookie of the Year – Mike Williams, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Sam Bradford was very good in his rookie year. He has the makings of a franchise quarterback and could even have the St. Louis Rams making another playoff push next year, but he just wasn’t as good as Williams.
Williams hauled in 65 passes for just under 1,000 yards and 11 touchdowns — accounting for just about half the touchdowns sophomore quarterback Josh Freeman threw.
Yes, the Rams improved from 1-15 to 7-9 with Bradford under center, but I hate when all that credit is given to the quarterback.
The other thing working against Bradford is the way he completely disappeared down the stretch. Over the past five weeks while the Rams were trying to push their way into the playoffs, Bradford threw six interceptions and only one touchdown. The success of recent rookie quarterbacks might have me expecting too much, but I don’t think it’s too much to ask for more than what he was able to give down the stretch.
Comeback Player of the Year – Michael Vick, QB, Philadelphia Eagles
This is a tough pick because technically he came back last season, but he was so phenomenal in his comeback as a starting quarterback that it would be impossible to pick anyone else, although Seattle Seahawks receiver Mike Williams and Minnesota Vikings linebacker E.J. Henderson wouldn’t have been bad picks either.
In 12 starts, Vick threw for 21 touchdowns to six interceptions, over 3,000 yards, and a quarterback rating of over 100. He also rushed for 676 yards and nine touchdowns and orchestrated one of the greatest comebacks in NFL history.
Coach of the Year – Todd Haley, Kansas City Chiefs
From 4-12 to 10-6 is impressive enough, but he now has Matt Cassel playing like the quarterback the Chiefs thought they were getting, Jamal Charles is a superstar, and Dwayne Bowe is now one of the best receivers in the game because Haley challenged him.
A lot of people will contest this pick because of the assistants he had this season, but isn’t that part of what being a head coach is about? As far as I’m concerned, that works in his favor even if Scott Pioli was the guy who perhaps drew Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel in.
Most Valuable Player – Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots
This was an obvious and inescapable pick. Brady threw for 36 touchdowns to only four — yes, four — interceptions. Brady also set the NFL record for longest streak without throwing an interception while leading the Patriots to a 14-2 record. Without him under center, they might have been a low-seed playoff team or perhaps out of it altogether.
Topics: Detroit Lions, Football, Kansas City Chiefs, Michael Vick, Mike Williams, Ndamukong Suh, New England Patriots, NFL, Philadelphia Eagles, Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Todd Haley, Tom Brady