My NFL Player Awards

With the conclusion of the 2011 NFL regular season, comes the individual player awards.  So before the award winners are named and the season is complete I would like to throw out who I believe deserve the awards, who I believe will win, and my preseason predictions.   So without further ado, my 2011 NFL award winners.

2011 NFL MVP

Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints

My Preseason Pick: Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers

My Midseason Pick: Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers

Who I Believe Will Win: Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers

This has been an unbelievable year at the quarterback position and traditionally the MVP award goes to a quarterback (unless a running back or wide receiver just has an off-the-charts year) so I continue that tradition.  Prior to the 2011 season there had only been two instances of a 5,000 yard passing season and now this year we saw three such performances including Brees becoming the first QB to ever pass for 5,000 yards in a season twice as he shattered Dan Marino’s record for passing in a single season.   We have witnessed the 1st, 2nd, and 5th best passing yardage totals in NFL history this season.  He also set an NFL record for most 300 yard games in a season and completion percentage while leading the most prolific offense in NFL history in terms of yardage and first downs. This is a tough call because I cannot discount what Rodgers has done this season – posting a 122.5 passer rating and passing for 45 touchdowns to only 6 interceptions while leading the Packers to a 15-1 record – and I’ve been conflicted the last couple of weeks between Rodgers and Brees but luckily something happened today that gave the edge to Brees.  Today Matt Flynn took the reins of a great Packers team and did something no Packers QB has ever done, not Rodgers, not Favre, not Starr.  He threw for 480 yards and 6 touchdowns – both Packers franchise records.  I am not trying to discount Rodgers but the MVP award is for the Most Valuable Player.  Without Rodgers, the Packers would still be a playoff team – this is not true of the Saints.  I believe that Drew Brees is more valuable to his team than any other player in the NFL and  for that reason he’s my MVP.

*On a sidenote Steve McNair and Peyton Manning showed us a few years ago there can be co-MVPs and this is one year where I would completely satisfied with Brees and Rodgers sharing the award

But High Fives all around to:

1. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers

2. Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots

3. Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit Lions

4. Calvin Johnson, WR, Detroit Lions

5. Arian Foster, RB, Houston Texans

Offensive Player of the Year

Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots

My Preseason Pick: Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings

My Midseason Pick: Calvin Johnson, WR, Detroit Lions

Who I Believe Will Win: Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints

This was another tough award because a case can be made here for any of the 3 5,000 yard club quarterbacks, Calvin Johnson, and of course the all-purpose yards record holder Darren Sproles but I have to give the nod to Gronk.  He shattered the record for touchdowns by a tight end in a single season with 17.   If you throw in his more than 1,300 yards receiving and you realize that doesn’t make Gronkowski an elite NFL tight end, it makes him an elite NFL receiver.  When you look at his numbers you will begin to realize that he was responsible for nearly a third of Tom Brady’s passing yards this season and almost half of his touchdowns.   I would argue that Gronkowski was the Patriots’ MVP this year and was a big part of New England wrapping up the #1 seed in the AFC this year and Tom Brady posting the second best passing yards total in NFL history.

But High Fives all around to:

1. Darren Sproles, RB, New Orleans Saints

2. Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints

3. Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots

4. Calvin Johnson, WR, Detroit Lions

5. Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit Lions

Defensive Player of the Year

Jared Allen, DE, Minnesota Vikings

My Preseason Pick: Ndamukong Suh, DT, Detroit Lions

My Midseason Pick: Jared Allen, DE, Minnesota Vikings

Who I Believe Will Win: Jared Allen, DE, Minnesota Vikings

It is a shame that the Vikings were so bad this season because Jared Allen just turned in one of the best defensive seasons any player has ever had.  He capped off an amazing 22 sack season with a 3.5 sack performance against the Bears on Sunday falling half a sack shy of Michael Strahan’s record.  Of course in Allen’s defense he didn’t have Brett Favre to fall on the ground for him like Strahan did.   Many know that I define Future Hall of Famer as someone who if they were to retire from their sport today they would get elected into the Hall of Fame.  This season with his 22 sack performance and becoming the 2nd fastest player to the 100 sack club, Jared Allen is indeed worthy of that title.  This was one of the easiest awards for me to choose because after today’s performance – who else would you choose?

But High Fives all around to:

1. DeMarcus Ware, OLB, Dallas Cowboys

2. London Fletcher, ILB, Washington Redskins

3. Brian Cushing, ILB, Houston Texans

Comeback Player of the Year

Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit Lions

Preseason Pick: Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit Lions

Midseason Pick: Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit Lions

Who I Believe Will Win: Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit Lions

There were many who were ready to label former #1 overall pick Matthew Stafford a “bust” in just his third season in the league because of an unbelievable streak of unrelated injuries.  There were many who thought he was just another cursed Lions quarterback.  Then all of a sudden this season not only did Stafford stay healthy, he became just the 4th quarterback to pass for over 5,000 yards in a season and had 41 passing touchdowns leading the Lions to their first playoff appearance in over 10 years.  There were some great comeback stories this year but in challenging for the NFL MVP award, Stafford takes the cake.

But High Fives all around to:

1. Nick Barnett, ILB, Buffalo Bills

2. D’Qwell Jackson, ILB, Cleveland Browns

3. Elvis Dumervil, DE, Denver Broncos

4. Plaxico Burress, WR, New York Jets

NFL Coach of the Year

Jim Harbaugh, San Francisco 49ers

Preseason Pick: Gary Kubiak, Houston Texans

Midseason Pick: Chan Gailey, Buffalo Bills

Who I Believe Will Win: Jim Harbaugh, San Francisco 49ers

The only thing I had the 49ers wrapping up in Week 17 before the season started was the Andrew Luck sweepstakes.  I never really thought the 49ers would make the playoffs, let alone win the NFC West or wrap up a first round bye.  What Harbaugh has pulled off this season is nothing short of incredible.  His team neglected to draft a 1st round quarterback when many (myself included) said that was what needed to be done and lost their second best defensive player and in turn they put together maybe the best defense in the League and have gotten a solid season out of Alex Smith.  I have been really impressed with Harbaugh and believe the 49ers will compete for years to come.

But High Fives All Around to:

1. Marvin Lewis, Cincinnati Bengals

2. Gary Kubiak, Houston Texans

3. John Fox, Denver Broncos

4. Jim Schwartz, Detroit Lions

5. Mike McCarthy, Green Bay Packers

NFL Executive of the Year

Mike Brown, Owner/President, Cincinnati Bengals

My Preseason Pick: N/A

My Midseason Pick: Mike Brown, Owner/President, Cincinnati Bengals

Who I Believe Will Win: Mike Brown, Owner/President, Cincinnati Bengals

I have had a few months to soak it in and am still in absolute awe of what Mike Brown has pulled off this season.  He shipped Chad Ochocinco to New England for a draft pick and then he used his first round draft pick to draft the ultra-athletic A.J. Green who just turned in the best rookie WR campaign since Anquan Boldin in 2003.  He then used his 2nd round draft pick on QB Andy Dalton who had a Pro Bowl caliber season and led the Bengals to the playoffs and just their third winning season in the last 20 years.   Nobody saw this kind of success for the Bengals but Brown had a plan.  And if that wasn’t enough, Brown then took a quarterback who was sitting on his couch and the Bengals had no use for (Carson Palmer) and traded him right before the deadline to the Raiders for two first round draft picks.  Brown has the Bengals in position to not only compete this year but for years to come.

But High Fives all around to: Just Mike Brown, no one else even comes close…

Offensive Rookie of the Year

Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers

Preseason Pick: Mark Ingram, RB, New Orleans Saints

Midseason Pick: Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers

Who I Believe Will Win: Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers

I often discussed Cam Newton as a high risk/high reward draft pick for the Panthers and my personal thoughts were high risk and that he was going to be garbage.  I could not have been more wrong.  Cam Newton was not only impressive, not only did he turn in one of the best QB seasons of all time – he turned in  one of the best quarterback seasons of all time.  He became the first rookie quarterback to throw for 4,000 yards and the first quarterback to ever throw for 4,000 yards and rush for 500 in the same season.  Newton’s 4,051 yards passing and 706 yards rushing are impressive enough but even more amazing is that Newton set a record for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback in a single season with 14.  Which by the way was more rushing touchdowns than every running back in the league except LeSean McCoy.   I have been amazed by Newton this season and looking forward to some really great things from him and the Panthers in coming years.

But High Fives All Around to:

1. Andy Dalton, QB, Cincinnati Bengals

2. A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati Bengals

3. Torrey Smith, WR, Baltimore Ravens

4. DeMarco Murray, RB, Dallas Cowboys

5. Doug Baldwin, WR, Seattle Seahawks

Defensive Rookie of the Year

Von Miller, OLB, Denver Broncos

My Preseason Pick: Von Miller, OLB, Denver Broncos

My Midseason Pick: Von Miller, OLB, Denver Broncos

Who I Believe Will Win: Von Miller, OLB, Denver Broncos

When the clock started ticking last April for the Denver Broncos, I thought Von Miller was the obvious choice.  Miller reminds me alot of Patrick Willis his rookie year, someone that just came into the league and right away and established himself as one of the best linebackers in the NFL.   I thought coming into the draft that Von Miller or Patrick Peterson were the most talented, NFL-ready players in the draft and Miller did not let me down.  In his rookie season, he finished 3rd in the AFC in sacks and while all the talk was about Tebow, Miller is the bigger story and the real hero of the Broncos making their postseason run.  He was the young leader of one of the NFL’s best defenses and he will be a premier linebacker for seasons to come.

But High Fives All Around to:

1. Aldon Smith, DE, San Francisco 49ers

2. Patrick Peterson, CB, Arizona Cardinals

3. Adrian Clayborn, DE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

4. Ryan Kerrigan, OLB, Washington Redskins

5. Mason Foster, MLB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Questions? Comments? Snide Remarks? Let me hear ’em!


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2 responses to “My NFL Player Awards

    • We definitely appreciate your following us and I enjoy some of the thoughts I read on your site as well – do you have a twitter handle? Yeah this is becoming a pass-happy league which has led some to take away from what Brees, Brady, and Stafford have done this year. I think it’s unfortunate but reasonable. It’s the same reason I am so amazed by outstanding running backs. In a day and age when everyone is passing it’s amazing to see things like Adrian Peterson’s 296 yard game, Chris Johnson’s 2000 yard season, or more recently, Darren Sproles’ all-purpose yard record. As the league becomes more pass happy quarterbacks, wide receivers, and tight ends are going to enjoy better seasons. This is going to make it more difficult for running backs to enjoy the success they did in the 80’s and 90’s which is why I tend to have a bias towards the position.

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