Brees or Rodgers for NFL MVP? Who wins Coach of the Year and Rookie of the Year? NFL Regular Season Awards are dished out.
In the spirit of the Heisman trophy, the Shortbus fantasy football award, and Madden’s Turkey Legs, it is now time for the inaugural “If I Ruled the World” NFL regular season awards.
Although some of these awards may not come as a surprise to some, I am convinced that others will have some scratching their collective heads.
A lot of the prognostications entering into this NFL season were fulfilled. Many thought the Packers would be just as dominant as they were at the end of last season, and I know that everyone had the Bengals, Texans, and Broncos all in the AFC playoffs…No?
One huge oversight that we witnessed was the effect that one player can have on a team—even when he is not playing. In witnessing the Colts completely disgraced themselves this season, one would have to wonder if these men, at any time, either offered or were told by their fans to return their paychecks.
They sucked for Luck even if they try to say they did not.
But I digress.
Another principal component to the season revolved around the lack of defense—which I touched upon in an article after week 3—and the offensive explosion we witnessed. THREE 5,000 yard passers!
If this is foreshadowing of things to come, the 5,000 yard mark is going to become as irrelevant as the 1,000 yard rusher (no, Chris Johnson, you didn’t play well just because you reached 1000 yards—just ask the guys who had you on their fantasy teams).
So, without further ado, the “If I Ruled the World” winners are:
Most Valuable Player—Drew Brees (New Orleans, QB)
To some, this may come as a shock. However, I am firm believer in the principle that when a guy breaks a record that was deemed untouchable up until recently, he should get first consideration for the MVP.
Not only did he break the record, he crushed the record.
The 2011 final stat line on Drew Brees: 46 TD’s and 14 INT’s for 5,476 yards passing and an astronomical 71.2% completion rate in leading the Saints to a 13-3 record.
Many will argue that Aaron Rodgers threw fewer picks and the Packers are 15-1. This is a valid argument and one that I will address when handing out the next award. For now, my MVP is Brees. He had a year that will not be duplicated—maybe ever. If we are to give Rodgers the award solely because his team went 15-1 then we need to change the name of the award.
Offensive Player of the Year—Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay, QB)
So why did I give the MVP to Brees?
Two words: Matt Flynn.
I was teetering on the verge of giving the award to Rodgers. That was until I witnessed the efficacy of Matt Flynn last Sunday against a team that was fighting for playoff seeding.
6 TD’s and almost 500 yards passing.
Now, I may be mistaken and this could all be conjecture, but I am almost certain given the same set of circumstances, Chase Daniels (Brees’ backup) could not have
produced the same results.
Flynn also played admirably in a game last season against the Pats. I remember it because Rodgers sitting out killed my fantasy team in the playoffs.
Which means if Rodgers has that capable of a backup, he is not necessarily the most valuable player on his team. If anything, the system Rodgers plays in is the MPS—Most Productive System.
Nonetheless, one should not discount Rodgers 4,643 yards passing and his 45-6 TD to INT ratio.
But Brees still gets the MVP.
Offensive Rookie of the Year—Cam Newton (Carolina, QB)
Anyone who is even remotely thinking of giving this award to Andy Dalton because he managed to get his team into the playoffs has cranial rectitis and needs to have it checked out.
Newton’s number on the season: 4,051 yards passing with 21 passing TD’s plus 706 yards rushing for another 14 TD’s.
Carolina may not have won as many games as the Bengals, but if anyone watched a Panthers game this season, they were in pretty much every game this year and lost a bevy of the close ones.
Witnessing Newton’s rookie year essentially impugns any fallacious argument brought up in Denver regarding the aleatory play of their signal caller and why he cannot produce such results.
Defensive Rookie of the Year—Von Miller (Denver, OLB)
In recognizing Miller for this award, I do acknowledge that his production has fallen off and he would struggle to cover a tight end with a blanket. However, before Miller had surgery on his thumb prior to Week 12, Miller was not only the best rookie defender, he was one of the best defenders in the league.
Miller is one of the primary reasons why Denver is in the playoffs. He is a catalyst in Denver’s resurgence from dead last in the league in sacks last season (24), to a tie for 4th this season with over 40.
Miller totaled 11.5 sacks on his own and was a serious threat to the rookie sack record before the injury. Plus the moves that he put on opposing left tackles on his way to the QB were awesome in their own right.
Coach of the Year—Gary Kubiak (Houston)
What? I can hear it all now.
A week ago, I wrote an article stating that I thought John Fox should win the COY award. Yet, after watching a putrid performance by the Broncos last Sunday against a team that had nothing to play for but pride, I changed my mind.
For those who were thinking Harbaugh in San Fran, I already addressed that one last week.
Not to take anything away from Fox. He has still done an amazing job with the Broncos. But Kubiak has taken the Houston Texans to their first ever playoff game.
Not only has he guided them to the playoffs, but he did so with is starting QB going down (Matt Schaub), one of the best receivers in the league being oft-injured, and without his starting tailback at the beginning of the season.
To add more insult to injury—no pun intended—the Texans were also without the services of their best defensive player—Mario Williams—for the year after he tore his pectoral early in the season .
Forget the fact that Houston lost 3 straight to end the season. Instead, focus on the fact that before their QB went down, the Texans were the #1 seed in the AFC. Currently, they boast the #2 defense and the #2 rushing game in the league.
Comeback Player of the Year—Victor Cruz (N.Y. Giants, WR)
I am not even sure if he qualifies for this award, but I do not even care. Cruz was injured in the early portion of last season and that is enough for me.
This season, Cruz has put the nail in the coffin of both the Jets and the Cowboys on back-to-back weekends to conclude the season totaling an astounding 342 receiving yards and 2 TD’s in those two contests.
In doing so, he played a pivotal role in securing a playoff berth for the Giants.
His final stats look something like this: 82 receptions for 1536 yards (18.7 avg) and 9 TD’s.
Victor Cruz made $450k this year. As a comparison, Chad Ochocinco made $450k per reception.
Just goes to show: sometimes it isn’t all about the benjamins. I knew P-Diddy was a liar.
Garbage Bums of the Year
This is my own special award given to those who probably should find a new career path, or, at the very least, check their attitude and realize they are getting a ton of money to play a kid’s game.
DeSean Jackson—Jackson was in a contract year. Instead of playing his hump off and trying to earn that next payday, Jackson acted like a petulant brat who deserves to be paid. He did so by having arguably his worst season of his career.
I do not have a penchant for players who play when they want to and when it is convenient for them. Jackson epitomizes both traits. Plus, he was on my fantasy team this year and screwed me over.
Matt Forte was in a contract year too. He handled the situation completely different.
One other note, Drew Brees is also in a contract year.
Take notes, Mr. Jackson.
Albert Haynesworth—Not much to say here about Albert except this: the Pats haven’t lost since you left, and the Bucs haven’t won since you got there. Stomp on a guy’s head several years ago, have two good seasons, get an egregiously awful contract from an free-spending owner and this is what it comes down to.
Santonio Holmes—He just signed a $55 million contract last season with the Jets. Anyone who saw his demeanor both in the huddle and on the sideline when his team needed him most knows he has been deemed worthy of this award.
The “They Are Who We Thought They Were” Award—The Dallas Cowboys
Am I the only one who knew Dallas would choke that division away? I highly doubt it. But hey, at least Romo should get away unscathed this time. A guy who plays with a collapsed lung, broken ribs and a broken hand all in the same season is far above criticism in my book.
Emerson wrote, “Foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds”.
Maybe you should consider utilizing the services of a GM, Jerry.
Daniel Bogaard writes for TheFanManifesto. Follow him on twitter at @Bogie711.
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