With the NFL regular season finally completed, it’s time to hand out some hardware to some of the year’s best performers. SSF writers Rovitz and Samerochocinco have the regular awards like Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year, plus some other innovative awards you can (probably) only find here at SSF!
Most Valuable Player
Rovitz – I have to give this year’s MVP to Peyton Manning of the Indianapolis Colts. To me, the key word is “valuable” and no player was more valuable to his team’s success this year than Manning. He had basically no running game and had to break in two new wide receivers in the process. Manning also had the most accurate year of his career. If the Colts had played out the last two games and finished up 16-0, there would be no debate about this selection. Take Peyton off of this Colts team, and they would be lucky to sniff .500. To me, that’s what makes him worthy of being an MVP.
Samerochocinco – All your points are valid, Rovitz, but to steal from some analyst’s inevitable commentary, the “V” in “MVP” should also stand for Versatile. Coupling that with my hatred for Peyton Manning, I say the MVP goes to Chris Johnson of the Tennessee Titans. The guy had over 2,000 rushing yards, but on top of that, had over 500 receiving yards. He had more receiving yards than some average receivers, such as Justin Gage, Deion Branch, Bryant Johnson, Eddie Royal, and Ted Ginn Jr. That’s unbelievable to me. Chris Johnson was basically playing two positions, and I don’t have proof, but I bet he set some blocks too, because he’s Chris Motherfucking Johnson. The Titans would have been screwed if they didn’t have a monster at the halfback position to help ease Vince Young into his starting role without putting too much pressure on him.
Offensive Player of the Year
Rovitz – I give this one to the most dominating and difficult player to stop in the NFL, Chris Johnson. He broke the 2000-yard barrier, and dominated all season long. If his team hadn’t started off 0-6, he would have gotten much much more consideration for MVP, but as it stands, he is my Offensive Player of the Year by a landslide.
Samerochocinco – This award should go to none other than Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers. He threw for 30 touchdowns and only seven interceptions, less picks than Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, and Philip Rivers. Rodgers also ran for five touchdowns, proving that he’s surprisingly mobile. Considering he did all of this while getting endlessly sacked due to the shoddy Green Bay offensive line, you have to give it to him.
Defensive Player of the Year
Rovitz – This was a hard one for me to pick. Having seen first-hand the damage that Charles Woodson of the Green Bay Packers did, and also seeing Darrelle Revis of the New York Jets basically eliminate one side of the field, it was a coin flip. But I give it to Darrelle Revis just based on the fact that he saw better competition all season long, and dominated every wide receiver Revis had to go up against. Name a big receiver, and he shut them down. Sure, Revis may not have made as many big plays as Woodson, but to completely erase one side of the field, that means a lot.
Samerochocinco – I don’t really like him, and he seems like an asshole in real life, but Jared Allen of the Minnesota Vikings gets my vote. He was constantly disrupting quarterbacks and breaking through offensive lines, and ended this season with 14.5 sacks, one interception, five forced fumbles, and three fumble recoveries, with one resulting in a touchdown. Allen’s a very valuable asset to the Vikings when it comes to rushing the passer and creating turnovers.
Offensive Rookie of the Year
Rovitz – There was nobody who stood out more, and made more big plays on offense in their rookie season that Percy Harvin of the Minnesota Vikings. He was terrific on special teams, running the ball, and making catches. Harvin did everything the Vikings asked of him, and put up some very nice numbers in the process. With his speed and versatility, Harvin could be a valuable weapon for a long time.
Samerochocinco – I can’t really argue with Rovitz on this one, as Percy Harvin has done incredibly well in his rookie season. I’d suggest Knowshon Moreno’s name in the mix, but Harvin’s been more versatile and effective.
Defensive Rookie of the Year
Rovitz – Brian Cushing of the Houston Texans gets my vote. It could very easily been Clay Matthews of the Green Bay Packers as well, but from day one Cushing came in and has been amazingly solid and consistent all season long. What more can you ask for out of a rookie linebacker? Definitely worth Pro Bowl selection this year as well.
Samerochocinco – A defensive rookie that had a lot of buzz mid-season and faded away a little bit, Jairus Byrd of the Buffalo Bills deserves this. He started 11 of 14 games, and switched from cornerback, the position he played at Oregon, to safety for the Bills after injuries to their starting safeties. Byrd recorded nine interceptions and 45 tackles, and that wasn’t even in 16 games. He was put on injured reserve on December 23, and was a key factor in getting the Buffalo pass defense so high in the rankings. Byrd was also selected to the Pro Bowl despite his inability to play due to his injury. He had a huge effect that no one predicted, and deserves the honor.
Coach of the Year
Rovitz – If the Colts hadn’t mailed it in and the Saints hadn’t completely collapsed down the stretch, then Sean Payton and Jim Caldwell would have been neck-and-neck for this, but because they did, I have to give it to Marvin Lewis of the Cincinnati Bengals. No coach dealt with more this season than he did. For the Bengals to have a great season and win the AFC North was a remarkable coaching job by him.
Samerochocinco – I absolutely agree with your pick for this category, and if Lewis doesn’t win it, the system screwed up. He coached a team that went 6-0 in the AFC North, and he gave the Bengals an identity. For the sake of variety, however, I throw Rex Ryan’s name in the contest. After last year’s Brett Favre fiasco and the firing of Eric Mangini to fulfill the scapegoat role, the New York Jets seemed to be doomed to the bottom of the AFC East without a legitimate quarterback. In comes Ryan, a defensive coordinator from the Baltimore Ravens who helps with drafting Mark Sanchez and attaining some players on defense like Bart Scott. He gave the team an identity, like Lewis, and expected the best out of them from the first day. He’s also been a great character for use by Kissing Suzy Kolber and a source of humor for MemeGenerator. After a loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, Ryan was crying, and it was visible that he was completely devoted to this team. The Jets might have eked into the playoffs because of two teams not trying, but Ryan isn’t going to be happy with just an appearance. He’s making sure that his team knows they have just as much of a right to get to the Super Bowl as any other team fighting for it now.
Rovitz – I’m banking this one on a strong last name, but for me it’s Devin Aromashodu of the Chicago Bears. Go ahead, yell that last name out loud a couple times and tell me you aren’t enjoying it. I dare you.
Samerochocinco – Rovitz and I agreed to limit this award only to players who are currently on a team, so DeMarcus Faggins, my favorite name ever, was out, as he is a free agent right now. I went back to my Best Names posts (shameless ancient plug: AFC and NFC) for some help, and found out that H.B. Blades is still on the Washington Redskins. When I found out that the “H.B.” part stands for “Horatio Benedict,” there was no way I wasn’t picking him. Horatio Benedict Blades. Don’t try and tell me that’s not the coolest name ever.
Rovitz – On paper, it looked like one of the worst matchups of the entire NFL season, with 1-8 Cleveland traveling to take on 1-8 Detroit. But it turned into the best game of the year, and an absolute barn-burner that saw one of the most courageous, and dramatic finishes to a football game I have ever seen. Just watch the highlights and you’ll see what I mean.
If that wasn’t dramatic enough, watch Matthew Stafford get killed at the end of the game and come back in to throw the winning TD pass with a separated shoulder. Fast forward to the 3:30 mark for the last couple plays and the injury. This whole video is amazing though, and I highly recommend watching the whole thing.
Samerochocinco – Rovitz’s choice is a great game, but unfortunately one that few people saw. I considered the Bengals-Ravens game after Cincinnati defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer’s wife died and he chose to coach and help the Bengals win, but I didn’t personally see that game, just the highlights. Out of the games I watched this season, I would have to say the Thursday night game between the Cleveland Browns and the Pittsburgh Steelers was the best game. It wasn’t pretty, and it was on the NFL Network, but it was incredibly entertaining.
After the Steelers had begun to slump mid-season, coach Mike Tomlin claimed that Pittsburgh would “unleash hell” in December. That never happened. What did happen, however, was a 13-6 Cleveland win over Pittsburgh, the first time in nine years that the Browns have beaten the Steelers. It sparked a four-game winning streak that Cleveland kept through the end of the season, and gave coach Eric Mangini a much better chance of returning as head coach next season. A team like the Browns can do unbelievable things when it’s down at the bottom of the standings. Playing spoiler can be incredibly entertaining.
Here are some highlights of that game. Just watch the dominance of the Cleveland defense and Joshua Cribbs. Honestly, watching the Browns players celebrating at the end of this video puts a smile on my face. Believeland.
If you have any agreements/complaints for any of the awards, please leave them in the comments or email us.