28 January 2015

2014 NFL Awards

NFL Honors, America's most necessary awards show, returns once again this Saturday evening where they will recognize the best players, plays and more from what was the 2014 NFL season ahead of Super Bowl XLIX. I like to rag on this event ever year but I'll hold my fire this go-around; instead, here are my awards for this NFL season.

Preseason Predictions
Midseason Awards

Most Valuable Player - Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
For better or worse this award has essentially because a quarterback award, meaning that Rodgers is, in all likelihood, going to win this award. I would pick J.J. Watt to win this award as he simply had an amazing season defensively and made an impact on the offensive end as well, and who knows how good the Texans would have been without him. But nobody should take anything away from a sensational season from Rodgers, who became only the second QB ever to throw at least 35 touchdown passes with five or fewer picks as well as leading the highest-scoring offense for a team that almost got to Glendale.
Runner-Up - J.J. Watt, Houston Texans

Offensive Player of the Year - DeMarco Murray, Dallas Cowboys
In theory, if an offensive player wins MVP should they by extension be the best offensive player as well? Since the criteria here is not entirely clear, that leaves us with a number of candidates for this award. I like Murray here because he had an incredible season running the ball as he was able to play all 16 games, even with a broken hand down the stretch, and was a key difference-maker for a Dallas team that surprised a ton of folks, myself included.
Runner-Up - Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers

Defensive Player of the Year - J.J. Watt, Houston Texans
If a defensive player is in serious contention to win MVP, you can bet your behind that he is a cinch for this award. Watt did not even lead the NFL in sacks (Justin Houston had 22 to Watt's 20.5) but Watt is clearly the most dominant defensive player alive right now in all the ways he impacts a football game from his position.
Runner-Up - Justin Houston, Kansas City Chiefs

Offensive Rookie of the Year - Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants
When Beckham runs away with this award, do not forget that this was a pretty deep rookie field with a number of legitimate contenders. The fact that Beckham was able to own this award even after missing the first four games of the year is damn impressive, as are his numbers (91 catches for 1,305 yards and 12 touchdowns).
Runner-Up - Zack Martin, Dallas Cowboys

Defensive Rookie of the Year - Khalil Mack, Oakland Raiders
This is an interesting debate in my opinion between Mack, who Pro Football Focus rated as the best outside linebacker in the NFL this past season, and Donald, who Pro Football Focus rated as the top defensive tackle in the NFL this season. C.J. Mosley also deserves real consideration as well. I give the slightest of edges to Mack because of his excellent all-around game for the entire season whereas Donald did not start the first four games.
Runner-Up - Aaron Donald, St. Louis Rams

Comeback Player of the Year - Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots
With the way that Gronkowski dominated this season, one would have not thought that he was coming off both a torn ACL and MCL which cut short his 2013. He came back after two straight injury-plagued seasons to have yet another brilliant season as he became the first tight end ever to catch at least 10 touchdowns four times. Not to mention that he is the go-to weapon on a team in the Super Bowl right now as well.
Runner-Up - Rolando McClain, Dallas Cowboys

Coach of the Year - Bruce Arians, Arizona Cardinals
Arians continues to amaze in his still relatively nascent head coaching career. Never mind that his starting quarterback, Carson Palmer, only started six games all season, leaving the team in the hands of Drew Stanton for over half of the season. Never mind that a defense that suffered a number of injuries was one of the more aggressive units in the league (hence their coordinator getting a head coaching gig). Factor all of that in and couple that with the fact that the Cardinals won 11 games and came closer than expected to getting the top overall seed in the NFC.
Runner-Up - Jason Garrett, Dallas Cowboys

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