Favorites for the NFL’s 2013 end-of-season awards
As the 2013 regular season ends and the post-season begins, we can look back and say it’s truly been an amazing season in the National Football League. From Peyton Manning proving his doubters wrong again by breaking record after record, to the emergence of the surprising Carolina Panthers, there have been so many incredible story lines. With that being said, it’s no surprise who the favorite for the NFL’s MVP is, but who are the favorites for the other end-of-season awards? Here are my picks.
Most Valuble Player
Broncos QB – Peyton Manning
Peyton Manning is the epitome of an ageless wonder. After 16 years in the league, Manning boasted his best statistical season of his long career. With a record breaking 5, 477 yards passing, a record breaking 55 touchdown passes, Manning has re-wrote the record books. With a plethora of talented targets like Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker and Eric Decker to name a few, he made it look easy. There’s nobody else I could see winning this award other than the captain of the NFL’s highest scoring offense of all time.
RUNNER UP: LeSean McCoy
Offensive Player of the Year
Eagles RB – LeSean McCoy
He’s back! Philadelphia running back LeSean McCoy had an amazing season after returning from last years season-ending injury. He was explosive, elusive and down right nasty. With 11 total touchdowns and a league-leading 1,607 rushing yards, McCoy was a vital piece of first year coach Chip Kelly’s successful first season. As much as I wanted to pick Jamaal Charles here, McCoy’s ability to magically escape tackles and bust out big gains is truly unmatched.
RUNNER UP: Jamaal Charles
Defensive Player of the Year
Rams DE – Robert Quinn
I went back and forth between Quinn, Kuechly and Mathis on this one, but after realizing what a vital role Quinn played not only in the Rams’ pass rush, but also in run stopping, the decision was an easy one. A half a sack away from leading the league, Quinn was able to get to opposing quarterbacks 19 times this season and was disruptive with 8 forced fumbles and was even able to return one of them for six.
RUNNER UP: Luke Kuechly
Offensive Rookie of the Year
Packers RB – Eddie Lacy
Many people penciled in Keenan Allen for this award, but if you look at what Eddie Lacy was brought in to do for the Packers, there’s no question which offensive rookie contributed more to their team. With 11 touchdowns, and 1,178 yards, Lacy was an answer at running back for the Packers that they have been looking for for a long time. Lacy has been a physical down hill runner that will punish defenders and fight for yards. He’s a perfect compliment to an offense that is known for passing and might be the missing piece on offense that the Packers need for the future.
RUNNER UP: Keenan Allen
Defensive Rookie of the Year
Bills LB – Kiko Alonso
Clam down New York Jets fans. Sheldon Richardson didn’t get snubbed, Kiko Alonso was just a little better. Alonso was Luke Kuecky-esque (who won this award last year) this year. No, he didn’t lead the league in tackles like Kuechly, but he did finish an impressive third. He played very well in pass coverage for the Bills and was able to snag 4 picks on the season. Another thing that a lot of people don’t realize is how long Alonso stayed on the field; he was on the field for almost 1,200 snaps. Wow.
RUNNER UP: Sheldon Richardson
Coach of the Year
It would have been easy to hand this award to Ron Rivera, Andy Reid or Chip Kelly for their amazing turnarounds, but there’s no way you can ignore what Belichick did in New England this past season. After losing the explosive Wes Welker to free agency and Aaron Hernandez to..well… ya know, the odds were already against the Patriots before the season even started. The problems kept piling up, their star tight end Rob Gronkowski couldn’t stay healthy, Stevan Ridley caught the fumble-bug and they lost Jerod Mayo, Vince Wilfork and Tom Kelly to injury. With all of that going against them, the New England Patriots were still able to finish 12-4 and secured the number two seed in the AFC…. But how?An experienced and smart coaching staff and a future hall of fame quarterback stood in the midst of turmoil and made it happen. Throwing to the likes of players such as, Kembrelll Thompkins, Aaron Dobson and relying on the services of LeGarrette Blount. I could keep naming names, but you wouldn’t recognize them and it was just get plain tedious. But there is no denying that Belichick and company did a hell of a job this season and have added to Belichick’s already hall of fame worthy legacy.
RUNNER UP: Ron Rivera
Comeback Player of the Year
One of the unsung heroes of the dominant rising of the Carolina Panthers’ defense, Thomas Davis has battled back from not one, not two, but THREE ACL surgeries to have an incredible season finishing with 123 tackles. Davis was told to hang up the helmet by many doctors and experts after his final surgery, but one doctor had faith in Davis and gave him the confidence he needed to keep on keeping on. Davis’ super-human abilities are even more amazing considering that only 66% of players that undergo ACL reconstruction play another NFL game, and Davis has had three.
RUNNER UP: Terrell Suggs
Most Surprising Team
For a team that has been a push-over the last few years, this season has been a long time coming. After going 1-3 in their first 4 games, the Panthers were off to their normal terrible start and many were questioning if head coach Ron Rivera would even make it through the season. Not only did Rivera make it through the season, he made it into the conversation for coach of the year as he brought the Panthers from a 1-3 joke, to NFC South Champions and the NFC’s number two seed.
RUNNER UP: Kansas City Chiefs
Most Disappointing Team
What change in scenery in Houston. This time last year the Texans were coming off of a 12-4 season and won their first playoff game in franchise history. Hopes were high in Houston for this season as the team was ready to have another great regular season and hopefully make a deep run into the playoffs. Well, that dream didn’t even come close to becoming a reality as the Texans won their first two games, but dropped their remaining 14 games and had their head coach fired in the process. Their former starting quarterback Matt Schaub was embarrassed and benched for rookie Case Keenum and their star running back Arian Foster was lost for the season early. The only bright spot for this team was their stellar defensive play-maker JJ Watt’s performance. With the number one overall pick in next years quarterback-rich draft, the Texans might be able to right the ship next season, but that remains to be seen.
RUNNER UP: Washington Redskins
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