On Saturday night, before the Super Bowl, the NFL handed out it’s annual honors, going to the best players over the course of the season. In this column, I’m going to go through each one, and decide whether they deserved it or not.
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Odell Beckham J.R.
I was quite surprised when I heard people dispute this. In my opinion, Odell Beckham J.R. was the clearest answer to this award. Cases were made for others, like Mike Evans, but Beckham blew everyone away.
At the end of the season, I knew that the winner of this award would have to be a wide receiver. Beckham was tops on my ballot, but Mike Evans and Sammy Watkins weren’t far behind.
The most impressive thing about Beckham’s season was that he only played 12 games. Due to a hamstring issue, Beckham missed the four games of the year. Reports had the Giants mildly frustrated with him.
But then he was healthy, and was starting. His impact was immediate, and he started blowing people away. Then Week 12 hit, and Beckham blossomed.
Lets just say, that happened. After this catch, possibly the best ever, Beckham went off, and finished the year with 1,305 yards and 12 touchdown receptions.
The guy is freak, and is already turning into a star. Beckham’s role should be expanded next year. He does have a good passer to throw to him. He should be the go-to-guy next season for New York. Have fun, cornerbacks.
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Aaron Donald
This is an award that I actually disagreed with. There weren’t many candidates though. Anthony Barr of the Vikings topped my ballot, as he was a main contributor to a surprisingly good defense.
Aaron Donald had high expectations in the draft, and went around where i figured him to go. The Rams defense is great, and was great before they took Donald, but he added the bulk they were looking for.
Donald has nine sacks in 2014, and forced two fumbles. The Rams have a great set of defensive ends, and Donald turned out to be a nice compliment. I expect him to get even better, and that will make St. Louis a dominant defensive force next year.
Fantasy Player of the Year: Le’Veon Bell
This is a little bit hard for me to comment on, just because I didn’t own Bell in fantasy this past season, but he did turn himself into one of the most exciting running backs in the league.
Bell broke out this year with Pittsburgh, rushing for 1,361 yards and 8 TDs. An improved offensive line helped him out. The offensive line is part of the offense that’s had it’s struggles. Some stability was enforced over the offseason, and that certainly helped out Bell.
Le’Veon Bell is now, in my opinion, one of the best backs in the league, and might be the most exciting to watch. His rookie year was a disappointment, but now, with a improved line, should destined for even bigger things next year.
Comeback Player of the Year: Rob Gronkowski
In 2013, Gronk was a mess. He had forearm and back surgery over the offseason, and didn’t comeback till late in the year, before tearing his ACL. It was a killer blow to the Patriots offense.
This year, Gronk’s return propelled the Patriots to Super Bowl Champions. Really, the Patriots wouldn’t of even been in the Super Bowl if Gronk wasn’t healthy. He means that much to New England’s offense.
I’ll talk more about this later, where Gronk was very disrespected in voting of another award.
Coach of the Year: Bruce Arians
Assistant of the Year: Todd Bowles
Did you really think I’d pick anything else?
I mean seriously! Bruce Arians coached a Cardinals team that STARTED RYAN LINDLEY IN THE PLAYOFFS to 11 wins! Two quarterbacks went down, plus a running back! They still made the playoffs. Also, Todd Bowles got hired by the Jets because of what he did this past year.
I’m sorry. I’m being a total homer. But really, no one should disagree.
Hall of Fame Class 2015: Ron Wolf, Mick Tingelhoff, Junior Seau, Tim Brown, Jerome Bettis, Charles Haley, Will Shields, Bill Polian
This is the class that everyone loves, because some of the guys listed above have been waiting forever. Really, I don’t disagree with anyone of these guys getting voted in. Charles Haley has the most Super Bowl rings out of any player ever with five. He was beast when he played, and made his impact on two different dynasties. Jerome Bettis was a fullback who had the skills to play running back, and the Steelers treated him like that during his career. The guy couldn’t be tackled. He was litterally a bus. Tim Brown is one of the best Oakland Raiders ever. There was no question he’d be voted in.
Ron Wolf and Bill Polian are some of the best executives we’ve had, and were certainly the creme of the crop over the past 20 years. Their team-builidng skills put together great teams. Will Shields and Mick Tingelhoff are another group of offensive lineman who’ve been waiting forever. Tingelhoff handed the ball to Fran Tarkenton for his career, and appeared in four Super Bowls with Minnesota. Will Shields was one of the best lineman of the ’90s, making an All-Pro team in what seems like every year he played. Shields also blocked for running backs like Marcus Allen, who my Mom has always acclaimed as one of her favorite football players of all-time.
Junior Seau was incredible. Outstanding. Seau, for me, was one of the role models in the league. He was one of the first guys I knew within the NFL growing up. The guy was a beast. His suicide in 2012 was tragic, for everyone within the NFL and truly sports fans. He never gave up on any play, and his tenacity and love of the game was never in question. He deserves this.
Defensive Player of the Year: J.J. Watt
I could put the Nicholas Cage picture here again, but that would be obsessive. J.J. Watt is just an animal. You can’t stop him. His interior moves are ridiculous.
Watt got his money, and he only made himself look worth it this past season. With 20.5 sacks and four fumbles, the guy is unblockable. Watt’s also just getting started with his career at 25 years of age. He’s gonna be around awhile.
The Texans have a great defense even without Watt. He applies the bull rush on the line. He’s the Texans main run stopper, while also getting to the QB. Houston’s linebackers then drop into coverage in the short and mid-field.
Watt isn’t the most valuable player in the league, however. He plays defense, which hurts his stock. Defense wins championships, but it’s a more of team game on defense. You have to do your job. On offense, some guys are able to do it their self.
I think the MVP turned out the right way. Watt got the right amount of votes. The case for him was there. The guy below was just a tad better.
MVP: Aaron Rodgers
There wasn’t any doubt in my mind that Aaron Rodgers would get this award. It may be unfair, but QBs get the advantage. I say it a ton, but you have to have a QB in this league to win. That’s why Rodgers got it.
His stats too were ridiculous. He threw for 4,381 yards and 38 TDs. That’s insane. His overall rating this year was 112.2, and he only threw five interceptions! FIVE! Rodgers may not have had the ending he imagined to the season, but the Packers will back next year. With that bad man at QB, there’s no way.
I want to take a look at others who received votes for the MVP. Here’s the list
Aaron Rodgers-31 (winner)
WHAT? WHAT? BOBBY WAGNER?
That was mine and everyone else’s mindset when the ballot was released. Yes, Wagner is a great linebacker who helped Seattle start playing like the defending champions later in the year, but in no way is he the MVP of the league. Tony Dungy casted the vote for him, and tried to defend himself on Twitter, but, well, sorry man. Nobody (NOBODY) agrees with you.
Watt got the right amount of votes. As I said above, the case for him was there.
I found Tony Romo getting votes quite funny. Yes, he had a great year, and improved himself and his team, but I’d put Tom Brady way higher than Romo. His running back, Demarco Murray, had a breakout year, and put up some gaudy stats, but again, there were better options. Murray, in my opinion, would’ve had to break 2,000 yards for his case to be higher.
My biggest problem with the MVP ballot is the fact that Rob Gronkowski got ZERO votes. None. As I said above, I didn’t expect him to win it, but he should have gotten some consideration. He definitely deserved the Comeback award, but his impact on the Patriots offense is huge.
Without Gronk, I don’t believe the Patriots would be Super Bowl Champions. Yes, Tom Brady is their QB, but really, who would Brady have to throw to without Gronk? It’d be a bunch of slot, speedy guys. New England would have no downfield threat for Brady to throw to. Gronk did everything this year, and I can’t stress enough how much he means to the Patriots. He should have gotten Bobby Wagner’s vote. Blames on you, Tony Dungy.