Massachusetts Daily Collegian

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A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Predicting the NFL awards

Aaron Rodgers/ Courtesy of the Jim Rome Show

Now that the NFL season is over, it is time to look back on the best of the season. Note that this does not reflect any post-season games.

MVP- Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers
I’d be remiss not to mention the record-breaking season Drew Brees has compiled, along with another sensational season by the one and only Tom Brady. Yet with that being said, no one player individually dominated the NFL season wire to wire like Rodgers has. He has reminded many of Brady’s ‘07 MVP campaign, and has perhaps been even better. I wouldn’t be totally shocked to see a Co-MVP award with Brees, but Rodgers locked up this award in about Week 12 and led his Packers to a remarkable 15-1 record.
Honorable Mentions: Brees, Brady.

Offensive Player of the Year- Drew Brees, QB, Saints
Breaking a 27 year old NFL record is no easy task, especially one held by Dan Marino. Just ask Brees about his 2008 season in which he came 15 yards shy of Marino’s single-season passing record. This year, he made sure he wouldn’t fall short and annihilated the record by tossing for a baffling 5,476 yards in his potent offense. The truth of the matter is, Brees makes it look easy and it would be silly to see this award handed to anyone else.
Honorable Mentions: Tom Brady, LeSean McCoy, Rob Gronkowski.

Defensive Player of the Year- Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, Giants
This is a much tougher award to decipher than the previous two, but Pierre-Paul has turned from a “project with great potential” coming out of the 2010 draft, to an absolute stud on the Giants D-line. In a system that seemingly churns out quality defensive ends by the boatload, (see Strahan, Tuck, Umenyiora) JPP has flourished. He has been a nightmare for quarterbacks and o-linemen alike, garnering 16.5 sacks in only his 2nd pro season.
Honorable Mentions: Suggs, Jared Allen, DeMarcus Ware.

Comeback Player of the Year- Matthew Stafford, QB, Lions
After being the #1 pick in 2009, Stafford has seen his fair share of injuries leading to jokes claiming that he’s made of glass, and could land on injured reserve due to hurt feelings. But now in 2011, Stafford has gotten the last laugh and has shown exactly why he was so highly touted. Becoming only the 4th NFL player to throw for 5,000 yards in a season is no joke, especially when you’re on that list with the likes of Brady, Brees, and Marino. Stafford bounced back to enjoy a healthy, successful season while leading the once hapless Lions to a playoff berth for the first time since 1999.
Honorable Mentions: D’Qwell Jackson, Steve Smith, Elvis Dumervil

Coach of the Year- Jim Harbaugh, 49ers
Leading a team that went 6-10 the year prior to a 13-3 record in 2011 with a first round playoff bye? Not too tall of a task for first-year coach Jim Harbaugh apparently. People can now see why Harbaugh was desired by so many NFL GM’s to lead their team after he completely turned around the Stanford Cardinal program in a mere 4 years. Harbaugh has instilled fire and passion into his team, and has somehow made Alex Smith look like a respectable NFL quarterback.
Honorable Mentions: Jim Schwartz, Gary Kubiak, Mike McCarthy

Offensive Rookie of the Year- Cam Newton, QB, Panthers
With all due respect to the playoff-bound Bengals and Andy Dalton, Cam Newton has perhaps had the greatest rookie season in the history of the NFL. He answered each and every one of his critics by shattering records left and right, and single-handedly making the Panthers look like a formidable team for the future. Newton has inspired hope into Carolina, and definitely looks like a player future free-agents might flock to. He should easily run away with this award.
Honorable Mentions: Dalton, AJ Green, Julio Jones

Defensive Rookie of the Year- Von Miller, LB, Broncos
Tough call here between Miller and 49ers lineman Aldon Smith, but Miller deserves it because he stepped in and started 15 games for Denver, compared to Smith’s zero starts. Yes, Smith fell a half-sack short of Jevon Kearse’s NFL rookie record and it’s quite difficult to make an argument against him, but Miller has been a consistent force all year long by establishing himself as a premiere tackler, and pass rusher.
Honorable Mentions: Smith, Patrick Peterson, JJ Watt

Tyler Galicia can be reached for comment at [email protected].

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