There are several awards already set in stone with regards to who will come out the winner. If it is not clear-cut, then there are two or three players to choose from. Comeback player of the year, offensive player of the year and league MVP will either go to Adrian Peterson or Peyton Manning. Peterson, came up nine yards shy of breaking Eric Dickerson’s single-season rushing record, which was set over two decades ago. Manning missed all of the 2011 season, while having countless neck surgeries in the process. Many people, myself included, believed he wouldn’t play another down in the NFL. But after a slow start, Peyton proved us all wrong, winning 11 straight games, giving the Denver Broncos the number 1 seed in the AFC and finishing the season with 37 touchdowns, over 4,500 passing yards and a passer rating of 105.8.
Defensive Player of the Year will either go to JJ Watt of the Texans or Von Miller of the Denver Broncos. It would be interesting to see two players from the same team come away with Offensive and Defensive Player of the Year, but Watt’s stat sheet speaks for itself: 20.5 sacks, 16 passes defensed and 4 forced fumbles. But aside from the obvious awards, there were several other players who deserve recognition for their play, good and bad. So still in the spirit of giving, here are a few motley awards to players who deserve recognition for their play, but was overshadowed by the prominent play of others.
Best Deep Threat – Josh Gordon, Cleveland Browns
Photo Credit: MCT Direct Photo
The supplemental drafted Wide Receiver proved to the Browns organization and naysayers why he was so special and probably would have been a 1st rounder in the 2013 NFL draft. Gordon recorded 50 receptions in his rookie campaign, for an average of 16 YPC. Depending on how you slice it and what your perception of a deep ball is, Gordon probably led the way in all aspects. He had nine games with a catch of 20 yards or more, and three games with a catch of 40 yards or more, his longest of the season being 71 yards. Running a mid-4.5 40 yard dash at his pro day, some people might have questioned his speed. But they also questioned Larry Fitzgerald’s speed, and look at the damage he has done in the league. Gordon is something special to watch, and despite the firing of coach Pat Shurmur, that Browns team is loaded with young talent, 26 of the 53 man roster slots being players in their first or second year.
Best D3 Player Most People Don’t Know – Jerrell Freeman, Indianapolis Colts
Surprise, surprise! A team full of young talent with a new franchise quarterback replacing one of the greatest of all time, a rookie GM and a rookie Head Coach who fought Leukemia for the majority of the season and was only on the sideline for 4 games of the season managed to win 11 games this year after going 2-14 last year. The play of rookies Andrew Luck, Dwayne Allen, TY Hilton and Coby Fleener might have overshadowed the play of young Linebacker Jerrell Freeman. Freeman attended D3 school Mary Hardin-Baylor and declared for the NFL draft in 2008. He went undrafted, spent a little time with the Tennessee Titans and in the Canadian Football League. He got his big break in 2012 with the Colts. Freeman amassed 145 tackles in his first year as a starter in the NFL, as well as two sacks, a pick and a Forced Fumble. This team is young, fearless and has huge upside. They might not be in the Super Bowl this year, but Coach Pagano, Bruce Arians and that entire staff has done an excellent job at evaluating talent and giving guys a chance to prove themselves. Freeman is proof of that.
Worst Turnover – Mark Sanchez, New York Jets
The Butt fumble was hands down the worst, best, most memorable, horrible fumble in recent memory. On Thanksgiving day, we had two great games early on between the Texans and Lions, and later the Redskins and Cowboys. To cap off the festivities, the majority of the country tuned in to witness a complete debacle of the New York Jets by the New England Patriots. There were several mistakes by the Jets en route to them getting blown out of the water, but the most fascinating moment of the game for everyone who isn’t a Jets fan was when Sanchez attempted to scramble and ran into his own teammate’s gluteus, leading to a fumble recovery by Patriots Safety Steve Gregory. Good going Sanchez.
Grown Ass Man of the Year – Geno Atkins, Cincinnati Bengals
Photo Credit: Jason Bridge – USA TODAY
The 2010 NFL draft consisted of several great athletes, but two Defensive Linemen stuck out the most: Ndamukong Suh and Gerald McCoy. The third wheel Interior Defensive Lineman in that draft was Geno Atkins, who was drafted by Cincy in the fourth round, number 120 overall. Atkins was looked over for reasons such as his height, 6’1”, and scouts thinking he wasn’t big enough to play inside at the next level. He has shut every doubter’s mouth since entering the league. And if one wasn’t convinced prior to this season, they should be now. Atkins recorded 12.5 sacks and 4 forced fumbles in 2012, helping his team secure a playoff birth. That entire defensive line is dangerous, and with the play calling of Defensive Coordinator Mike Zimmer, they are even more dangerous. Mr. Atkins, you are very deserving of this award.
Several other guys such as King Dunlap deserve awards like “Guy you wouldn’t wanna get in a Bar fight with.” And “Biggest Troll” can go to either former Jaguars GM Gene Smith or former Raiders OC Gregg Knapp. But feel free to comment and let us know who you think was deserving of an award, and name the award you would give them.