The 2nd annual NFL Honors, hosted by actor Alec Baldwin again this year, was once again the life of the party, handing out zingers all over the place. From Roger Goodell to Christian Ponder to Archie Manning to Ndamukong Suh to Jim Brown, Baldwin didn't play favorites and appeared to be roasting the entire league––current and past.
All in good fun, of course.
So though we were made aware of the award winners prior to the 9 p.m. (eastern time) airing of the two-hour long show, it was worth every minute watching Baldwin in action as the players, coaches and family/friends of the players gathered for the celebration in New Orleans.
Here's a rundown of all of the awards and All-Out Blitz's take on each one:
Most Valuable Player––Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings RB
Though it was the last trophy awarded Saturday, I'll put this one first because it's clearly the most coveted award given. Peterson single-handedly led the Vikings to the postseason following a 2,097 rushing yard performance, second-most in a single-season in NFL history and just nine yards short of surpassing Eric Dickerson's record.
Personally I'm a bit surprised the voters didn't hand the award to a quarterback (Manning, Brady, Griffin III, etc.), but this was definitely the correct choice in 2012 MVPs.
Offensive Player of the Year––Adrian Peterson
Ah, yes. Peterson took this one too. I always liked it when the MVP and the OPOY awards were handed to different players for the simple idea of keeping parity within the league. But obviously Peterson was the most deserving considering he was also the MVP of the regular season.
With the league becoming more and more of a passing league, we may not see too many more single-season performances similar to Peterson's 2012 season in quite a while. Enjoy it while you can, folks.
Defensive Player of the Year––J.J. Watt, Houston Texans DE
There were multiple players that were very deserving of this award, most of which were also second-year players like Watt. Whether it was Watt, Aldon Smith of the Niners or Von Miller of the Broncos, all three second-year pass rushers are equally as deserving.
Watt finished with 20.5 sacks, most in the NFL and just 2.5 away from breaking Michael Strahan's single-season sack record of 22.5. Watt and his huge hands also led the league in passes defensed and a category that I like to call "explosions created." It's not an official stat, but it should be. Watt is by far the most disruptive pass rusher in the game today, and he's only just getting started.
Offensive Rookie of the Year––Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins QB
Again, not surprised by who won, but there were also plenty of great candidates in this category as well. Griffin battled multiple injuries throughout the season (concussion and a torn ACL in the postseason), and though the awards aren't based on postseason performance, Griffin still likely got credit for his postseason heroics despite the loss to Seattle....plus, if they were based on postseason performance don't you think Russell Wilson would have come out the winner?
Griffin and his rookie backfield teammate, RB Alfred Morris (also up for the award), built a viable one-two punch coming out of the pistol, and RGIII was both a threat with his arm and his legs. Unbelievable season for a great talent, it's just a shame that his season had to end the way it did.
Defensive Rookie of the Year––Luke Kuechly, Carolina Panthers LB
My off-season DROY pick, would ya look at that! Kuechly appeared to have almost been overlooked, likely based on the team he plays for. Kuechly led the league in combined tackles, with 164 (103 solo) and added 8 passes defensed, 2 interceptions and 3 fumble recoveries in Carolina.
Though he was never flashy throughout his rookie campaign, the 21-year old rookie out of Boston College was the most productive defender out there. And he did it quietly. No trash talk necessary. Perhaps that's why I like him so much?
Comeback Player of the Year––Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos QB
This was a no-brainer to me. There has been a lot of talk about whether Manning or Peterson are more deserving of this award, and there's no doubt it's Peyton. Sure, Peterson had his best season to date and is the MVP, but Manning went from missing the entire 2011 season to being an MVP candidate. Peterson, on the other hand, still fell just 30 yards shy of 1,000 yards and ran for 12 TDs in his 12 starts.
His 4.7 yards per carry average still looks pretty solid despite tearing a shortened season due to his torn ACL and MCL. Peyton, on the other hand, was completely out of action for an entire year and underwent four neck surgeries and what did he do? Oh, just threw for 4,659 yards, 37 TDs and a 13-3 record on his way to a 12th career Pro Bowl appearance. Yeah, I think Peyton had the best comeback season...
Coach of the Year––Bruce Arians, Indianapolis Colts
Arians became the first interim head coach to ever win the Associated Press Coach of the Year award. Filling in for head coach Chuck Pagano after he was diagnosed with leukemia in September, Arians went 9-3 during his 12 games as the head coach of the Colts. Under rookie quarterback Andrew Luck, the Arians-led Colts went to the postseason despite being without the newly-named head coach.
The cool thing about this is that Pagano finished 2nd in the Coach of the Year voting, even though he coached just four games and went 2-2 during those games...and then was one-and-done in the postseason. One of the best stories of the 2012 season, no doubt.
My Off-season Predictions
Lets see how accurate my August predictions (for these same awards) ended up being:
MVP: Arian Foster, Texans
Offensive POY: Aaron Rodgers, Packers
Defensive POY: Patrick Willis, Niners
Offensive ROY: Justin Blackmon, Jaguars (Not even close)
Defensive ROY: Whitney Mercilus, Texans (Again, not even close)
Coach of the Year: Gary Kubiak, Texans (At least they won the division..)
A little Texan-heavy, eh?? Oh well, I came close on a couple right? Anyways, at least all of the awards were handed out to the correct guys. There's only one thing left to do, and that's to play the Super Bowl!
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