PFT’s 2012 postseason awards

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The Associated Press now unveils its postseason awards the night before the Super Bowl, weeks after most people have stopped caring about the winner.

So we announce ours immediately after the regular season ends.

At a time when you still actually are interested in these matters and not, you know, you’ll win the Super Bowl, here are the men who, in our opinion, deserve special recognition for their accomplishments in the freshly-completed regular season.

Offensive Rookie of the Year.

Winner: Russell Wilson, Seahawks.

Runner-up: Robert Griffin, III, Redskins; Andrew Luck, Colts.

Honorable mention: Alfred Morris, Redskins; Doug Martin, Buccaneers.

The AP award likely will go to either of the top two picks in the draft, but it shouldn’t.  Wilson entered the league short on height and long on smarts and talent and determination.  Russell Wilson commanded the No. 1 spot on the depth chart in Seattle, beating out big-money free-agent Matt Flynn and incumbent starter Tarvaris Jackson, and Wilson then began to prove week-in and week-out that he is as good as his more famous counterparts who were selected much higher.

Despite the 11-5 record for the Colts, Luck had too many turnovers (contributing to a mediocre passer rating of 76.5), and Griffin missed a game and crunch time in another due to an inability to avoid contact.  While Luck broke Cam Newton’s rookie passing yardage record, Wilson tied Peyton Manning’s record for touchdown passes by a rookie — and Wilson showed that he could run the ball effectively (489 yards, four touchdowns) without getting hit or, in turn, hurt.

The best news is that the three rookie quarterbacks all made it to the playoffs, and they’ll all make their postseason debuts on the same day.

Defensive Rookie of the Year.

Winner:  Luke Kuechly, Panthers.

Runner-up:  Janoris Jenkins, Rams.

Honorable mention:  Bobby Wagner, Seahawks; Lavonte David, Buccaneers; Casey Heyward, Packers; Harrison Smith, Vikings.

The ninth overall pick in the draft, Kuechly led the NFL with 164 tackles, finishing 10 short of the rookie record set in 2007 by Patrick Willis.  Kuechly also had 10 games with 10 or more tackles.  In Week Five, he slid from outside linebacker to the middle, where he participated in every snap on defense for the rest of the season.

Jenkins, a second-round steal, instantly became a dangerous cover man and return specialist.  He could soon be one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL.  Some may say he already is.

Coach of the Year.

Winner:  Bruce Arians/Chuck Pagano, Colts.

Runner-up:  Leslie Frazier, Vikings.

Honorable mention:  Mike Shanahan, Redskins; Pete Carroll, Seahawks; John Fox, Broncos; Mike Smith, Falcons.

The best coach routinely is determined based on a team’s actual performance relative to its expected performance.  This year, no team exceeded expectations more than the Colts, who won 11 games a season after winning only two.  Pagano and Arians combined to generate a wild-card berth despite Pagano’s three-month absence due to leukemia treatments, as part of a run that included seven come-from-behind wins.

Frazier and the Vikings improved their win total by seven, going from 3-13 to 10-6 and a playoff berth secured on the last day of the season against the Packers.  Shanahan and the Redskins reeled off seven straight to secure the NFC East after Shanahan seemingly threw in the towel on the 2012 season.  (And all future coaches whose teams are 3-6 after nine games will do the same.)

In all, three of the six worst teams from 2011 have vaulted to the playoffs only one year later, providing real hope to every other non-playoff team, in 2013 and beyond.

Comeback Player of the Year.

Winner:  Peyton Manning, Broncos; Adrian Peterson, Vikings.

The two greatest comebacks in NFL history came in the same year.  For Manning, the return from multiple neck surgeries was unprecedented.  For Peterson, his performance following a Christmas Eve 2011 ACL tear was equally stunning and unlikely.  Both deserve the recognition, and it’s only fair for them to share it.

It’s also only fair that there be no one else mentioned as the runner-up or otherwise.  Manning and Peterson are in their own class on this one, and no one else comes close.

Executive of the Year.

Winner: John Elway, Broncos.

Runner-up: John Schneider, Seahawks.

Honorable mention: Ryan Grigson, Colts; Rick Spielman, Vikings; Les Snead, Rams.

Elway wanted Peyton Manning in large part because it gave Elway cover to dump Tim Tebow.  The gamble (in light of Manning’s recent medical history) paid off in a major way, making other teams (like perhaps the Texans) wish they’d done more to land one of the greatest players in NFL history.  Though making the move for Manning is enough on its own, hiring coach John Fox in 2011 after a two-win season in Carolina, picking linebacker Von Miller in last year’s draft, and not giving up on Knowshon Moreno are icing on a cake that Elway has been masterfully baking for the past two season — even though Elway entered the job with fry-cook credentials.

Schneider found a quarterback who could become one of the best current signal-callers in the league in round three of the draft, five spots after the Jaguars picked a punter.  Schneider likewise rolled the dice in round one on Bruce Irvin, a controversial pick who panned out as a rookie.  Throw in linebacker Bobby Wagner in round two and the prudent decision to re-sign Marshawn Lynch, and Schneider had a lot to do with the team’s unexpected success in 2012.

Grigson quickly turned around a talent-challenged roster with a strong draft and the ability to make good decisions about who should stay and who should go, bringing back Reggie Wayne and keeping Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis.  His success will make more owners opt for young, grinding scouts.

Offensive player of the year.

Winner:  Adrian Peterson, Vikings.

Runner-up:  Calvin Johnson, Lions.

Honorable mention:  Drew Brees, Saints; Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks.

Peterson is the easy and obvious choice, given that he rushed for 2,097 yards, the second most in NFL history.

Johnson set the single-season record for receiving yardage with 1,964, and Brees threw for more than 5,000 yards for the third time in his career.  Lynch’s performance gets lost in Peterson, but the guy the Bills gave away has become one of the best running backs in the league.

Defensive Player of the Year.

Winner:  J.J. Watt, Texans.

Runner-up:  Von Miller, Broncos.

Honorable mention: Aldon Smith, 49ers; Charles Tillman, Bears.

Watt was a wire-to-wire disruptive force for the Texans.  Beyond his league-leading sack total (20.5), Watt has shattered the mold for 3-4 defensive ends.  Miller is becoming one of the best 4-3 outside linebackers in the NFL, and Smith has emerged as the top 3-4 pass-rushing outside linebacker.

Amazingly, all three players are in only their second seasons in the NFL.


Winner:  Adrian Peterson, Vikings.

Runner-up: Peyton Manning, Broncos.

Honorable mention: J.J. Watt, Texans; Aaron Rodgers, Packers; Tom Brady, Patriots; Matt Ryan, Falcons.

Many have wrestled with this one for weeks, determined to give it to Manning but keeping an open mind for Peterson.  It would have been easy to say Peterson gets it only if he sets the single-season rushing record.  It’s harder to accept that he missed it (by 27 feet) but still deserves it.

In the end, Peterson’s value to his team simply outweighs Manning’s — even though Peyton once again has had a season to remember, shrewdly picking a talented team with an easy schedule and pushing the franchise to the top seed in the AFC.  Last year, however, the Broncos made it to the final eight without Manning.  This year, the Vikings would have been nothing without Peterson, a man who overcame a serious knee injury to become better than he ever was.

Moreover, at a time when we are more sensitive than ever before to the damage inflicted on the bodies of NFL players, Peterson earned every yard, foot, and inch that he gained.  Even the long runs came after he ran through a potential tackler.  Or two.  Or five.

So that’s the full list.  Feel free to agree or disagree in the comments.

102 responses to “PFT’s 2012 postseason awards

  1. THANK GOD! Someone else realized that the broncos were a playoff team last year! You would think they didnt have a franchise before Peyton got to town. Fact is they made the final eight with….. wait for it….. Tim Tebow was their QB. Peterson deserves this award in so many ways!

  2. Last year the Vikings WERE nothing with ap. I think the Vikings as a TEAM overcame the struggles of ponder but ap has been there for 5 years now. Nothing new like peyton who went to a team that yes made the playoffs with tebow but also couldn’t win a game with or tan. Also the broncos were 8-8 and a divisional winner much like Seattle at 7-9 and with peyton theyare now the #1 team in the afc. The Vikings are still just a wild card team and ap had a legandary season. That also shows about how far a great running back can get you alone

  3. First, Janoris Jenkins would have been my choice for Defensive Rookie of Year with Harrison Smith as the runner-up. Both made huge impacts on their teams this season and kept their teams relevant in the hunt for the playoffs.

    Second, Drew Brees should NOT be included in the same list of Offensive Player of the Year. He had a couple of really awful games and could only muster a 7-9 performance – something you shouldn’t blame on Roger Goodell.

    Third, thank you for recognizing Adrian Peterson for being the true MVP he is. I am convinced that if he hadn’t held back, he would have tacked on at least 2,300 this season. He’s the greatest running back of this generation and the Vikings and their fans are lucky to have a classy, team-first athlete. Here’s to a great post season and an unlikely run in the playoffs.

  4. Elway for Executive of the Year? Grigson, Schnieder, Sneed, even the Redskins GM are more deserving. Schnieder found gems everywhere in the draft this past year… this coming from a 49ers fan.

  5. Only one rookie was awarded rookie of the week seven times and only one rookie was sent to the probowl but yeah, ROY should go to someone else because RG3 was supposed to be good.

  6. Take Peterson out of Minnesota and put in Peyton manning as their QB and they’d be a legit top seed Superbowl threat… Not just a boarderline playoff team.

    Take Manning out of Denver and put Peterson as their RB and they would be another boarderline playoff team. Not a legit Superbowl threat.

    Great year from both players, but Manning is the MVP

  7. i agree with pretty much all of these, though I probably would say Ryan Grigson deserves Exec. of Year for the the total roster transformation in Indy. I think someone said 42 new players from last year. That is unheard of, plus they won 11 games with that roster.

  8. So Russell Wilson TIES, not breaks any rookie records. He runs for less yards than RGIII. He throws for less yards than Luck. And he deserves ROY? Sure that’s logical. Let’s also look at teams as a whole. RGIII has Morris (who now holds the single season rushing record for the Skins) on his side of the ball to go along with vet WR’s in Garcon and Moss, . Wilson has Lynch, a top back in the league, along with a stout O-Line and D that has kept them in everygame. Luck? He has a terrible D, rookie recievers, a replacement coach, and NO running game whatsoever. He carried his team into the playoffs despite all of these things. And yet he gets no recognition. That’s about as logical as anything that comes out of logicalvoicesays.

  9. Good list except for perhaps the Executive of the Year and Elway. Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out Peyton Manning is going to make your team better. No mention of Bruce Allen? Was to told 5 minutes before the start of free agency that he has 20 million less to spend that the rest of the league, had the big ones to pull the RGIII trade, Morris in the 6th, and had enough depth on the roster to win the NFC East despite missing four defensive starters more most of the season. No brainer to me. Allen did the most with the least

  10. Thank you for pointing out the easy season the broncos had. Nobody seems to do that. Only legit wins were against the bengals and the ravens. Half of their wins were against horrible division opponents. Their three losses were to playoff teams.

  11. AD MVP
    -Knee surgery
    -From a 3 win lottery team to a 10 win playoff team
    -2,000+ yard season, 9 Shy of record. While consistently facing 8-9 man boxes.
    -Sub-standard performance from QB
    -Throw-back player in a pass-happy league

  12. “Watt has shattered the mold for 3-4 defensive ends. ”

    Was it repaired after Bruce Smith?

    Watt may turn out to be a better player than Smith but he’s going to have to play a long time to prove it.

  13. OROY should clearly go to RGIII. The difference between RGIII and Wilson is that Wilson has six more TDs, but five more INTs, and half the rushing stats of RGIII. Not to mention RGIII greatly assisted in turning a perennial loser into a playoff team, where the Seahawks have been an under-the-radar good team for the past few years. Wilson is a very good, young QB, but the advantage has to go to RGIII given both statistics and game impact.

  14. I’m glad to see the logical voice is wrapped up in trivial awards like rookie of the year, there is only one award of relevance and it is a team award, I think RG3 is the winner of OROY, maybe he will be ready for the big boy trophy someday. I would think a logical voice would know that nobody will remember who was rookie of the year in 5 years but they remember who is Super Bowl champ…. Patriots

    I’ll be happy to overnight you a box of Kleenex after they have the pleasure of putting the skins in their place if they make it to the big game:)

  15. Wilson had a good year but RGIII was better. RGIII set rookie records for QB rating and percentage of passes intercepted on a team with less talent and much larger expectations on his shoulders. Wilson is runner up, Morris is third, and Luck is fourth (too many picks to be in the consideration). As one other commenter said, otherwise, the award is a sham.

  16. Also hate the stat “leading te league in tackles.” All that really tells me is that your D-Line is thin, guys get to the second level easily, but good thing you can wrap up. When I look for a DROY, I look for the game changing stats- INTs, FFs, sacks, tackle for loss, etc. Those are the stats that matter. Those make and break games much more than “He had 10 tackles today, granted all were after 5-10 yard completions.”

  17. Anyone who thinks AD is not this year’s MVP is foolishly mistaken about the meaning of “most valuable.” The Vikings would be a 2 to 4 win team without him. The Broncos were a playoff team without Peyton. I love Peyton, but there is no real discussion to be had.

  18. So let’s get this straight.

    Marshawn Lynch is listed as a runner up for Offensive Player of the Year. He’s sitting at 1,590 rushing yards and 11 rushing TD’s
    Alfred Morris is unlisted. He’s sitting at 1,613 yards and 13 rushing TD’s

    I can excuse that though, I imagine Florio had that post planned prior to Morris’s giant night.

    As to Offensive ROY

    Robert Griffin had more passing yards, more rushing yards, more rushing TD’s, a better completion percentage, half as many interceptions, a better passer rating, and better QBR.

    Wilson had more passing TD’s. That’s it.

    In terms of team accomplishments, Wilson’s Seahawks won more games but RG3’s Redskins won their division.

    RG3 missed a game, this is correct. Meanwhile, Wilson’s coach admitted to trying not to “overexpose” him for the first half of the season limiting his chances during that time of having the contact that RG3 had all season long. However, even without that game, their amount of attempts IDENTICAL, 393 for both. So in the same amount of passing work, Griffin outdid Wilson in every single category but TD’s.

    You don’t win ROY because you’re a great story (If you did, the #2 rusher in the league who was picked 3 rounds after Wilson and had far less of a college pedigree would be winning it), you win it for your play. There’s no way one can say, over the course of the year, that Russell Wilson had the better rookie season.

    I’m not one of those fans who thinks if our guy doesn’t get picked people are “haters”. Florio’s been very kind in the coverage of the Skin’s this year. I think this is a matter of Florio getting caught up in a wonderful near term story instead of looking at the whole of the season and looking at who had the best season not the best story.

  19. Jeff Fisher should have been an honorable mention for Coach of the Year. He came to a franchise that’s been a doormat since 2005, put the youngest team in the NFL on the field, and turned in a 7, 8 and 1 record.

  20. I agree with most of these, especially Adrian Peterson with the MVP.

    The one thing that stood out was overlooking Chandler Jones getting at least a mention for Defensive Rookie of the Year. If Jones had played all 16 games, he should have run away with the award, even over Kuechly. He was a dominant force before his injury, and still quite good after it.

  21. It’s easier to take a team that is bad and make them pretty good than it is to take a team that is pretty good and make them elite. Peyton Manning took an 8-8 team and led them to the number one seed in the AFC. To me that’s MVP credentials.

    Moreover, the QB position is more key than the RB position due to the decision making that is required.

    I respect Peterson and I wouldn’t object to him getting Offensive POY (as Brees did last year), but there’s no way he is as valuable as Peyton Manning. Let them both hit the FA market at the same time and that fact would become obvious.

  22. Peyton choose a team that had an easy schedule, a team that made the playoffs as an 8-8 team with Tim Tebow as there QB, and a division that had no other team over .500 and two teams with the top three picks. Peyton had it easy in Denver. Adrian Peterson came just 9 yards short of the single season record after tearing two ligaments in his knee just over a year ago. In Erik Dickersons record season he ran the ball more that what Adrian did this year and fumbled 14 times while Adrian only did 4 times. With the yards Adrian racked up in the month of December alone, he would rank something like 17th in the NFL.

    Peyton took an 8-8 team and gave them 4 more wins. Adrian put the team on his back when our QB was only throwing less than 100 yards in some games and led the Vikings into the playoffs for 7 more wins than they had last year.

    There is no doubt that Adrian is the MVP of the league, he took a below average team and pushed them further than anyone in the NFL predicted.

  23. Peterson getting comeback player is like saying anyone who misses a couple games is up for it next year? So hamstring guy, concussion guy, sprained ankle guy, are all candidates since they missed a couple games. While awesome that he was able to do what he did, he doesn’t belong in the category.

  24. To not give Ryan Grigson Executive of the Year is a travesty, a sham, and a mockery. It’s a traveshamockery!!!! He made the decision to get rid of the franchise QB and a host of overpaid and overyly hurt vets that were all fan favorites. The team has over $30 million in dead cap space. He hit on every single draft pick and, after the last few weeks, that 2nd round pick for Vontae Davis is paying off. He is hands down the Executive of the Year. No one else has made as many huge decisions and has made better chicken soup from chicken sh*t.

  25. So for All the people Screaming take AP off Minn and put PM there and vise versa a jackA&$ argument! Who would Peyton throw to and who would be his running back. For that same argument i say what if PM faced 8 DB’s every play like AP face 8 men boxes, and he still had to throw with no run game like AP plays with no passing game. Could he still get the Job Done? For all the yeah he cans!! LIARS! You don’t know ya guessing. WE ALL just witnessed what AP did every game against 8-9 men boxes. No guess work needed! He rush for more yards this season 2000+ than His STARTING QB PASSED FOR! And they made the playoffs. Minn won because they controlled the clock with AP. oh by the way Denver has a STUD Defense. Minn has….. An Average D!

    #AP = MVP

  26. Why does everyone assume that The MVP award should go to the player who is most valuable to their team? It’s really the “best player in the whole league” not “best player on their team” award. Is Adrian Peterson the best player in the NFL? Debatable. Is he the best player on the Vikings? Most definitely. The best player in the league to me has to play the most important position, quarterback. The best quarterback this year? Tom Brady. He beat Peyton Manning head-to-head, and Denver has a better defense than New England. Tom Brady is your MVP.

  27. Sorry, RGIII gets OROY. He performed at a consistently high level all year long. Russell Wilson had multiple games where he completed less than 50% of his passes and a game where he threw 3 picks. RGIII threw 5 picks all year long. Add in the fact that Griffin came in and outdueled 2 supposedly better QB’s, on a National Stage, 3 different times. That is clutch. He also won Rookie of the Week 7 times and Rookie of the Month once or twice.

    As for Executive of the year, how could it not be Mike Shanahan for the total rebuild he has performed with the Skins, while being illegally robbed of 36 million in cap space? He has a 6th round draft choice being mentioned as a Rookie of the Year candidate. A no-name O Line he put together that is performing as well as any line in the league.

    Take off the blinders and be objective with this. Or, just call the piece, “Players, Coaches and Execs I like better than the ones who will actually win.”

  28. No way Manning should get MVP, easiest schedule/ division, that team already had the talent and was able to win a playoff game with Tebow! He picked to go there for those reasons! I’m not a fan of either team but AP should be MVP! 3-13 to 10-6? After shredding his knee? C’mon man lol

  29. “Shrewdly picked a team with an easy schedule”.
    Thats a completely bogus statement. At the time, the Broncos had one of (if not the) toughest schedule for 2012.

    Yeah great, we backed into the playoffs last year (with Tebow). We did not deserve nor should we have been in the playoffs. The streak of wins we had was more a string of breaks then anything else. Though alot of people attribute that to “Tebow’s will to win”, I just call it lucky. We did have a decent defense that helped out.

    This year, once things started clicking, you can see the difference. The whole vib from the team is much more confident, cohesive, and consistent. He has definitely raised the team’s level of play.

    That being said, they are both great players I dont know who should be the MVP, I think they both are just deserving.

  30. Picking Wilson over Griffin is just a sad attempt to over think things and play the ” hey look at me” contrarian card. On stats and by the eye ball test its not even close. Griffin will win the actual award in a landslide.

  31. I want to congratulate Pittsburgh Steeler fans, for a season for the ages; their incredible drive towards a 7th Lombardi is one of the most memorable seasons of all t – ……… wait, what?????

  32. If Peterson doesn’t win MVP this year, then they should just get rid of it and rename it to “Most Popular QB” of the year award.

  33. Say what you want about Luck having to many turnovers.. the fact is that the Colts simply stunk last year; 2-14 is bad. Remember, the wheels had literally fallen off this team and it was a real question as to how far they were going to fall. Luck turned that whole thing around.

    The Seapigeon’s and Deadskin’s were at least mediocre and only needed “some” improvement.. which they got.

    Luck should win the offensive rookie of the year and honestly should be considered for Most Valuable Player. If you don’t think so then you really need to reconsider how dire the situation was last year in Indy and look at the sudden turn-around.

    PS: Non Indy fan btw.

  34. Grigson had 40+ newcomers, lost his head coach for 12 games (if you think that’s no great shakes, look at what happened in Louisiana), he made the conscious choice to kill $38M in cap money before the season started…and the Colts still won 11 games and made the playoffs.

    Not only is he Exec of the Year, it’s among the handful of best turnarounds I’ve ever seen. Maybe Schneider is in the conversation. But no chance that Grigson should take a back seat to an executive in Elway who essentially made one shrewd free agent signing. Sorry, this shouldn’t even be a close call.

  35. Bah, I should have said 40+ new guys on the roster this season for the Colts…not actual rookies. Still, he deserves it.

  36. We have to remember how terrible the Vikings are. This truly is a horrible team. Ponder has been one of the most disappointing rookies in recent memory. They are a bottom 10 offense without AD, possibly bottom 5.

    This being said, defensive coordinators focus on doing 1 thing with the Vikings – stop AD. Safeties in the box a huge percentage of the time. Stack 8+ in the box.

    To still rush for over 2,000 yards is unreal. Ask the Bears who public enemy #1 is – the answer is AD. They deserved to be a playoff team and were stripped by 1 guy. Yes the O-line and blockers did their part, but the yards after contact is what separates AD.

    Their coach owes him half his paycheck, because he wouldn’t be coaching next year if it wasn’t for AD.

    PS – first round exit to Packers anyway. But he still deserves the trophy.

  37. How is there even a discussion about Rookie of the Year?? RG3 won 7 Rookie of the Week Awards. Luck only won 3. Wilson only won 1. RG3 missed basically 2 weeks with injuries and is still 4 weeks ahead of the others candidates. Alfred Morris has 2 RoW awards, which if my math is correct is more than Russell Wilson’s 1 (and he might get another for his Week 17 200 yard 3TD game yesterday). Kirk Cousins has as many RoW awards as Morris and he isn’t even in the conversation. Don’t just pick your favorite guy and roll with that. You need to back it up with some logic.

  38. Peyton Manning won 11 straight games. Does that matter to the fans? No. Because Tebow won a playoff game after barely managing to go 8-8.

    Adrian Peterson is a great player, but to say he carried his entire team to the playoffs is a huge overstatement.

    Everson Griffen had a huge year, as did Leslie Frasier as a coach. Saying the Vikes are 3-13 without Peterson discredits the team.

    I mean, the Vikes dismantled the Texans (in Houston) without much contribution from Peterson.

    So no, AP is not the “hands down” MVP. It is much, much closer than us fans make it out to be.

    Peyton came back from 4 neck surgeries, switched to another team, and won 11 straight games by a touchdown or more. However, since it’s Peyton and he’s won 4 MVPs people take it for granted.

    At the end of the day they should share it. But the problem is just like the Heisman Trophy. Every year the fans clamor for the defensive player to win it because they never do. The same goes for any non QB for MVP.

  39. The fact is Peyton Manning is obviously more valuable than Peterson year to year. Peyton Manning is the best QB of all time. You could give him the award every year. Year in, year out, everyone knows what they are getting from Manning. This isn’t anything special this season statistically, or a shock for his team record wise. People picked the Broncos to win the Super Bowl preseason. Adrian Peterson and his Vikings were not going to make the postseason on anyone’s account.

    Here’s the facts:

    Vikings were 10-6, winning their last four games, which was the only way they’d get in. Peterson had a rushing total of 651 yards and 5 TDs in those games. About 163 per game. On this 4 game win streak, the Vikings knocked two of arguably the best teams in their conferences (one on the road) out of their first round byes and two teams (1 a 10 win team) out of the playoffs to do it, and go 4-2 in a division with 3 10-win teams. Nothing came easy for this team. Peterson’s mindset was infectious for a football team that needed to believe. Meanwhile, Peyton Manning was owning up on his terrible division to coast to their 13-3 record, while the Vikings did the tough sledding for Denver to give them the #1 overall seed (something they didn’t do on their own, broncos lost to Houston).

    Final Decision, get some new blood in there for this award. Peyton didn’t chase any records, Peyton didn’t win his last 4 games against all good teams to get there, and Peyton’s season won’t be remembered among the slew of other great seasons. Peterson willed his team to 4 straight victories. Records are for idiots that don’t care about real football; anyone who actually watched that Vikes-Pack game enjoyed one of the most entertaining football games all year, a true display of talent. Adrian iced that game to finish off the best season by a RB ever whether he was 9 yards short or not. Maybe the Vikings are actually just good, and still no one is willing to admit it. Have fun Packers having to tackle that guy 8 quarters in row. AD MVP.

  40. Everyone seems to think AP is the MVP, but I don’t see it. Perhaps the best argument against him is the Vikings’ win over Houston in Week 16, when they won convincingly on the road against a good team – and Peterson ran for merely 86 yards. Doesn’t that prove that his team is actually pretty good, independent of him, and negate the “Where would the Vikings be without him?” argument?

    Don’t get me wrong, he had an incredible season, he’s certainly a worthy candidate. But hey, Dickerson didn’t win the MVP in 1984, either.

    My vote would be:

    1. Brady
    2. Manning
    3. Peterson

  41. Every category received an honorable mention except comeback player of the year. I know it comes down to AP and Peyton Manning, but Thomas Davis of the Carolina Panthers should at least be considered. 3 ACL surgeries and he played a full season. Not only did he play but he contributed significantly. He was right beside Luke Kuechly running sideline to sideline with an unrelenting motor. Geez, I know the panthers weren’t very good but they were competitive and Thomas Davis was a direct reflection of the Panthers never quit attitude. He and the entire team showed heart. At least give him some love with an honorable mention. He deserves it……#keep pounding

  42. About the only comments on this article that don’t make sense are the ones that claim their choice is so obviously right it can’t be debated. Really? We can’t reasonably debate AD and Peyton? Or RG3, Wilson and Luck? or Grigson and Schneider. IMO you can’t go wrong with either AD or Manning, same goes for RG3 or Wilson. Frankly, I don’t think Luck deserves it this year, but as a Colts fan if you asked me to draft over I’d pick Luck again. I’m sure Skins and Seahawks fans feel the same way. What a great year! Bring on the playoffs!

  43. Part of the issue with just going by stats is that Russell Wilson played against a superior schedule, while putting up similar stats to RG3. He went 4-1 against the other playoff teams: San Fran x2, Minny, NE, and Green Bay. The only below average defenses he faced all season were the Bills and Carolina.

    RG3’s schedule was littered with below average defenses: Saints, Carolina, Tampa, their own division of Giants/Dallas/Philly, while going 2-2 vs other playoff teams.

    Isn’t that the basis of all those SEC’s schedule vs everyone else’s? Also, Moss/Garcon/Morgan is still better than Rice/Tate/Baldwin.

  44. yeah broncos won a playoff game last year. They also ranked 24th in def and 25th in off scoring. This year they are 4th and 2nd in those catagories. AP was on that team that went 3-13 last year. The improvements in MN have more to do with the rest of the roster vs. AP individually. The improvements in Denver have everything to do with Manning.

  45. Year after year, the Patriots are one of the top two seeds in the AFC, and virtually every other year are in a Super Bowl ….. yeah, why would anyone associated with the New England Patriots deserve to be on any of these lists, huh?

  46. your defensive rookie of the year post is embarrassing. Luke Kuechly? congrats for buying into the most useless stat in football, tackles, which by the way….are not an official NFL stat. the panthers calculate that total.

    even worse is mentioning Janoris Jenkins, who was inferior in coverage and less interceptions than Casey Heyward, but you see “TD’s” (some of which weren’t even on defense!) and you just think he was better. embarrassing.

  47. How can you not put Luck into MVP consderation? He took the worst team from last season and made the playoffs. Not to mention the host of rookie records he made.

  48. I’m a Skins fan but let’s be honest…Rookie of the Week is somewhat ridiculous and irrelevant since it’s voted on through van voting over the internet. I love me some RG3 and The Bulter, but there were weeks in the past few that Wilson should’ve won that award over them.

    But the stats still speak for themselves. And for the fans that like to talk about wins instead…Wilson and Luck have more, but RG3 has the division title. Something the other two can’t say.

    Also, to the Luck fan talking about Wilson and RG3’s supporting class. It’s funny that you somehow forgot, in the midst of talking about him throwing to just “rookie recievers”, the now six time Pro-Bowler Reggie Wayne he was tossing balls to.

    Also, to Colt fans…you can’t talk about the MASSIVE overhaul of the team as a plus for Grigson (which is legitimate) while at the same time acting like the turn around from 2-12 is all Andrew Luck.

    Either this is the same 2-12 team from last year and Luck, by virtue of himself, rose it up to 11 wins…OR…Grigson did a major overhaul of a 2-12 team leading to 11 wins with a 3/4ths of the team being new comers.

    That’s not even counting the notion that you also have a new coaching staff, with your interim in the COTY conversation.

    Stop pretending that this is the exact same 2-12 team but with Andrew Luck leading it, and htat’s why they win, while turning around and trying to talk up your GM and Coach.

  49. jbaxt | Dec 31, 2012, 9:38 AM EST
    Peterson getting comeback player is like saying anyone who misses a couple games is up for it next year? So hamstring guy, concussion guy, sprained ankle guy, are all candidates since they missed a couple games. While awesome that he was able to do what he did, he doesn’t belong in the category.

    Uhmm. Do you know how long it takes to recover from teaming ligaments in your knee? Let alone being a running back? And after it took AP only 9 months to recover from an ACL tear, he became the 2nd leading rusher all-time by like 8 or 9 yards? Nt saying he should get it per se, but that comment is just plain wrong.

  50. Can all of the Colts fans stop with the argument that Luck “Turned Around” a 2-14 team. That same team was a playoff team for years prior to last season. And I love how they all completely leave Reggie Wayne off the list when talking about what weapons he has. And the argument for Exec of the Year, because their coach, who coached a total of 4 or 5 games before going out to battle his illness, got replaced by an assistant. The Colts head coach is not the same thing as Sean Payton. Stop the ridulousness now.

    And Russell Wilson had a really great year. But was surrounded with far better veteran talent than RGIII. And he plays in a stadium that they have to pump in artificial noise because their own fans are too weak to make their own noise. I still haven’t figured out how they haven’t been fined for that one yet.

    RGIII is simply the most consistent and dynamic rookie to come in this season. He was the only rookie QB to be voted in to the Pro Bowl, by the Fans, Players and Coaches. He won Rookie of the Week 7 times this season. That is nearly half the season.

    As a matter of fact, I would put Alfred Morris into the top 3 before I would put Andrew Luck in there. I will give a nod to Russell Wilson, only because he didn’t turn the ball over that much. Still, RG3 makes him look ridiculous there as well.

    And, Mike Shanahan has done a masterful job at putting a roster together that won his division, while being robbed of cap space. By definition, he should be the Exec of the Year, and maybe even Coach of the Year for what he got out of this roster.

  51. Enough with the RGIII is the messiah crap.let’slove the guy, but it’s not as clear cut as you DC homers might think. And for those of you using the ” But Wilson has Lynch and RGIII only has Morris” defense…..Morris had better rushing stats you idiots.

    Stats (combined passing & rushing)

    RW3 – 64.1% comp, 3,607yds, 30TD, 15TO’s 100 QBrating

    RGIII – 65.6%, 4015yds, 27TD, 17TO’s, 102.4 QBrating

    So RGIII won in completion %, yards, and QB rating.

    RW3 won in TD’s and less turnovers….and let’s not forget about winning percentage, with a tougher schedule, while playing in a MUCH tougher division.

    FOR THE WIN!!!!!!

  52. Donnie, the problem with Luck is that he helped create a lot of the stats and comebacks because of all the turnovers he created. The team itself is pretty talented. You can’t really compare them to last year under Painter. Every starting QB is better than Painter, so the Colts were always going to improve on some level.

    I would give Peterson the MVP, but all this talk about Ponder being a bottom 5 QB is ridiculous. The Vikings without Harvin easily have one of the worst receiving crews in the NFL. He easily grades out to the 15-20 range

    To Manning’s defense, people are overjudging the weak schedule/division with Raiders/Chiefs/Chargers. Their out of division schedule was still pretty tough.

  53. Some comments

    1. Adrian Peterson is without doubt the MVP. It should be unanimous if the award has any meaning. No player did more with less than Peterson.

    2. All credibility is lost when Bill Bellichick can’t make your “honorable mention list” as coach of the year.

    3. The universe doesn’t exist where Tom Brady is ever looking up at Peyton Manning… on any level.

    (BTW- this isn’t to disparage Manning who is the 2nd best QB of his generation and a certain HOFer, but elevate Brady to his proper position in the QB pantheon of this century.)

  54. Any defensive rookie of the year conversation that does NOT include Vontaze Burfict is invalid.

    Led defense in tackles on the sixth best defense in the league as an undrafted FA, and helped lead the Cincinnati Bengals to back to back winning seasons and the playoffs for the first time in 30 years?

    Great numbers for Jenkins and Keuchly… but Wagner, Smith, Heward, and Burfict make more sense as their teams REALLY needed their performances to reach the post season.

  55. Dec 31, 2012 11:19 AM

    RW3 – 64.1% comp, 3,607yds, 30TD, 15TO’s 100 QBrating

    RGIII – 65.6%, 4015yds, 27TD, 17TO’s, 102.4 QBrating

    So RGIII won in completion %, yards, and QB rating.

    RW3 won in TD’s and less turnovers

    You’re turnover numbers are way off, and it’s seemingly based on the fact that you don’t undrestand “Fumbles” as a stat on ESPN does not equal Turnovers, AKA Fumbles Lost.

    In reality, Wilson has turned the ball over 13 times (10 interceptions, 3 fumbles lost). Robert Griffin turned the ball over 7 times (5 interceptions, 2 fumbles lost).

    The ONLY stat Wilson has over Griffin is TD passes. That’s it.

    Comp Percentage, yards per attempt, yardage, passer rating, total QBR….Griffin is ahead of him in every one of those. When talking rushing, again, Griffin leads him in total yards, yards per attempt, and TD’s.

    You are correct that the Seahawks had a harder schedule. You’re also ignoring the fact the Seahawks had the #4 defense compared to the Redskins with the #28 defense. You are correct about Wilson winning more games, but you ignore that only one of them won their Division rather than being 2nd place.

  56. patfanken says:
    Dec 31, 2012 11:37 AM

    3. The universe doesn’t exist where Tom Brady is ever looking up at Peyton Manning… on any level.


    I’m by no means a Peyton Manning fan but I’m pretty sure that the Broncos are the 1 seed at 13-3 and the Pats are the 2 seed at 12-4.

    So it would seem in fact, that Tom Brady is looking up at Peyton Manning.

  57. Hey jhoskins76, there’s a HUGE error in your statistical comparison of Wilson and RG3. Griffin dos NOT have 17 turnovers — nowhere close. He has only only 7 — five interceptions, and 2 lost fumbles. You seem to be counting up all his fumbles, including the ones that were recovered by the him (or another Redskins). But fumbles that are retained by team that committed them are NOT “turnovers” by definition, and cannot be counted in the turnover category.

    So let me correct your sentence: “So RGIII won in completion %, yards, QB rating and fewer turnovers.” There. So how does your comparison look now?

  58. I like the list. The only issue I have is with the Comeback player of the year. I like that Manning and Peterson are sharing the award.

    However, Thomas Davis of the Panthers deserves at least an honorable mention. In a normal year, he’d win the award hands down after three consecutive year-ending knee injuries.

  59. I swear I called it after week 3 or 4…I knew that Seattle had something special in Wilson. If you step back and look at everything as a whole, Wilson deserves ROY more than Luck or RGIII, and thats not saying that Luck/RGIII aren’t beasts, because they are. But someone said it the other day and it got me thinking. Luck & RGII came into the leauge KNOWING they were being handed the starting job. Wilson on the other hand, came into a situation where Flynn had just signed a huge contract, & by all indications was the Seahawks starter. Wilson came in & simply outperformed, outplayed the competition from the start, & hasnt looked back. A 3rd round STEAL!!! Wonderful story, and he has my vote!! To be clear, Im not a Seahawk fan, but a Bronco fan, but more or less these days, a Football fan

  60. How does Elway win Exec over Schneider? All Elway did was sign one of the best QB’s in the history of football that every GM that isn’t drunk or stupid would have signed as long as he could walk or throw a football.

    So basically Elway did what every GM or fan would have done and he’s being rewarded?

    Schneider found a franchise QB in the third round and almost every draft pick he had starts or contributes serious time for a team that won 11 games.

    Seems pretty obvious he doesn’t even deserve the award over Grigson either.

    The Broncos with Tebow would have won the west again this year. That division is beyond pathetic.

  61. No love for Geno Atkins? I know he “only” had 12.5 sacks, but DTs just don’t do that anymore. Geno had the most sacks by a DT since 2004, and is the best player on a great Bengals defense.

  62. Hard for me to see AP as comeback player of the year since he NEVER missed a game, that award has to go to Peyton with honorable mention to Thomas Davis. Peyton gets MVP easy since there is no contest with any other player.

  63. fwippel says:
    Dec 31, 2012 12:19 PM
    I like the list. The only issue I have is with the Comeback player of the year. I like that Manning and Peterson are sharing the award.

    However, Thomas Davis of the Panthers deserves at least an honorable mention. In a normal year, he’d win the award hands down after three consecutive year-ending knee injuries.


    I’ve never heard of Thomas Davis and I’m a pretty active NFL fan. If casual fan can’t identify a player, they are not eligible for post season awards. Why you’ll never see a Right Guard win an MVP…

  64. OROTY – Russell Wilson

    DROTY – Janoris Jenkins

    OFF POTY – Calvin Johnson or Adrian Peterson

    DEF POTY – J.J. Watt – also like Richard Sherman

    Executive – Either Schneider or Grigson

    Coach – Mike Shanahan, but Pagano/Arians more deserving

    Comeback – Thomas Davis – 3 ACL surgeries, had great season

    MVP – Adrian Peterson

  65. Who cares about awards. The only one that matters to me, as a fan, is the Lombardi.

    As to the RGIII vs Russell Wilson argument, we’ll all find out in a week. My money is on the Seahawks and Russell Wilson. Wilson is a more complete QB and he’ll prove that on Sunday. That Seahawks defense is going to make RGIII look bad, especially if he plays the way he did against the pathetic Cowgirls.

  66. 8to80texasblog,

    Thomas davis was on the verge of becoming a star and possibly a pro-bowler before he tore his acl in 2009. Kept coming back and retore his acl. Heck, even with the injuries the panthers still gave him a contract extension. The fact that he can walk, let alone play, is remarkable.

  67. One more honorable mention for rookie of the year, Blair Walsh PK for Minnesota Vikings. As long as they have that position in football a year where he ties a franchise record for FG and sets an NFL record for FG over 50 yards

  68. @zragone says:
    Dec 31, 2012 10:59 AM

    Enough with the division title crap. RGIII played the Giants, Eagles and Cowboys. Wilson played in what is quickly become the toughest division in the NFC. If Wilson had played the same divisional opponents as RGIII the division title would have been sewn up and in the bag without much competition.

  69. AD is the MVP, and the GOAT for RBs.

    if ya can’t give it to him now, when?

    the nfl is skewed towards making it easy for QBs anyway, ain’t fair

  70. Peterson basically carried his team on his back and got them into the play-offs. Peyton was blessed by great WR’s and a team setup to produce enough wins to make the Play-offs. Ponder would have been above average if he played for Denver…

  71. Go ahead and give OROTY to RG3. I really don’t care about this popularity vote. RG3 won’t last long in this league. For my (popularity) vote I will easily take Wilson over RG3 on my team. Maybe I should become a Seahawk fan,

  72. Manning had a great season. So did Brady. So did Rodgers. So did Ryan.

    Peterson had a historically great season. There’s a big difference.

    The Broncos won a playoff game with Tim Tebow last year, without Manning. The Vikings would be a 3 win team without Peterson. Vikings opponents knew that Peterson was the only weapon that offense has. They knew what was coming. They tried stacking the box. And they still couldn’t stop him.

    Hardly anyone is going to remember Peyton Manning’s 2012 season years from now. Hardly anyone is going to forget what Peterson did this year.

    Peterson is the MVP. By a mile.

  73. Matt Kalil. I realize the awards are for offensive skill players only, but no rookie played better at their position than Kalil did at his, he was dominant the last half of the season, and led AP to his record.

  74. Gotta to give to to Payton he is the clear choice… 4 surgicals in the year and come on let’s face it …Fox and Elway? They are totally worthless.
    Broncos were 1-5 last yr when Tebow stepped in.
    Fox and Elway tried to sabatoge the kid and he got em to the playoffs….Fox a loser from the Panthers and Elway the greatest QB but loser in everything else he has touched….till Manning signed….Executive of the year? oh brother!!

  75. Let’s not forget the Coach of the Decade Award for Bill Belichick, QB of the Decade for Tom Brady and the 2013 Lombardi Trophy for The New England Patriots.

  76. Amazing. AP should soooo be the run away MVP. He definitely changed the way his offense played from the year before. He took a running team (the number one rushing team last year) and made it a passing team. Wait that was Peyton. AP must have taken the offense that led the league in 3 and outs last year, which kept the D the field (23rd D). And made it a top 5 offense that sustained drives and let the defense work with a lead. The defense also led the league in sacks and became a top five D. That must have been the Vikings right? No, that was Denver too?!? Well that’s okay,I mean AP is like a offensive coordinator on the field, you hear that all the time about AP right? Wait, is that Peyton too?!?! Wow, well gosh I just think that AP should get the MVP. I mean last year when he didn’t play his team only won 2 games and got the number one pick in the draft…so there is proof! Heck people were talking about how AP should be the mvp last year and he didn’t even play last year! What?! That was Peyton too?!? Wait, I thought peyton played all but like one game and still only got 3 wins on the season. It can’t be that big of difference since Peyton was on the team last year too right? What? That was AP?!? Well yeah I’m sure none of these points are important for the most valuable player award. It just has to be ap!

  77. Actually AP didn’t have a historical season, he came close. But close doesn’t count.

    Calvin Johnson had a historical season.

  78. salutethis,

    Manning had the best passer rating in the NFL. Oh wait that was Aaron Rodgers.

    Manning had the best TD-INT ratio, oh wait that was Aaron Rodgers too.

    Manning had 37 TD’s, oh wait Rodgers had 39TD

    Manning only threw 11 INTS, Rodgers only threw 8 INTs.

    I have to ask why is Manning even in this conversation if his stats are not even better then Aaron Rodgers’?

  79. So RGIII had 5 interceptions and 12 fumbles and RW3 had 10 interceptions and 5 fumbles. We are talking ball control here not turnovers which depend on other people and factors.

    Meaning that RW3 has much better ball control than RGIII.

    RGIII was picked to be a starter. RW3 had to earn it. It took almost half the season before RW was given license to play the way he has for the last 8-10 games.

    Also look at QBR RGIII has season average of 71.4 to RW3 69.6, however, RGIII has one less game so if he had a bad game it would be less and a great game more. BUT if you look over the last 13 weeks RW has had a high QBR average than RGIII by an average 0f 4.4 so RW3 has been playing better since week 5 of the season and has had the highest weekly QBR of any quarterback 3 times this year – more than anyone else to RGIII’s 1 time. So who has improved as the season progressed RW and who has faltered (very slightly) RGiii – the obvious winner Russell Wilson. Passer rating for RGiii last 9weeks = 102.12 for Russell Wilson 114.43 who is getting better and who has stayed the same? Winner Russell Wilson. Who is the hotter QB right now ??? RW no question.

    RGiii wracked up his stats by playing middle more middle of the road teams.

    Let me see Russell Wilson played and beat WHO? The Patriots #2 seed AFC, 49rs NFC #2 seed GB NFC #3 seed & Vikings #6 seed NFC. The only 2 NFC playoff teams they have not beaten are the one’s they haven’t played. Also beat the Bears and Cowboys who were eliminated from playoffs by GB losing to Vikings and Cowboys loss to Redskins for the Division.

    RGIII beat the Ravens # 4 seed (by virtue of Division win) Beat Vikings #6 seed NFC
    lost to Falcon NFC #1 Seed NFC
    lost to Bengals #6 seed AFC

    Washington would not even be in the playoffs except their division is so weak that the only way to get in to the playoffs was to win it. Being a wild card in the toughest division in football is says much more about the team than a division win in the weakest DIV of the NFC.

    If you know how just do your own spreadsheet analysis the numbers don’t lie.

  80. Wilson spends his Mondays (team off days) working with Darrell Bevell on the offensive game plan and opponent tendencies so he can help coach up the rest of the offense when they come in on Tuesday. That’s all I need to know about the kid and it shows up in the precision and execution of the offense.

  81. Difficult to argue with any of these selections.

    After Week 8, I was chanting “Start Flynn!” After Week 10, I shut up, and after Week 12 I accepted that we had a genuine franchise QB on our hands in “DangeRuss” Wilson.

    Looks like Florio and Company can’t ignore the writing on the wall any more than I can. This Seahawks team is FOR REAL!

  82. Ask yourself one question: who would you rather have for the next 15 years? Rg3 or Wilson? It’s a no-brainer, and this is a miserable pick for Rookie of the Year.

  83. Man, some of you are truly ignorant. Did any of you actually bother to watch a Panther game this year? I assume not cuz Luke Kuechly was a massive reason why The Panthers’ D improved. His pre-snap adjustments are unparalleled by 95% of LBs in the league. Luke’s football IQ and instincts, tackling prowless and coverage skills make him one of the best in the game today. He’s always around the football and rarely misses on a tackle.

    By the by, our D-Line was better than last year. Dwan Edwards and Ron Edwards provided stability and Greg Hardy transformed into an elite defensive end. So, yeah, do some research before talking out of your asses about tackling numbers. Kuechly is just THAT good. Don’t hate.

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