They are back for a second year. Last year my buddy Quentin and I broke out the WROTC NFL Awards. This year it’s going to get freaky adding in a couple more with the Des Moines Sports Freaks Blake, Zach and Wendt. It was fun putting last years together and this year’s too. Hope you enjoy them.
Play of the Year
Matt – For the second straight year I’m going with a Chiefs receiver. Jonathan Baldwin’s behind the back catch vs. the Broncos.
Painter – I'm going back to Thursday of Week 1. I know it's the homerish thing to do but Randall Cobb's 108 yard kick return touchdown was a thing of beauty
Blake – Ga'h. Um, I'm not sure. Maybe Randall Cobb's 109 yard punt return on opening night?
Wendt – Jerome Simpson of the Bengals flipping over a Cardinals player to score a TD
Zach – Even the Russian judge liked the Jerome Simpson leap
Game of the Year
Matt - Giants 37 Cowboys 34 (Week 14) – This game was a back and forth game that showed the best of Romo and Eli Manning. They scored 29 points in the fourth quarter and Manning threw for 2 scores and 400 yards. It was by far the most fun game I saw all year. It isn’t as impactful as their Week 17 game for the Division title but it was huge in the East race and a gem of a game.
Painter – Tie - Week 14 Dallas @ New York Giants and Week 17 Green Bay vs Detroit. A case could be made for the Dallas @ SF game but I'll take the other 2
Blake – Again, the one that sticks out is the opening night game between the Packers and the Saints. I hope we get a rematch in the NFC Championship Game
Wendt – Chiefs upsetting the Packers
Zach – Chiefs upsetting Packers
Offensive Player of the Year
Matt - Drew Brees: Saints – no offense to Aaron Rodgers and his phenomenal year but the year that Brees has had is amazing and a record breaker. Breaking Dan Marino’s 27 year old record with a game to play is amazing in its own right.
Painter – Aaron Rodgers:Packers - He was consistent all season and broke Manning's QB rating record.
Blake – Aaron Rodgers:Packers – Yes, he has a lot of weapons around him, but so does Drew Brees, and at least the Saints have a running game.
Defensive Player of the Year
Matt - Jason Pierre-Paul: Giants – The 2nd year DEnd from South Florida has been a force all year. 16.5 sacks, 86 tackles, 2 Forced Fumbles and 6 pass deflections. Jared Allen may 20+ sacks but going to go with overall production in Pierre-Paul.
Painter – Jared Allen: Vikings - He was one of the few Vikings that seemed to care this year
Blake – Jason Pierre-Paul: Giants
Wendt – Jared Allen: Vikings
Zach – Entire Niners Defense
Special Teams Player of the Year
Matt - Patrick Peterson: Cardinals - I’d love to give it to Devin Hester again as he is just adding to his all-time record, but this year its Peterson’s. Peterson has one more return for a score than Hester and has amazing wheels when he gets out in the open. Will he come close to Hester’s Hall of Fame resume? No, and he’s just keeping this spot warm till next year.
Painter – Darren Sproles: Saints - I don't think anyone in particular really stood out this year, he really helped New Orleans
Blake – Patrick Peterson: Cardinals
Wendt – Devin Hester-Bears
Zach – Patrick Peterson: Cardinals – He made things happen
Rookie of the Year
Matt - Cam Newton: Panthers. He’s proven me wrong. Back in April I said he would be the BUST of all BUSTS! And WOW was I wrong. Is Carolina a playoff contender? NO. But they are relevant again and the reason is Cam. He still has a ways to come but he’s broken rookie marks for passing yardage in a year and he’s had a better rookie year than Peyton Manning did. I don’t think he can be successful running the QB position like he is now but he’ll keep Carolina exciting as long as he’s healthy and they give him weapons around him.
Painter – Cam Newton: Panthers (for the stats) & Andy Dalton: Cincinnati (for getting the Bengals back into the playoffs).
Blake – Cam Newton: Panthers
Coach of the Year
Matt - Mike McCarthy: Packers - It’d be easy to take a deep breath after winning the Super Bowl, instead the Packers just went and rattled off a 15-1 season and are the favorites to get into the Super Bowl again on the NFC side of the bracket. He is slowly replacing Holmgren in status as a coach in Green Bay and might have as many Super Bowl wins as Lombardi after this year.
Painter – Jim Harbaugh: 49ers
Blake – Jim Harbaugh: 49ers
Wendt – Jim Harbaugh: 49ers
Zach – Jim Harbaugh: 49ers
Most Impactful Injury
Matt - Jay Cutler: Bears - It’d be easy to say Peyton Manning and the effect him not playing has had on the Colts 2-14 year and eventual drafting of Andrew Luck, but after 10 games the Bears were 7-3 and rolling on offense and the defense looked great and the NFC looked like it was a four team race with Green Bay, San Francisco, New Orleans and Chicago. Then the thumb injury happened and the Bears free fell from the playoffs, Matt Forte got hurt, the team got Tebowed and the season that looked so great was lost.
Painter – This one is easy though, Peyton Manning
Blake – Peyton Manning, without a doubt
Wendt – Jay Cutler and Matt Forte injuries turned the Bears from a #3 NFC playoff seed to sitting at home at 8-8
Zach – Jay Cutler's injury, ruined the Bears season
Matt - Cincinnati - The Bengals entered the season with franchise QB Carson Palmer not wanting to be back in Cincy, OchoCinco and TO gone from the wide receiver core and Cedric Benson in trouble again. They drafted 2 rookies in AJ Green and Andy Dalton and they still have Mike Brown as their owner. But Dalton and Green have been fantastic from day 1 and they’ve played great and have a playoff shot going into week 17.
Painter – San Francisco - Getting the #2 seed in the NFC. I know the NFC West is about as good as the MAC but I didn't expect the 49'ers to do that well
Blake – Indianapolis - How bad the Colts were without Peyton Manning
Wendt – Indianapolis - The Colts being so horrible, I realize losing one player such as a Peyton Manning would be impactful but they have glaring holes at a ton of other positions too
Zach – Matt Flynn (Packers back up) putting up Rodger-like numbers on Detroit
Matt - New York Jets - The Dream Team would be an easy pick here but I’m going another route with the J-E-T-S. This is a team that Rex Ryan has proclaimed Super Bowl or Bust. We’ll its BUST. Their schedule has been brutal but they’ve got away from what I think they want to be, a physical team. They aren’t pounding the ball and stopping the run like they have been the past few years. They seem to be getting sucked into the air it out sense with what is going on in the league and they aren’t built for that.
Painter – Tampa Bay Bucs
Blake – I would say the Chiefs, Rams, and Bucs, all of which looked to have young, successful and improving teams after last season, and all took a (in some cases, huge) step back this year
Wendt – The lockout lasting as long as it did
Zach – New York Jets -- Two straight AFC Champ appearances to staying home is tough to swallow