2012 NFL Awards

Now that the regular season is complete it’s time for the annual Random Thoughts Illustrated NFL Awards Show. If these don’t match up with the real awards that are given out, well, assume the other guys are wrong!

Offensive Rookie of the Year

  1. Robert Griffin III (QB – WAS)
  2. Russell Wilson (QB – SEA)
  3. Andrew Luck (QB – IND)
  4. Alfred Morris (RB – WAS)
  5. Doug Martin (RB – TB)

You can make great cases across the board, but RGIII’s completion %, TD/INT Ratio, & rushing prowess put him over the top for me as he led the last place Redskins in their worst to first campaign. (Side note: Amazing draft by Washington to get RGIII, Cousins, and Morris.)

Defensive Rookie of the Year

  1. Casey Hayward (CB – GB)
  2. Bobby Wagner (LB – SEA)
  3. Chandler Jones (LB – NE)
  4. Janoris Jenkins (CB – STL)

Hayward has been a desperately needed cog in the Green Bay secondary this season, especially with the number of injuries sustained on that unit.

Special Teams Rookie of the Year

  1. Blair Walsh (K – MIN)
  2. Greg Zuerlein (K – STL)

Early on in the season Zuerlein made a name for himself for kicking long field goals, but Walsh’s stellar 10 for 10 record from over 50 yards stole this one away.

Defensive Player of the Year

  1. J.J. Watt (DL – HOU)
  2. Aldon Smith (DL – SF)
  3. Vonn Miller (LB – DEN)
  4. Patrick Willis (LB – SF)

The much more complete nature of J.J. Watt’s game over Aldon Smith’s is what gives this award to Watt in my opinion. I could also argue that Justin Smith’s presence was a critical component to Aldon’s success as well. (Note: There are no Chiefs Defensive Linemen on this list… please don’t be shocked)

Offensive Player of the Year

  1. Adrian Peterson (RB – MIN)
  2. Peyton Manning (QB – DEN)
  3. Calvin Johnson (WR – DET)
  4. Tom Brady (QB – NE)

Adrian and Peyton are 1 and 1a for about all of the awards they are eligible for this year. I could easily take one for offensive player and one for MVP, but it just seems odd to me to do that. Peyton was nothing short of fantastic for Denver, but they were a playoff team last year too. I have to go with Peterson as he came 9 yards from the best rushing season ever when his opponents knew he was getting the ball all the time, and it just never mattered.

Coach of the Year

  1. Chuck Pagano/Bruce Arians (IND)
  2. Peyton Manning (DEN)
  3. Mike Shanahan (WAS)

The story in Indianapolis this year was incredible. They were a 2-14 team last season and they let their franchise QB go in favor of a rookie (the right move…just a risky one). So a new head coach and new offensive coordinator are handed a seemingly impossible task. Leading up to the season and during the first weeks, Pagano instilled a belief that they could win this year. He also convinced Reggie Wayne to stay when he could have walked. Bruce Arians took on the task of tutoring Andrew Luck in a pass heavy offense with a rookie Running Back  behind him. And then Pagano was diagnosed with leukemia. The team took that as inspiration and Arians did an AMAZING job in the interim and led them to an 11 win season and a wild card berth. Pagano was back on the sidelines for the finale and they didn’t miss a beat. As for the others, yes I include Manning here because it’s clear that he’s his own offensive coordinator. And props to Mike Shanahan for being willing to rewrite his offense to maximize RGIII’s skills. (Note: Hey Pittsburgh…you do realize you fired Bruce Arians in favor of Todd Haley, right? Right?!?!?! HAHAHAHAHA)

Comeback Player of the Year

  1. Adrian Peterson (RB – MIN)/Peyton Manning (QB – DEN)
  2. Thomas Davis (LB – CAR)
  3. Jamaal Charles (RB – KC)

I refuse to apologize for voting for a tie. There is no way I can pick one over the other. Manning is in his mid-30’s, missed an entire season, had 4 neck surgeries, switched teams, and had the 2nd best statistical season of his Hall of Fame career while leading his new team to the #1 overall seed in the AFC. Peterson returned to the field 8 months after tearing his ACL to accumulate the 2nd best statistical season by a running back in history, by far his greatest personal season, and carried a 3 win team last season to the playoffs. Unbelievable.

Most Valuable Player

  1. Adrian Peterson (RB – MIN)
  2. Peyton Manning (QB – DEN)
  3. Calvin Johnson (WR – DET)
  4. Tom Brady (QB – NE)
  5. J.J. Watt (DL – HOU)

Ultimately, the fact that Denver has a really good defense and made the playoffs last year with lesser QB play (HA! Understatement of the Year!!) swung this in my mind in Peterson’s favor. Both men carried their offenses and I think that load is harder to bear when you are a running back. I have to give some love to Calvin for breaking the single season receiving record as well, so he comes in a distant 3rd.

So there you have it… the 2012 RTI NFL Award Winners. Congratulations to you all!!

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