Last night the NFL handed out its awards for the 2017 season at the 7th Annual NFL Honors show. I admit that I didn’t watch the show, but after seeing all the awards there are, I am glad I didn’t. I have no clue how David Johnson won the NFL.com Fantasy Player of the Year award, and I refuse to learn anymore about such a dubious title.
Here at SportsIntel we gave out mid-season awards in November and full season awards a month ago (what the hell took you so long, NFL?!) I don’t think there were any huge surprises with the actual awards, but let’s run through the big ticket items.
Tom Brady won the award for the third time and gave a magnanimous acceptance speech that just made me hate him more. I gave him my MVP award too, but when I wrote that I was mostly hoping it would jinx him. Bitterness, pettiness, and jealousy aside, one can’t help but be impressed with what the man did in his age 40 season. His stats were off the charts and his team just keeps winning so I think this was a easy decision for the voters. The one thing I will say is that Tom Terrific caught a big break when Carson Wentz got hurt because I think the award would have been his had the 2nd year QB played 16 games.
Offensive Player of the Year
We didn’t give out an offensive player of the year award because we felt like that’s more or less covered under “MVP” the way today’s game works, but I wanted to acknowledge Todd Gurley as this year’s winner because Chris and Danny both gave him their nod for MVP. Gurley’s season was phenomenal so I’m glad he received some hardware. If he had received the MVP award, I would not have been surprised or upset. McVay is a great coach, the defense has been stockpiling talent for years, and Goff looked like a new man in 2017, but Gurley’s steady production was the straw that stirred the drink for a team that surprised everyone in winning the NFC West after going 4-12 in 2016.
Defensive Player of the Year
Aaron Donald kept a very good night going for the Rams when he accepted his first career defensive player of the year award. The big fella missed the team’s opening game as a contract hold out, but once he got on the field, he was a monster. The win by Donald represents a shift in thought on the way defensive statistics work. By the traditional numbers, this was just an “okay” year for him, but the “advanced metrics” clearly demonstrate the way he was able to impact games. Chris pointed this out when he selected the fourth year defensive tackle as his DPOY and Danny is on the record as saying that Donald is the best defensive player in football. I love recognition for a guy who plays a position that’s traditionally undervalued.
Rookie of the Year
In our selections we awarded just one ROY, but the AP breaks it down to one award for offense and one for defense. The New Orleans Saints swept both with Alvin Kamara and Marshon Lattimore being honored. I’ll take this opportunity to point out that I gave my mid-season award to Lattimore and my final one to Kamara so somebody should probably present me with some kind of award. Seriously, what a fantastic draft for the Saints though. These two rising stars plus OT Ryan Ramczyk set New Orleans up with a competitive foundation for years to come.
Other notes from last night
– The Rams were well represented, taking home Offensive POY, Defensive POY, and Coach of the Year. In a year where there were several outstanding candidates for Coach of the Year, Sean McVay rose above the field. The 31-year-old first time head coach turned around a team that had limped along for years under Jeff Fisher and absolutely earned this honor even though the two Dougs (Marrone and Pederson) also engineered huge turnarounds.
– Terrell Owens finally got into the Hall of Fame so hopefully he can shut up now.
– JJ Watt received the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award for his efforts in relief of Hurricane Harvey. The money he raised to help his adopted community was nothing short of miraculous. A quick side note about this award: The league has started having nominees wear the logo on their uniform and it really is a huge honor just to be nominated, but there has been some confusion because, from a distance, the logo looks like Darth Vader (example below). This is me doing my part to raise awareness.