USA TODAY Sports
The NFL Honors show is tonight. This is where they hand out awards for the best performers and performances for the 2012 NFL season. Here are those awards and who I think is most deserving of each one.
AP Most Valuable Player - Adrian Peterson
Quite frankly, I am tired of this award belonging to quarterbacks. It's as if they need to change the name or something. This year is the one time in which there should be no doubt of who deserves it - and it isn't the other top nominee, Peyton Manning. Adrian Peterson came nine yards shy of the all time single season rushing record. He is the sole reason the Vikings were in the playoffs.
Who won: Adrian Peterson. And restored a shred of faith in the criteria behind it.
AP Coach of the Year - Bruce Arians
A head coach, above all else, is a leader and a game manager. Bruce Arians stepped in for Chuck Pagano who was diagnosed with cancer, and led the Colts to the playoffs. He did it with a rookie quarterback and a shell of a team that was supposed to be in the early stages of a full scale rebuilding process.
Who won: Bruce Arians
AP Offensive Player of the Year - Adrian Peterson
Part of me wants to throw Peyton Manning a bone here because he didn't win MVP. But I just can't do that. Peterson deserves to pull an Academy Awards move here and take home a boat load of hardware for his season.
Who won: Adrian Peterson
AP Offensive Rookie of the Year - Russell Wilson
This third round draft pick is competing against the number one and two overall picks for this award. While Luck and Robert Griffin III are getting all the attention, Russell had the best season. Between he, Luck, and RGIII, Wilson had the highest QBR as well as the highest passer rating. He beat out Matt Flynn who was one of the bigger free agent signings last offseason. Now Flynn is on the trading block because Wilson is the future. On a side note, he also was the only one of the three rookie QB's to win a playoff game this year. I say side note because the playoffs aren't factored into these awards.
Who won: Robert Griffin III
AP Defensive Rookie of the Year -- Luke Kuechly
Kuechly led the league in tackles with 164. That's the entire NFL, not just rookies. Midway through the season, he had six straight weeks of double-digit tackles and averaged 11.8 tackles per game in December - when rookies typically hit the proverbial rookie wall. He added two interceptions, three fumble recoveries and eight passes defended.
Who won: Luke Keuchly
Pepsi Max Rookie of the Year - Russell Wilson
This award is voted on by fans on who they think is the most deserving of the NFL Rookie of the year.
Who won: Russell Wilson
NFL.com Fantasy Player of the Year - Adrian Peterson
This one is not just finding the player with the most fantasy points and handing them the award (That would be Tom Brady). It's about where you drafted them. After his knee surgery, few thought he be the same running back. This caused his fantasy draft stock to fall. I drafted him in the second round and won the S&BP S.H.I.E.L.D 2 fantasy league with him. He finished the season as the top fantasy running back with a bullet. One of the more amazing stats this season is if you were to take away all of Peterson's touchdowns this season (13), he would still have ranked sixth in fantasy points among running backs.
Who won: Adrian Peterson
Don Shula NFL HS Coach of the Year Award - I have no idea
Who won: Don't know yet
This is a tough one. While it was Larry Fitzgerald who won the NFL humanitarian award prior to the NFL season, Witten is equally impressive in his work in the community. Both started their own foundations. Fitzgerald's helps educate inner-city youth on HIV/AIDS and breast cancer. Witten's foundation places men in mentor roles in battered women shelters, and ensures that at-risk youth have positive role models in their lives. That is just the tip of the iceberg for both players. Fitzgerald is the most likely due to the award he has already won but both are deserving in my eyes.
Who won: Jason Witten
AP Comeback Player of the Year - Adrian Peterson (again)
Again, he is going against Peyton Manning and again Peterson takes it. Both players came back from injuries that threatened to end their careers. Peyton had a neck injury that kept him out all of the 2011 season. Peterson had major knee surgery which, for a running back, is a big deal. But it wasn't so much the severity of the injury that earns Peterson the award. It's the comeback he made. Peyton came back and had a great season. Peterson came back and had an historic season.
Who won: Peyton Manning
GMC Never Say Never Moment of the Year - Peyton Manning monumental comeback over Chargers
Peyton Manning finally gets an award and the Chargers watch another award handed out to a play made against them. The Broncos were down 24-0 at halftime when Peyton Manning took over, throwing three touchdowns and the Broncos scored 35 unanswered points to beat the Chargers.
Who won: Torrey Smith has won the award for his performance in which he had 6 catches for 127 yards and 2 TD's to help the Ravens beat the Patriots. He did this a day after his brother was killed in a motorcycle accident.
FedEx Air and Ground Player of the Year - Aaron Rodgers, Adrian Peterson
Rodgers led the NFL in passer rating (108). He had 39 touchdowns to just 8 interceptions and threw for 4,295 yards. Tom Brady and Peyton Manning had more passing yards but fewer touchdowns and Manning threw more interceptions while Brady had the same amount of interceptions as Rodgers.
Who won: Peyton Manning
Peterson ran for 2,097 yards with 12 touchdowns and added another touchdown receiving. That's ground player of the decade, not just the year.
Who won: Adrian Peterson
Greatness on the Road - No clue
To be honest, I am not even sure what this award means. I think it is a player award not a team award. It could be a single road performance or an overall road game achievement. And I don't care enough to go through and try to figure out who that would be.
Play of the Year - Ray Rice 30-yard catch and run on 4th and 29
There was less than two minutes in the game. All the Chargers needed do was stop the Ravens on this fourth down and they would win the game. Joe Flacco dumps the ball off to Ray Rice near the line of scrimmage and Rice rumbles 30 yards for the first down and the Ravens go on to win the game.
Who won: Ray Rice 30-yard catch and run on 4th and 29
Salute To Service Award - Charles Tillman or Mark Dominic
Like the Man of the Year award, it can be difficult to judge someone on how outstanding a human being they are. This award goes to who honored our military service personnel the most. Tillman and Dominic are the two finalists and I salute both of them for their efforts to honor those who are serving or have served. Whichever of them wins it, I am sure it's well deserved.
Who won: Charles Tillman
AP Defensive Player of the Year - JJ Watt
Absolutely no doubt he not only deserves this award but that he will win it. He was dominant in every phase of the game at his position. His 20.5 sacks led the league this season - two sacks shy of the all-time NFL record. That's amazing enough all by itself. He also had 16 passes defended from passes batted at the line. That stat earned him the nickname "JJ Swatt". He added 4 forced fumbles and 81 tackles.
Who won: JJ Watt. The vote was nearly unanimous.
The NFL Honors show will air tonight, February 2, on CBS and NFL Network at 9pm Pacific Time.