It has obviously been a great NFL season, and as it comes down to the wire and playoffs are center stage and we wait to see who will be crowned the Super Bowl champions of this season. There have been great team accomplishments, also great individual accomplishments. But we also have to recognize the not so great actions of players and performances that have been accomplished during the season. Enjoy, laugh, agree or disdain, but all the same, I give you the VTD awards of 2011. Offensive Rookie of the Year; Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers. Came into the league with reservation about his abilities as a real QB in the NFL, dominated and tore up the league for 4051 YDs passing, 21 TDs, and 14 rushing TDs as well.
Defensive Rookie of the Year; Von Miller, LB, Denver Broncos. When Von came out of Texas A&M, some were not sold on his game. How does 11.5 sacks, 54 tackles and 3 forced fumbles in his first year taste? And by the way helped improve Denver’s defense from 32nd in 2010 to 24th in 2011. Comeback Player of the Year; Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seattle Seahawks. Lynch who was fading away into obscurity for the last 3 years, suddenly became the back that showed all the promise in 2008 with Buffalo. Rushing for career best 12 TDs and 1204 YDs, at only 25 years old it seems he has been in the league so much longer than he has been. Most Underrated player of the Year; Laurent Robinson, WR, Dallas Cowboys. The 6-2 WR who never caught more than 37 in a season, suddenly bounded up the ladder and became Romo’s big target, with a career high 11 TD grabs, and giving the Cowboys immense expectations for possibly the most lethal WR corps in the league heading into 2012 season.
Breakthrough player of the Year; Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots. 17 TD grabs, the giant 22 year old, was Brady’s major man, with incredible athletic ability, we are seeing a whole new era of great TEs coming around in the NFL, and Gronk is leading them. Coach of the Year; Jim Harbaugh, 13-3, San Francisco 49ers. Taking a team from a miserable 6-10 in 2010 to a 13-3 record with essentially the same team as last year. Calling it out to keep Alex Smith as his QB and making it work, getting the best out of his guy. He has given the 49ers motivation and is proud of where they are, no longer a walk over, they walk loud and proud.
Biggest disappointment of the Year (player); Chris Johnson, RB, Tennessee Titans. Career lows in YDs, TDs, YPC, and YPG. He was for 3 straight years, measured as one of the most dangerous backs in the league. He found himself with only 4 games with 100+ rushing yards, and 9 games with 55 or less. Bad, bad season for CJ28 Biggest disappointment of the Year (team); Philadelphia Eagles, 8-8, NFC East. The dream team, those words echoed throughout the NFL too much. On paper, they looked like they were going to be remarkable; they still ended up 10th overall on defense, after a late season drive. Vick got his big paycheck and produced modestly, should have thought about that a little more, Philly. Team of the Year; New Orleans Saints, 13-3, NFC South. I know the Pack are 15-1, I get it. But, a few interesting facts about the Saints, their offensive abilities and defensive abilities are basically identical. But better on both ends. Saints 7 times scored 40+ in a game, and 8 times held opponents to less than 19. Brees broke numerous records; Saints are the team of the year for me. Defensive player of the Year; Jared Allen, DE, Minnesota Vikings. 22 sacks, 46 tackles, 4 forced fumbles, a safety and a pick. For a terrible team that without him would have possibly won 0 games. With 6 games of 2 or more sacks, Allen is the motor that doesn’t stop. MVP of the Year; Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers. 68% completion, 45 TDs, 4643 YDs, and he sat out the last game. Rodgers is simply amazing and leading his team to a 15-1 record and giving us the chatter of “undefeated” for so long was fun. He does things like no other. He can pass in the pocket, on the run, falling down; he’s smart and has some pretty amusing commercials. Take your pick Rodgers or Brees, I’ll still take Rodgers. Mike Anthony of VegasTopDogs.com