It's midway through the 2011 NFL season, and it's time to take a look at some of the post season awards, and who are the leading contenders for each at this point. Finhead83, AlejandroN, and myself all selected our award winners, and included justification for each. If more than one person selected the same individual for an award, I randomly chose one justification to post.
Make the jump to see the awards and our choices:
|Aaron Rodgers||Aaron Rodgers||Aaron Rodgers||Aaron Rodgers|
Aaron Rodgers (Mosul_DolFan): This is probably the easiest of the selections. Rodgers is destroying the league right now, including a 20-3 touchdown to interception ratio and 2,372 yards passing. He is currently maintaining a 125.7 passer rating, and an 86.5 Total QBR. Plus, the Packers seem unbeatable, and are clearly the class of the league right now.
Offensive Player of the Year:
|Calvin Johnson||Calvin Johnson||Aaron Rodgers||Calvin Johnson|
Calvin Johnson (AlejandroN): Calvin Johnson's freak of nature size and athleticism makes a dominant red zone threat and he has 10 TD's through 7 games.
Aaron Rodgers (Finhead83): He has all the stats, intangibles, and the record you'd look for in a MVP season. He's put himself in with Brady, Manning, and Brees for the discussion of top QB.
Defensive Player of the Year:
|DeMarcus Ware||Jared Allen||DeMarcus Ware||Jared Allen|
DeMarcus Ware (Finhead83): 12 sacks in 7 games is insane. He's only had 1 game without a sack. I don't know if any LB has ever had such a dominant streak over half a season. He could not play another down for the rest of the year and still finish top 5 in sacks.
Jared Allen (AlejandroN): The Vikings are 1-6, but Allen hasn't slowed down at all. He leads the league with 11 1/2 sacks, including 10 in his last five games.
Rookie of the Year:
|Andy Dalton||Cam Newton||Andy Dalton||Cam Newton|
Andy Dalton (Mosul_DolFan): Cam Newton will probably get this award in the end, especially once the Bengals start playing the second half of their schedule (including vs Steelers, @ Ravens, @Steelers, vs. Texans, and vs. Ravens), but right now, I have to go with Dalton. Newton has the better stats, but the role of a quarterback is to win - and as long as the Bengals, a team most people picked to be the worst in the league before the season, keep winning, I'm going to go with Dalton.
Coach of the Year:
|Chan Gailey||Mike McCarthy||Jim Harbaugh||Jim Harbaugh|
Jim Harbaugh (Finhead83): You can argue Schwartz as well, but Harbaugh has done phenomenal without a chance to acquire players like Schwartz has done. Harbaugh has helped turn around Alex Smith as well. The Niners now have 9 bye weeks before they play another meaningful game. Thanks NFC West...
Chan Gailey (Mosul_DolFan): I went back and forth between Gailey and Harbaugh, but in the end, I picked Gailey because, it's the Bills. The NFC West is anyone's for the taking every year, and the 49ers were expected to do it last year, before the mess they became. The Bills are expected to be the AFC doormats every year, and as of right now, the Bills lead the AFC East, including the tie breaker over the Patriots. In fact, they are holding the 2nd seed in the AFC.
Mike McCarthy (AlejandroN): 8-0 says it all.
Comeback Player of the Year:
|Matthew Stafford||Victor Cruz||Alex Smith||Frank Gore|
Matthew Stafford (Mosul_DolFan): In any division not including the Green Bay Packers, Stafford would have the Lions leading their division. He currently has the 5th best passer ranking in the league, and the 6th best passing yards. He also sits just one touchdown behind Aaron Rodgers for the league lead in touchdowns, and has just one more interception than Rodgers. All this after having to have his shoulder surgically repaired last season.
Victor Cruz (AlejandroN): In 2010, Cruz had a tremendous pre-season, however due to a hamstring injury he was not very involved in the season. No one expected Cruz to have a big year (nobody even knew who he was), but he keeps proving why he is elite every single week.
Alex Smith (Finhead83): His stats and the 49ers record explains it all. SF has to bring him back next year barring any setbacks in the second half of the season.
Play of the Year:
|Wes Welker 99 yard TD vs.Miami||Randall Cobb 108 yard kick return TD vs. New Orleans||Oakland win over Houston||Randall Cobb 108 yard kick return TD vs. New Orleans|
Wes Welker 99 Yard Touchdown (Mosul_DolFan): The longest pass play of Tom Brady's career went to slot wide out Wes Welker. It was just an amazing play, on a little slant pattern, with Welker simply running away from the entire Dolphins defense.
Oakland Winning Touchdown Against Houston (Finhead83): It had the final play drama for the win and also the emotional aspect with the passing of Al Davis the day prior. The fact that Oakland unintentionally did it with 10 players on the field was icing on the cake. How can you beat that?
Story of the Year:
|Peyton Manning's Injury||Jimmy Graham||Al Davis Passing Away||Bills Contending for AFC East|
Peyton Manning's Injury (Mosul_DolFan): Has the injury of any one person ever sent a team into a bigger spiral? Last year, the Colts were Super Bowl contenders. This season, it's questionable if they will win a game. The difference? Peyton Manning's neck. His neck injury could result in the Colts landing the top draft choice, and their next franchise quarterback. Is there anything that has affected the future of the NFL more?
Jimmy Graham (AlejandroN): Being able to overcome such a rough childhood of foster homes and abandonment, and then being able to become possibly the best TE in the league so far is truly amazing.
Al Davis Passing Away (Finhead83): He was loved, hated, pitied and every other emotion someone could feel about someone, but nobody could deny the impact he had on the game and his legacy, both the good and the bad. The most controversial man I any NFL front office was lost and that had to be among the top stories, if not the top story.