The 2013 NFL regular season is over. The playoffs begin this upcoming weekend. The NFL will announce their awards on February 1, 2014 in their annual awards show, but I'm naming my award winners here. And don't worry, Colts fans, I'll have my Colts' season awards after their final game of the season - whenever that may be. For now, check out my NFL season awards for 2013 - there's even a Colt in there.
Most Valuable Player: Peyton Manning, QB, Denver Broncos
If he doesn't get all 50 votes, there's something wrong. They should just rename the award after him when he's done. 55 touchdown passes and 5,477 yards, completing 68% of his passes? Yeah, there's no question about this one.
Offensive Player of the Year: LeSean McCoy, RB, Philadelphia Eagles
If you want to give this one to Manning, go right ahead - he deserves it. But if you don't give it to Peyton, then give it to Eagles running back LeSean McCoy, who won the NFL's rushing title with 1,607 yards and 9 touchdowns, and he added 539 yards and a score receiving - bringing his season total to 2,146 total yards and 10 touchdowns. He was a major part of the Eagles' 10-6 division championship and had a phenomenal year individually as well.
Defensive Player of the Year: Robert Mathis, OLB, Indianapolis Colts
It's not just that he led the NFL in sacks with 19.5. It's that the Colts as a team only got 42 total, which means that Robert Mathis accounted for 46.4% of his team's sacks. That's a ridiculously high number, and added to that is the fact that Mathis also forced 8 fumbles and this award should belong to the outside linebacker in Indianapolis.
This one is so close that it's split between these two players. Allen had a great year with the Chargers, catching 71 passes for 1,046 yards and 8 scores. He played a huge part in the Chargers getting a wild card berth in the AFC. Lacy for the Packers rushed 284 times for 1,178 yards (4.15 yards per carry) and 11 touchdowns and caught 35 passes for 257 yards. He was one of the main reasons the Packers stayed in the hunt during the time quarterback Aaron Rodgers missed due to injury.
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Sheldon Richardson, DT, New York Jets
The first round pick of the Jets this year certainly lived up to and exceeded expectations, as he recorded 76 tackles, 3.5 sacks, and forced a fumble. He was a huge part of the defensive line and an impressive 8-8 finish for the Jets.
Coach of the Year: Bruce Arians, Arizona Cardinals
Bruce Arians was the NFL's Coach of the Year in 2012 as the interim coach for the Indianapolis Colts, and he should repeat as the winner again this year. He took over a team that won five games last year and that didn't have much talent and a team that played in the toughest division in football - and he won. The Cardinals won a very impressive 10 games and the offense really came along under Arians, although the defense was most impressive. In a year with several very deserving candidates - Arians, Andy Reid (Chiefs), Ron Rivera (Panthers), Chip Kelly (Eagles), Bill Belichick (Patriots) - Arians is the most worthy winner, in my opinion, and he should repeat as the NFL's Coach of the Year.
Executive of the Year: Tom Telesco, San Diego Chargers
Last year, the Indianapolis Colts had a sweep of both the Coach of the Year (Arians) and Executive of the Year (Ryan Grigson). This year, it should be a sweep of former Colts winning both the awards. I already mentioned how Arians is my Coach of the Year, and I think that San Diego general manager Tom Telesco is the Executive of the Year. Arizona's Steve Keim also did a great job, but Telesco nailed the draft and compiled a team that made the playoffs.
Comeback Player of the Year: Brent Grimes, CB, Miami Dolphins
The cornerback played in just one game last year before suffering a season-ending injury. This year, he hasn't missed a single game and has started all 16 for the Dolphins. He has recorded 60 tackles, picked off 4 passes, defended 16 passes, and scored a touchdown on a 94-yard pick-six. It has been a very impressive return for the30-year old corner.
Biggest Surprise - Team: Carolina Panthers, 12-4
The Panthers were 7-9 last year, and that only after winning their last 4. They started this season 1-3. But the way they finished was spectacular. They ended the season winning 11 of their last 12 games and playing the best defense of any team in the league. Cam Newton had a good year at quarterback and the offense played well with Newton under center. Early in the year, there was talk about Ron Rivera not coming back next season. Now, the Panthers are NFC South champions and have a first round bye in the playoffs.
Biggest Surprise - Player: Nick Foles, QB, Philadelphia Eagles
It took Nick Foles a while to even earn the starting quarterback job and the only reason he did was because of an injury to starter Michael Vick, but when Vick was ready to return it didn't matter - the job was Foles's. The second year quarterback threw for 2,891 yards and 27 touchdowns despite only throwing 317 passes all year (completing 203 of them - 64%) and he was only intercepted 2 times. Additionally, he rushed for 221 yards and 3 scores. He posted a quarterback rating of 119.2 and led the Eagles to an NFC East title and a playoff berth. Nick Foles was lights out for much of the year when he got to play, and he was by far the biggest surprise of the year.
Biggest Disappointment - Team: Houston Texans, 2-14
The Texans made the playoffs two years in a row entering this year. They were considered by many to be Super Bowl contenders. They started the season 2-0. And they finished the season 2-14, with the first overall pick in the draft, and having fired their head coach a few weeks before the season even ended. I don't know if I have ever seen a team start 2-0 and finish 0-14. That's incredible.
Biggest Disappointment - Player: Eli Manning, QB, New York Giants
There are a couple of players who I could list here - Robert Griffin III, Ray Rice, etc. - but I'm going with Eli Manning. The two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback wasn't the only reason for the Giants' dismal 7-9 season, but he sure didn't help things, either. He threw only 18 touchdown passes but 27 interceptions on the year. For a guy some who had emerged as one of the NFL's top quarterbacks and who has won two rings, he absolutely has to be better than that.
Best Game: Carolina Panthers at New England Patriots
This was one of the best all-around football games you'll watch, and the Panthers went to New England and made a statement. With 59 seconds left in the game, Cam Newton his Ted Ginn Jr. for a 25 yard touchdown to put the Panthers up 24-20. Still, at the end of the game Tom Brady had one last shot on a throw to the end zone, but on a controversial no-call where no pass interference was called even though there appeared to be interference, the pass fell incomplete and the Panthers won. While the officiating overshadowed the result (representative of the rest of the year) and it was a great finish, make no mistake - this was a great overall game, too.
Best Moment: Peyton Manning's Return to Indianapolis
I might be biased, but even when you look at it rationally, this was great and touching. It was clear that Manning was moved by the reception and it was clear that he still loves Indy - and that Indy still loves him. Even then, however, it was a game between two of the league's best in a tremendous atmosphere and Andrew Luck and the Colts played a great ball game to win and spoil Manning's homecoming, 39-33.
Thoughts? Agree? Disagree? Let me know your opinions in the comments!