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NFL Honors Front Runners

Aaron Rodgers was named MVP last season, and his play hasn’t skipped a beat at all. He has guided Green Bay Packers to a third consecutive 13-win season, as well as the NFC’s top seed and home-field advantage in the postseason. He topped the league in QB rating with 111.9 and finished among the league leaders after completing 68.9 percent of his throws for 4,115 yards, 37 touchdowns, and only four interceptions, on 531 attempts all season.

Most Valuable Player

After throwing two interceptions in week one against New Orleans, he only threw two more the remainder of the season. It’s like he’s playing on the rookie difficulty in Madden. Tom Brady came in second place for me after leading the league in passing yards and touchdowns and setting the NFL single-season completions record with 485. After shattering the NFL single-season completions record on 719 attempts and topping the league in passing yards and touchdowns, Let’s take it a step further: Brady’s arm strength remains unmatched.

Regardless of how you cut it, his pass velocity in 2021 is the sixth-best in the league, and he’s 44 years old. Rodgers’ case is based on efficiency, but volume is important at the quarterback position. Brady concluded the season as PFF’s top-rated quarterback, and he led the league in Wins Above Replacement (WAR). In my opinion, this MVP race is quite difficult to decide a winner, but I’m going with Aaron Rodgers. The fact that he had a 37 to 2 TD to INT ratio after week one is absurd and the Packers were the best team in the NFL by far for most of the season. It can go either way.

Offensive Player Of the Year

Cooper Kupp had a season for the ages, becoming only the fourth player in NFL history to lead the league in catches, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns. He matched Michael Irvin‘s and Calvin Johnson‘s season record with 11 100-yard receiving performances. He has 145 catches for 1,947 yards and 16 touchdowns. Jonathan Taylor, who had 1,811 yards and 18 touchdowns on the ground, was also considered.  Tom Brady and Trent Williams were 3rd and 4th in my opinion. Williams was by far the best offensive lineman in the league, Williams finished the year with a PFF rating of 97.8. 

Defensive Player Of the Year

KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI – JANUARY 16: T.J. Watt #90 of the Pittsburgh Steelers recovers a fumble and runs the ball for a touchdown in the second quarter of the game against the Kansas City Chiefs in the NFC Wild Card Playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium on January 16, 2022, in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images)

Before the season, TJ Watt signed a four-year, $112 million contract extension, making him the highest-paid defensive player in the NFL. This season, it’s reasonable to say he earned it. Watt is the heart and soul of the Pittsburgh Steelers defense and club. TJ had 22.5 sacks, five forced fumbles, 21 tackles for a loss, and 64 total tackles in the regular season. Watt equaled Michael Strahan for the most sacks in a single season, despite missing two games due to injury. Nick Bosa, Myles Garrett, Aaron Donald, and Trevon Diggs were among the other candidates in my perspective. One of the biggest reasons Diggs didn’t win was because he surrendered over 1000 yards during the season.

Offensive Rookie Of the Year

Many people wondered why the Cincinnati Bengals selected Ja’Marr Chase over one of the top offensive linemen available in the 2021 NFL Draft. Burrow had just recovered from an ACL tear that had halted his season, and the offensive line was a huge concern. Nobody is now questioning the decision. Chase had one of the most spectacular rookie seasons in NFL history as a wide receiver. He shattered Chad Johnson‘s club single-season receiving yardage record of 1,440 yards in 2007, and he finished second all-time in receiving yards and touchdowns by a rookie.

Chase is the first NFL postseason rookie to have multiple 100-yard games. With 279 postseason receiving yards, he retains the record for the most by a rookie in NFL history. Former college teammate Justin Jefferson now has the most receiving yards by a rookie in a regular season. Chase and Burrow renewed their LSU magic, with Chase finishing with 81 catches for 1,455 yards and 13 touchdowns, and what’s crazy, Chase led the league in drops. Nobody in my option is even in 2nd place, maybe Mac Jones but it’s not even a conversation for a debate at all.

Defensive Rookie Of the Year

Other than Ja’Marr Chase, this was the simplest award to predict. It’s Micah Parsons, and that’s all there is to it. Despite being a top-five talent in the 2021 NFL Draft, he fell out of the top ten due to character issues. The Dallas Cowboys jumped on Parsons at No. 12 overall and discovered a future superstar. He began slowly, averaging 2.5 sacks in the first eight weeks before ramping up to 10.5 in the second half of the year.

Parsons was a significant reason Dallas’ defense improved this season, as he ended with 84 total stops, 13 sacks, 20 tackles for loss, and three forced fumbles. Parsons matched for the most by a rookie in the last decade with Bradley Chubb, and three more would break Jevon Kearse‘s 22-year-old rookie record of 14.5. Chase Young and Nick Bosa, are both 2nd overall picks in 2019 and 2020 and the last two Defensive Rookie of the Year winners.

Comeback Player Of the Year

Joe Burrow has been the key in helping the Bengals turn things around so quickly and reach their first AFC Championship game since 1988 during his second year in the league. Burrow has thrown for 4,611 yards this season, which is sixth in the league, and 34 passing touchdowns  This postseason, the former No. 1 overall draft pick in the 2020 NFL Draft helped guide the Bengals to its first playoff victory in 31 years. The 2019 Heisman Trophy winner will become the first quarterback picked first overall to participate in a conference championship game during his first second season.

Only two starting quarterbacks in NFL history have won both a national title and a Super Bowl. Joe Namath, a NY Jets legend, was the first to win the NCAA title with Alabama in 1964 before helping the Jets defeat the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl III. Similarly, Joe Montana won a national championship at Notre Dame in 1977 before going on to win four Super Bowls with the San Francisco 49ers. Both Hall of Famers has Super Bowl MVP trophies as well. Dak Prescott, who was someone else I considered, Dak appeared in just over four games after suffering a serious ankle injury in the Cowboys’ sixth game of the season in 2020.

Aside from the long, difficult comeback from that heartbreaking setback, in which he had started every game of his NFL career, he was also dealing with a shoulder injury heading into the 2021 season. That didn’t even matter, though, since Prescott resumed up where he left off in the offense to have his greatest season with the Cowboys. Prescott threw for 4,449 yards, 37 touchdown touchdowns, and completed 68.8 percent of his throws.

GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN – JANUARY 22: Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers’ passes during the game against the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Divisional Playoff game at Lambeau Field on January 22, 2022, in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The 49ers defeated the Packers 13-10. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)

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Thanks for reading my article on “NFL Honors Front Runners”. For more quality football content, consider following my Twitter account @joshripka1, and follow @OTH_Football and @OT_Heroics on Twitter and Instagram.

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