It’s been a whacky NFL season. The Bills are in the playoffs, the Chargers are in Los Angeles and the Raiders are in deep sh*t.
While the Associated Press like to wait until the night before the Super Bowl, we here at Paddy Power don’t have an awards ceremony, so we can hand them out whenever we want.
Unless Bill Belichick wants to pop along to Power Tower for a cuppa, that is.
Most Valuable Player: Tom Brady (New England Patriots)
He lead the league in passing yards. He only threw eight interceptions.
Russell Wilson was the only player to throw more scores than him. He’s top of the NFL in average yards per game. He completed sixty-six per cent of his passes. Brady still hasn’t got a number one tailback. He was sacked thirty-five times.
He had no Julian Edelman. Various weapons missed time. He is forty years of age and he is still the best example of elite mentality in world sport. Once again, he is the NFL’s MVP.
Tom Brady deep to Brandin Cooks for 37 yards pic.twitter.com/YFAbSROL1p
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) December 31, 2017
Coach of the Year: Sean McVay (Los Angeles Rams)
Sean McVay is nine years younger than Tom Brady. It’s quite a startling realisation. Seven years ago, he was the assistant tight ends coach at the Washington Redskins. He was just 24.
Here we are in 2018, and McVay has led a bang average unit to an eleven-win season – seven more than they’d managed in the previous year – and they’re looking at a Super Bowl run.
It’s his first year as a head coach. With a team that haven’t been accepted with open arms by a city who couldn’t care less about their existence. McVay could have transformed a franchise, not just a team.
Congrats, Sean McVay!
McVay becomes the youngest coach in NFL History to make the playoffs. ?pic.twitter.com/0TzCqDHqgH
— LeadingNFL ™ (@LeadingNFL) December 25, 2017
Offensive Player of the Year: Todd Gurley (Los Angeles Rams)
Put down the pitchforks, this does occasionally happen. The most valuable player is exactly that. Their worth is measured in more than just stats. Brady is a leader among men and has been there and done it.
Todd Gurley, however, was the best offensive weapon in the sport in 2017. He took in 64 passes for 788 yards and six touchdowns.
He’s all purpose, he can block in blitz situations and he took it to the house on thirteen more occasions on the ground – racking up 1,305 yards, and nineteen touchdowns in totals. That’s over 2,000 all-purpose yards.
Prior to the resting of most of the team in week 17, Gurley had accounted for 38 per cent of total scrimmage yards for his team, and 43 per cent total touchdowns.
— Andy Benoit (@Andy_Benoit) December 20, 2017
Defensive Player of the Year: Harrison Smith (Minnesota Vikings)
Not only was he the best safety in football this past season, he was the best defender in football. Aaron Donald was a very close second, but this unit overall is talented underneath with pacey linebackers. Therefore, Smith sees more of the ball. They allow sixteen points a game, and have the second-best pass defence in the league.
They’ve not been blessed with big-money free agency pickups like the Jaguars and the Rams. He picked up five interceptions, totalled sixty-one tackles and even got 1.5 sacks from the free safety spot. His Pro Bowl snub is criminal, and his PFF grade is wild – a 98.0.
— Andy Benoit (@Andy_Benoit) December 27, 2017
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Kareem Hunt (Kansas City Chiefs)
In a season where he finished with more rushing yards than the OPOY, it would be untoward should he not take home this gong. Hunt came out of Toledo with relatively low expectations attached to him. He didn’t highlight the draft boards like Leonard Fournette.
Yet, here we are – Hunt carried this team at times and they rely on the run. He won the rushing yards award and he’s realistically the only option, considering every rookie receiver was practically a bust. Spare a thought for Deshaun Watson.
— Jeff Rosen (@jeff_rosen88) December 31, 2017
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Marshon Lattimore (New Orleans Saints)
With less injuries, this would have gone to Reuben Foster. However, Lattimore’s taken a defence that typically struggled on the back end, asked for the opposition’s best receiver, gotten him, and beaten him.
Given the multitude of plays you need to learn as a corner in this league and the division he found himself in, that’s an incredible feat. He defended twenty-three passes and picked off five. He returned one for a touchdown, and returned the Saints to the playoffs.
Marshon Lattimore is a big time CB. The Saints had a phenomenal draft. Stole Lattimore while teams like the Bengals/Chargers/Titants drafted over-valued WRs #NOvsATL #GoSaints pic.twitter.com/o19EUmFOxO
— Thiago Scabbia (@TScabbia) December 8, 2017
Comeback Player of the Year: Keenan Allen (Los Angeles Chargers)
Is there a better route runner in the NFL? No. Do route runners rely on their quick releases, instant cuts and straight-line running? Absolutely.
Is doing this after coming back from an ACL tear difficult? Certainly. Allen came third in receiving yards for the season after an injury that many believed would render him broken. Not one bit of it.
— NFL (@NFL) December 10, 2017