2012 WalterFootball.com NFL Awards

The 13th-annual WalterFootball.com Awards will be posted live Sunday afternoon starting around 1 Eastern. Follow me @walterfootball for updates.

M.V.P. – Peyton Manning, QB, Broncos.

I don’t understand the argument for Adrian Peterson winning the MVP. No running back can be the MVP in the NFL right now because the league is so predicated on the pass. If you think that isn’t fair, well that’s just how the NFL works. There’s a reason terrible signal-callers are reached for every single April. Teams are just that desperate for quarterbacks because they’re so extremely valuable. Hence, Most VALUABLE Player.

Viking fans will point out that their team wouldn’t have reached the playoffs without Peterson. This is true, but it’s not a valid reason for Peterson winning MVP because Minnesota would have put together an even better record if Peyton Manning had been swapped in a trade for Peterson. Minnesota backers may not want to hear that, but it’s the absolute truth. A few players – Manning, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers – would have gotten the Vikings further than AD.

Peterson is the best player in the NFL, but he’s not one of the top three most valuable players.

Past Winners of this Award:
2011: Drew Brees, QB, Saints
2010: Tom Brady, QB, Patriots
2009: Drew Brees, QB, Saints
2008: Kurt Warner, QB, Cardinals
2007: Tom Brady, QB, Patriots
2006: LaDainian Tomlinson, RB, Chargers
2005: Tom Brady, QB, Patriots
2004: Michael Vick, QB, Falcons
2003: Tom Brady, QB, Patriots
2002: Michael Vick, QB, Falcons
2001: Tom Brady, QB, Patriots
2000: Donovan McNabb, QB, Eagles

Quarterback of the Year – Peyton Manning, Broncos.

Many doubted Peyton Manning entering this season. How could he possibly play on a Pro Bowl level after four neck surgeries? Well, Manning proved everyone wrong. Not only was he terrific; he was the top quarterback in the NFL. He threw for 4,659 yards, 37 touchdowns and only 11 interceptions, maintaining a completion percentage of 68.6, which was good for tops in the NFL among starters.

Past Winners of this Award:
2011: Aaron Rodgers, Packers
2010: Aaron Rodgers, Packers
2009: Peyton Manning, Colts
2008: Drew Brees, Saints
2007: Tom Brady, Patriots
2006: Drew Brees, Saints
2005: Carson Palmer, Bengals
2004: Peyton Manning, Colts
2003: Peyton Manning, Colts
2002: Rich Gannon, Raiders
2001: Kurt Warner, Rams
2000: Peyton Manning, Colts

Running Back of the Year – Adrian Peterson, Vikings.

Adrian Peterson was unbelievable in 2012. Despite coming off a brutal knee injury and playing with a sports hernia, he rushed for 2,097 yards and 12 touchdowns, maintaining a 6.0 yards-per-carry average. He fell just nine yards shy of breaking Eric Dickerson’s single-season record. Peterson was also a big factor in the passing game, which was not the case in 2011. He caught 40 balls for 217 receiving yards.

Past Winners of this Award:
2011: Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars
2010: Jamaal Charles, Chiefs
2009: Chris Johnson, Titans
2008: DeAngelo Williams, Panthers
2007: Brian Westbrook, Eagles
2006: LaDainian Tomlinson, Chargers
2005: Larry Johnson, Chiefs
2004: Curtis Martin, Jets
2003: LaDainian Tomlinson, Chargers
2002: Priest Holmes, Chiefs
2001: Marshall Faulk, Rams
2000: Marshall Faulk, Rams

Wide Receiver of the Year – Calvin Johnson, Lions.

Calvin Johnson shattered Jerry Rice’s single-season receiving yards record. He caught 122 balls for 1,964 yards, easily passing by Rice’s old mark of 1,848. Sure, Megatron compiled most of these numbers in garbage time, but that’s not his fault. I never understood that criticism. Why should his greatness have an asterisk if most of his teammates stink?

Past Winners of this Award:
2011: Calvin Johnson, Lions
2010: Roddy White, Falcons
2009: Andre Johnson, Texans
2008: Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals
2007: Randy Moss, Patriots
2006: Marvin Harrison, Colts
2005: Steve Smith, Panthers
2004: Muhsin Muhammad, Panthers
2003: Randy Moss, Vikings
2002: Marvin Harrison, Colts
2001: Terrell Owens, 49ers
2000: Randy Moss, Vikings

Tight End of the Year – Rob Gronkowski, Patriots.

Rob Gronkowski missed six regular-season games in 2012, as well as the AFC Championship, but he was so dominant when he was on the field. He hauled in 11 touchdowns, which is why he was the No. 1 fantasy tight end weeks after being out of action. Gronkowski was also one of the league’s top blockers at the tight end position to boot.

Past Winners of this Award:
2011: Rob Gronkowski, Patriots
2010: Jason Witten, Cowboys
2009: Dallas Clark, Colts
2008: Tony Gonzalez, Chiefs
2007: Jason Witten, Cowboys
2006: Antonio Gates, Chargers
2005: Antonio Gates, Chargers
2004: Tony Gonzalez, Chiefs
2003: Tony Gonzalez, Chiefs
2002: Todd Heap, Ravens
2001: Tony Gonzalez, Chiefs
2000: Tony Gonzalez, Chiefs

Offensive Tackle of the Year – Joe Thomas, Browns.

This was a very difficult decision. No offensive tackle really jumped out at me in 2012, but Joe Thomas was probably the best. He was definitely the most consistent. He barely allowed any pressure on the quarterback, which was a big reason why Brandon Weeden was able to look functional at times.

Past Winners of this Award:
2011: Joe Thomas, Browns
2010: D’Brickashaw Ferguson, Jets
2009: Joe Thomas, Browns
2008: Michael Roos, Titans
2007: Matt Light, Patriots
2006: Tarik Glenn, Colts
2005: Walter Jones, Seahawks
2004: Walter Jones, Seahawks
2003: Jonathan Ogden, Ravens
2002: Willie Roaf, Chiefs
2001: Orlando Pace, Rams
2000: Jonathan Ogden, Ravens

Offensive Guard of the Year – Evan Mathis, Eagles.

Philadelphia’s offensive line was a mess for most of the season because of injuries. Mostly a mess – because Evan Mathis was the top guard in the NFL. He was a forceful run-blocker and was seldom penalized. Best of all, he surrendered just one sack all season.

Past Winners of this Award:
2011: Carl Nicks, Saints
2010: Josh Sitton, Packers
2009: Jahri Evans, Saints
2008: Kris Dielman, Chargers
2007: Steve Hutchinson, Vikings
2006: Steve Hutchinson, Vikings
2005: Alan Faneca, Steelers
2004: Alan Faneca, Steelers
2003: Will Shields, Chiefs
2002: Ron Stone, 49ers
2001: Alan Faneca, Steelers
2000: Randall McDaniel, Buccaneers

Center of the Year – John Sullivan, Vikings.

This was a close call between John Sullivan and Max Unger. The latter was a slightly better pass protector – he didn’t permit a single sack – but Sullivan was so instrumental in Adrian Peterson’s near-record-breaking season.

Past Winners of this Award:
2011: Nick Mangold, Jets
2010: Nick Mangold, Jets
2009: Nick Mangold, Jets
2008: Kevin Mawae, Titans
2007: Jeff Saturday, Colts
2006: Olin Kreutz, Bears
2005: Jeff Hartings, Steelers
2004: Kevin Mawae, Jets
2003: Kevin Mawae, Jets
2002: Kevin Mawae, Jets
2001: Olin Kreutz, Bears
2000: Tom Nalen, Broncos

Defensive End of the Year – J.J. Watt, Texans.

J.J. Watt had one of the best seasons any defensive player has ever put together. He nearly broke Michael Strahan’s single-season sack record, which is remarkable considering that he was doing this out of the 3-4 defensive end position. He was a force against the run as well. What he was known for most, however, were his swats. He had 15 of those batted passes, earning the nickname “J.J. Swatt.”

Past Winners of this Award:
2011: Jared Allen, Vikings
2010: Julius Peppers, Bears
2009: Jared Allen, Vikings
2008: Jared Allen, Vikings
2007: Jared Allen, Chiefs
2006: Jason Taylor, Dolphins
2005: Dwight Freeney, Colts
2004: Julius Peppers, Panthers
2003: Michael Strahan, Giants
2002: Jason Taylor, Dolphins
2001: Michael Strahan, Giants
2000: Jason Taylor, Dolphins

Defensive Tackle of the Year – Geno Atkins, DT, Bengals.

Geno Atkins recorded 12.5 sacks in 2012 – by far the most out of any defensive tackle this past season. He was also a dominant force in run support. No one was even close at the position.

Past Winners of this Award:
2011: Justin Smith, 49ers
2010: Kyle Williams, Bills
2009: Kevin Williams, Vikings
2008: Albert Haynesworth, Titans
2007: Albert Haynesworth, Titans
2006: Tommie Harris, Bears
2005: Casey Hampton, Steelers
2004: Jamal Williams, Chargers
2003: Kris Jenkins, Panthers
2002: Warren Sapp, Buccaneers
2001: Warren Sapp, Buccaneers
2000: Warren Sapp, Buccaneers

Outside Linebacker of the Year – Von Miller, Broncos.

Aldon Smtih received all of the accoldates for nearly breaking Michael Strahan’s single-season sack record, but Von Miller finished with only one fewer sack. What Miller did that Smith couldn’t was be an absolute force against the run.

Past Winners of this Award:
2011: DeMarcus Ware, Cowboys
2010: Clay Matthews, Packers
2009: DeMarcus Ware, Cowboys
2008: DeMarcus Ware, Cowboys
2007: DeMarcus Ware, Cowboys
2006: Shawne Merriman, Chargers
2005: Cato June, Colts
2004: Takeo Spikes, Bills
2003: Keith Bulluck, Titans
2002: Derrick Brooks, Buccaneers
2001: Jamir Miller, Browns
2000: Derrick Brooks, Buccaneers

Inside Linebacker of the Year – Patrick Willis, 49ers.

I can pretty much use what I wrote last year: “This award hardly deserves explanation. Patrick Willis is an absolute stud with no weaknesses. He’s a dominating presence on the football field, as he and Justin Smith did a phenomenal job of transforming San Francisco’s defense into the league’s premier stop unit.”

Past Winners of this Award:
2011: Patrick Willis, 49ers
2010: Lawrence Timmons, Steelers
2009: Patrick Willis, 49ers
2008: Ray Lewis, Ravens
2007: Lofa Tatupu, Seahawks
2006: Brian Urlacher, Bears
2005: Brian Urlacher, Bears
2004: Tedy Bruschi, Patriots
2003: Ray Lewis, Ravens
2002: Zach Thomas, Dolphins
2001: Brian Urlacher, Bears
2000: Ray Lewis, Ravens

Cornerback of the Year – Richard Sherman, Seahawks.

With Darrelle Revis out of commission, Richard Sherman took over as the top cornerback in the NFL. He picked off eight passes and led the NFL in pass deflections. Oh, and he also epically taunted Tom Brady following a victory over the Patriots.

Past Winners of this Award:
2011: Darrelle Revis, Jets
2010: Tramon Williams, Packers
2009: Darrelle Revis, Jets
2008: Nnamdi Asomugha, Raiders
2007: Antonio Cromartie, Chargers
2006: Champ Bailey, Broncos
2005: Champ Bailey, Broncos
2004: Nate Clements, Bills
2003: Ty Law, Patriots
2002: Bobby Taylor, Eagles
2001: Aeneas Williams, Rams
2000: Samari Rolle, Titans

Free Safety of the Year – Jairus Byrd, S, Bills.

Jairus Byrd was exceptional in coverage this past season. He intercepted five passes and didn’t allow a single touchdown. He wasn’t great in run support, but he wasn’t totally lost in that regard.

Past Winners of this Award:
2011: Eric Weddle, Chargers
2010: Nick Collins, Packers
2009: Darren Sharper, Saints
2008: Ed Reed, Ravens
2007: Sean Taylor, Redskins
2006: Brian Dawkins, Eagles
2005: Bob Sanders, Colts
2004: Brian Dawkins, Eagles
2003: Roy Williams, Cowboys
2002: Rod Woodson, Raiders
2001: Brian Dawkins, Eagles
2000: Darren Sharper, Packers

Strong Safety of the Year – Reshad Jones, Dolphins.

Reshad Jones is listed as a free safety on NFL.com, but he played strong safety in 2012. He was great all around, especially in coverage. He picked off four passes and gave up just one touchdown.

Past Winners of this Award:
2011: Troy Polamalu, Steelers
2010: Troy Polamalu, Steelers
2009: Bernard Pollard, Texans
2008: Troy Polamalu, Steelers
2007: Bob Sanders, Colts
2006: Troy Polamalu, Steelers
2005: Troy Polamalu, Steelers
2004: Ed Reed, Ravens
2003: Ed Reed, Ravens
2002: Lance Schulters, Titans
2001: Mike Brown, Bears
2000: John Lynch, Buccaneers

Kicker of the Year – Blair Walsh, Vikings.

I nearly put Matt Bryant here because he had so many clutch field goals, but what Blair Walsh did this past season was unreal. He hit 35-of-38 attempts, including 10-of-10 from 50-plus.

Past Winners of this Award:
2011: David Akers, 49ers
2010: Matt Bryant, Falcons
2009: Garrett Hartley, Saints
2008: Jason Hanson, Lions
2007: Rob Bironas, Titans
2006: Adam Vinatieri, Colts
2005: Neil Rackers, Cardinals
2004: Adam Vinatieri, Patriots
2003: Mike Vanderjagt, Colts
2002: Adam Vinatieri, Patriots
2001: Adam Vinatieri, Patriots
2000: Matt Stover, Ravens

Special Teams Player of the Year – Jacoby Jones, Ravens.

Jacoby Jones tied Trindon Holliday with an NFL-high four return touchdowns in 2012. The former wins the tie-breaker because he had the most important score, taking back the opening kickoff in the second half of Super Bowl XLVII.

Past Winners of this Award:
2011: Patrick Peterson, Cardinals
2010: Devin Hester, Bears
2009: Joshua Cribbs, Browns
2008: Johnnie Lee Higgins, Raiders
2007: Devin Hester, Bears
2006: Devin Hester, Bears
2005: Jerome Mathis, Texans
2004: Eddie Drummond, Lions
2003: Dante Hall, Chiefs
2002: Michael Lewis, Saints
2001: Troy Brown, Patriots
2000: Derrick Mason, Titans

Offensive Rookie of the Year – Russell Wilson, QB, Seahawks.

This is so close. You could make a strong argument for Robert Griffin and Andrew Luck. But I just think Russell Wilson was the best of all the rookie quarterbacks throughout the entire year. Griffin probably would have won this award had he not gotten injured and slowed down at the end of the season. Luck, meanwhile, was responsible for just as many turnovers (23) as passing touchdowns. Wilson just got better as the year went on. He was unstoppable by the time the 2012 campaign was over. Had the Seahawks not drawn a 1 p.m. start on the East Coast, they may have won the Super Bowl.

Past Winners of this Award:
2011: Cam Newton, QB, Panthers
2010: Sam Bradford, QB, Rams
2009: Sebastian Vollmer, OT, Patriots
2008: Joe Flacco, QB, Ravens
2007: Joe Thomas, OT, Browns
2006: Vince Young, QB, Titans
2005: Cadillac Williams, RB, Buccaneers
2004: Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers
2003: Anquan Boldin, WR, Cardinals
2002: Clinton Portis, RB, Broncos
2001: Anthony Thomas, RB, Bears
2000: Jamal Lewis, RB, Ravens

Defensive Rookie of the Year – Bobby Wagner, ILB, Seahawks.

Luke Kuechly won this award in real life, but he wasn’t even the top rookie linebacker. Bobby Wagner had the better year overall. Kuechly finished strong, but he struggled at the beginning of the year when he was stationed at the weakside position.

Past Winners of this Award:
2011: Aldon Smith, DE/OLB, 49ers
2010: Ndamukong Suh, DT, Lions
2009: Brian Cushing, OLB, Texans
2008: Jerod Mayo, ILB, Patriots
2007: Patrick Willis, ILB, 49ers
2006: Mark Anderson, DE, Bears
2005: Lofa Tatupu, ILB, Seahawks
2004: Jonathan Vilma, ILB, Jets
2003: Terence Newman, CB, Cowboys
2002: Dwight Freeney, DE, Colts
2001: Kendrell Bell, ILB, Steelers
2000: Corey Simon, DT, Eagles

Special Teams Rookie of the Year – Blair Walsh, K, Vikings.

I still can’t get over that Blair Walsh was 10-of-10 from 50-plus – as a mere rookie.

Past Winners of this Award:
2011: Patrick Peterson, Cardinals
2010: Jacoby Ford, Raiders
2009: Percy Harvin, Vikings
2008: Clifton Smith, Buccaneers
2007: Yamon Figurs, Ravens
2006: Devin Hester, Bears
2005: Jerome Mathis, Texans
2004: Wes Welker, Dolphins
2003: Bethel Johnson, Patriots
2002: Michael “Beer Man” Lewis, Saints
2001: Steve Smith, Panthers
2000: Ron Dixon, Giants

Most Improved Offensive Player – Michael Crabtree, WR, 49ers.

Many believed that Michael Crabtree was a bust prior to the 2012 season. In fact, some deemed Darrius Heyward-Bey to be the better of the two picks from the 2009 NFL Draft. Crabtree, after all, had never accumulated more than 900 receiving yards in a single season. Well, that’s no longer the case. The man known as Miguel Lobsterbush logged 85 receptions for 1,105 yards and nine touchdowns. He was extremely hot toward the end of the year when Colin Kaepernick took over, catching 55 passed for 823 yards and seven scores in his final eight games (including the playoffs).

Past Winners of this Award:
2011: Fred Jackson, RB, Bills
2010: Brandon Lloyd, WR, Broncos
2009: Vernon Davis, TE, 49ers
2008: DeAngelo Williams, RB, Panthers
2007: Wes Welker, WR, Patriots
2006: Ladell Betts, RB, Redskins
2005: Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers
2004: Drew Brees, QB, Chargers
2003: Steve Smith, WR, Panthers
2002: Koren Robinson, WR, Seahawks
2001: Troy Brown, WR, Patriots
2000: Jeff Garcia, QB, 49ers

Most Improved Defensive Player – Muhammad Wilkerson, DE/DT, Jets.

Paul Kruger was considered for this award, but Muhammad Wilkerson was dominant the entire season. He was the primary player who kept the Jets’ defense intact when Darrelle Revis went down. He was an absolute force against the run and got good pressure on quarterbacks. Outside of J.J. Watt and perhaps Justin Smith and Calais Campbell, there’s not a better 3-4 defensive end in all of football.

Past Winners of this Award:
2011: Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, Giants
2010: Cameron Wake, DE/OLB, Dolphins
2009: Ray Edwards, DE, Vikings
2008: James Harrison, DE/OLB, Steelers
2007: Mario Williams, DE, Texans
2006: Nnamdi Asomugha, CB, Raiders
2005: Derrick Burgess, DE, Raiders
2004: James Hall, DE, Lions
2003: Brian Russell, S, Vikings
2002: Keith Bulluck, OLB, Titans
2001: Ahmed Plummer, CB, 49ers
2000: La’Roi Glover, DT, Saints

M.U.P. (Most Unimportant Player) – Randy Moss, Terrell Owens, Chad Johnson, WRs.

I don’t like to give out an award to multiple players, but these three seem destined to be linked together. The ESPN talking heads – mainly Cris Carter and Keyshawn Johnson – made so much about where these receivers would play or how they weren’t being utilized properly, but the fact remains that Randy Moss, Terrell Owens and Choco Johncinco are decrepit has-beens who aren’t good enough to still be in the NFL. Owens and Johnson didn’t even make their respective rosters, which drew criticism from Carter and Keyshawn, while Moss remained on the 49ers because of pure stubbornness. Moss barely did anything positive and finally hurt his team with his trademark lethargy by quitting on a route when Colin Kaepernick threw his only interception of the Super Bowl. Moss is an apathetic bum and should not be in the league next year.

Past Winners of this Award:
2011: Albert Haynesworth, DT, Patriots/Buccaneers
2010: Terrell Owens, WR, Bengals
2009: QB Dog Killer, QB, Eagles
2008: Plaxico Burress, Giants
2007: Michael Vick, Falcons
2006: Randy Moss, Raiders
2005: Terrell Owens, Eagles
2004: Kevan Barlow, 49ers
2003: Keyshawn Johnson, Buccaneers
2002: Barrett Robbins, Raiders
2001: Randy Moss, Vikings
2000: Deion Sanders, Redskins

Comeback Player of the Year – Adrian Peterson, RB, Vikings.

Call me a contrarian, but I believe that the awards Peyton Manning and Adrian Peterson won in real life should be reversed. Manning had a great comeback, but everyone knew he’d play. They didn’t know how well, but the consensus was that he would at least be a very good game manager. On the other hand, Peterson’s status for September was in serious doubt, even in the summer. Minnesota’s own running backs coach told reporters that Peterson wouldn’t be ready for Week 1. Despite this, Peterson was a first down shy of breaking one of the most cherished records in the NFL.

If you’re not convinced, just listen to what Dr. James Andrews had to say: “I can’t believe it … For this guy to have played as much football as he’s played his whole life, and not to have hardly any wear and tear, it’s incredible. I’ve never seen a football player, especially one who runs and cuts as much as he does, with a knee in that condition.”

Past Winners of this Award:
2011: Willis McGahee, RB, Broncos
2010: Brandon Lloyd, WR, Broncos
2009: Vince Young, QB, Titans
2008: Kerry Collins, QB, Titans
2007: Todd Collins, QB, Redskins
2006: Jeff Garcia, QB, Eagles
2005: Brad Johnson, QB, Vikings
2004: Mark Fields, LB, Panthers
2003: Marcus Robinson, WR, Ravens
2002: Tommy Maddox, QB, Steelers
2001: Garrison Hearst, RB, 49ers

Blue Collar Player of the Year – Reggie Wayne, WR, Colts.

Reggie Wayne was fully expected to leave the Colts along with Peyton Manning, Dallas Clark, Jeff Saturday and the other Indianapolis veterans. Instead, he stuck with the team that drafted him and helped his rookie quarterback’s progression. His best moment, however, was stepping up when Chuck Pagano was diagnosed with leukemia, single-handedly upsetting the Packers when he caught 13 passes for 212 yards and a touchdown. It also has to be noted that Wayne was one of the league’s best blocking receivers.

Past Winners of this Award:
2011: Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jaguars
2010: Drew Brees, QB, Saints
2009: Steven Jackson, RB, Rams
2008: Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers
2007: Fred Taylor, RB, Jaguars
2006: Lorenzo Neal, FB, Chargers
2005: Tedy Bruschi, ILB, Patriots
2004: Troy Brown, WR/CB, Patriots
2003: Brett Favre, QB, Packers
2002: Hines Ward, WR, Steelers
2001: Hines Ward, WR, Steelers

Perseverance Award – Joe Flacco, QB, Ravens.

When Eli Manning called himself elite, he received some criticism. He had some supporters, however, because he had already won a Super Bowl. When Joe Flacco made the same statement this past offseason, everyone laughed at him and thought it was a joke. Flacco had some poor moments during the season, but stepped up in every single big game. Throwing 11 touchdowns and no interceptions tied Joe Montana for the best playoff ratio in league history. Now that’s elite.

Past Winners of this Award:
2011: Tim Tebow, QB, Broncos
2010: Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers
2009: NFL Fans (for Brett Favre coverage)
2008: Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers
2007: Eli Manning, QB, Giants
2006: Peyton Manning, QB, Colts
2005: Cincinnati Bengals Fans
2004: John Fox, head coach, Panthers
2003: Donovan McNabb, QB, Eagles

Celebration Award – Ray Lewis, Ravens.

Ray Lewis’ two final dances – before and after Baltimore’s opening-round playoff victory over Indianapolis – were unbelievably awesome. It’s upsetting that we’ll never see that again.

Past Winners of this Award:
2011: Tim Tebow, Broncos (Tebowing)
2010: Derek Anderson, Cardinals (press conference meltdown)
2009: Chad Ochocinco, Bengals (salute to Chris Henry)
2008: Santonio Holmes (Super Bowl ball prop)
2007: Jerry Jones, Cowboys (rapture)
2006: None (fine for celebrations)
2005: Chad Johnson, Bengals (many)
2004: Terrell Owens, Eagles (many)
2003: Joe Horn, Saints (cell phone)
2002: Terrell Owens, 49ers (Sharpee)

“I Don’t Belong in the NFL” Award – Titus Young, Lions.

Titus Young punched a teammate, lined up in the wrong spots intentionally to sabotage a potential victory and openly criticized the coaching staff on Twitter for not giving him enough touches – all in a span of half of year. Young is talented, but he’s a complete imbecile. I can’t believe the Rams are taking a risk on him. He could easily poison that locker room.

Past Winners of this Award:
2011: Caleb Hanie, Bears
2010: Vince Young, Titans
2009: Al Davis, Raiders
2008: Detroit Lions
2007: Randy Mueller, Dolphins
2006: Charley Casserly, Texans
2005: Charley Casserly, Texans
2004: John York, 49ers
2003: Steve Spurrier, Redskins
2002: Marty Mornhinweg, Lions
2001: Daniel Snyder, Redskins

Joe Value Player – Mark Sanchez, Jets.

This new award, suggested by forum member Clov, is given to the player who provided us with the biggest “what the f*** are you doing” moment of the year. That would unquestionably be Mark Sanchez, who gave us a comedy show after our Thanksgiving feast. Sanchez self-destructed against the Patriots, running into an offensive lineman’s rear end. This, of course, became infamously known as the Butt Fumble. I don’t think we’ll ever forget where we were and whom we were with when we saw the Butt Fumble in live action.

Past Winners of this Award:
New Award

Free Agent Nightmare Award – Robert Meachem, Chargers.

This new award, suggested by forum member SirA, is given to the player who was the worst free agent signing of the offseason. It was a close call between Robert Meachem, John Carlson and Laurent Robinson, but the former gets this award because the other two were hurt. Meachem signed a 4-year, $25.9 million contract with $14 million guaranteed in March, which prompted me to give San Diego a “Millen” grade. It was such an obvious poor signing because Meachem wasn’t able to be productive with Drew Brees, so why would he suddenly excel with Philip Rivers?

The Millen grade held up, as Meachem caught just 14 passes, meaning each reception was worth $1 million of that guaranteed money. Of course, Meachem also had that terrible drop that cost San Diego a victory against the Browns. He’s an awful player who won’t be in the league much longer.

Past Winners of this Award:
New Award

The Backdoor Bandit Award – Ray Rice, Ravens.

This new award, suggested by forum mod VBSiena, is given to the player who cost me the most money because of something bogus. The Backdoor Bandit was the moniker that I gave to Seneca Wallace, who was responsible for putting together a ridiculous amount of backdoor covers. This year’s award goes to Ray Rice, who ruined my perfect call on the Chargers by converting that insane 4th-and-29 – even though he clearly didn’t reach the first-down marker. I’ll be furious about this for years to come.

Past Winners of this Award:
New Award
2009: Ted Ginn, Dolphins (retroactively)
2008: Seneca Wallace, Seahawks (retroactively)

Scrub of the Year – Mark Sanchez, QB, Jets.

This award is for the player who was the Scrub of the Week the most times on my NFL Power Rankings page. Two players were Scrub of the Week twice, Mark Sanchez and Chris Johnson.

I’ve decided to start doing tie-breakers for this. Chris Johnson wins that and this dubious award by being a “Player of the Week” once. Sanchez, meanwhile, stunk the entire season.

Sanchez single-handedly capsized the Jets’ 2012 season. He ruined great defensive efforts with so many untimely turnovers. He also occupies so much of the salary cap that New York will have to let go of valuable veterans this offseason. People in the media will inexplicably continue to make excuses for Sanchez, citing that New York’s front office destroyed his confidence by bringing in Tim Tebow, but Sanchez was already a hot mess prior to that trade. His implosion at the end of the 2011 season has conveniently been forgotten by poor long-term memory and dumb media groupthink.

Past Winners of this Award:
2011: LeGarrette Blount, RB, Buccaneers; Chris Johnson, Rb, Titans
2010: Randy Moss, WR, Patriots/Vikings/Titans
2009: Jake Delhomme, QB, Panthers
2008: Carson Palmer, QB, Bengals
2007: Brian Griese, QB, Bears
2006: Rex Grossman, QB, Bears
2005: J.P. Losman, QB, Bills; Vinny Testaverde, QB, Jets
2004: Mike Martz, head coach, Rams
2003: Joey Harrington, QB, Lions; Jeff Garcia, QB, 49ers; Drew Bledsoe, QB, Bills
2002: Randy Moss, WR, Vikings
2001: Elvis Grbac, QB, Ravens

Stat-Stuffer of the Year – Rob Gronkowski, TE, Patriots.

This award is for the player who was listed first at his position the most times as a top weekly fantasy player on my NFL Power Rankings page. There were two players listed thrice: Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham. The former gets this award because he missed so many games. He could have been listed as a top fantasy player four or maybe five times otherwise.

Past Winners of this Award:
2011: Arian Foster, RB, Texans; Rob Gronkowski, TE, Patriots; Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers
2010: Arian Foster, RB, Texans; Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Steelers; Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers; Philip Rivers, QB, Chargers
2009: Chris Johnson, RB, Titans
2008: Brian Westbrook, RB, Eagles
2007: Tom Brady, QB, Patriots
2006: LaDainian Tomlinson, RB, Chargers
2005: Larry Johnson, RB, Chiefs; LaDainian Tomlinson, RB, Chargers; Steve Smith, WR, Panthers
2004: Peyton Manning, QB, Colts
2003: Peyton Manning, QB, Colts
2002: Tom Brady, QB, Patriots; Priest Holmes, RB, Chiefs; Daunte Culpepper, QB, Vikings
2001: Marshall Faulk, RB, Rams

Coach of the Year – John Harbaugh, Ravens.

Both Harbaughs made an extremely bold move toward the end of the season. Jim decided to go with Colin Kaepernick despite most of the media opining that Alex Smith should be the starter. John, meanwhile, fired offensive coordinator Cam Cameron and replaced him with Jim Caldwell. Both moves paid off, so John and Jim were 1 and 1A in this department entering the Super Bowl. John outcoached Jim in New Orleans, so he earns this award.

Past Winners of this Award:
2011: Jim Harbaugh, 49ers
2010: Bill Belichick, Patriots
2009: Rex Ryan, Jets
2008: Bill Belichick, Patriots
2007: Bill Belichick, Patriots
2006: Bill Belichick, Patriots
2005: Lovie Smith, Bears
2004: Bill Cowher, Steelers
2003: Bill Parcells, Cowboys
2002: John Gruden, Buccaneers
2001: Bill Belichick, Patriots

Coordinator of the Year – Bruce Arians, Colts.

There’s no question about who should win this award. Bruce Arians did an amazing job filling in for Chuck Pagano when the Colts’ head coach was diagnosed with leukemia. Arians helped lead the Colts to an unexpected 11-5 record and a playoff berth.

Past Winners of this Award:
2011: Wade Phillips, Texans
2010: Dom Capers, Packers
2009: Gregg Williams, Saints
2008: Dick LeBeau, Steelers
2007: Steve Spagnulo, Giants
2006: Rex Ryan, Ravens
2005: Dick LeBeau, Steelers
2004: Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel, Patriots
2003: Jim Johnson, Eagles
2002: Monte Kiffin, Buccaneers
2001: Mike Mularkey, Steelers

WalterFootball.com Award (Best Player) – Adrian Peterson, RB, Vikings.

There’s a difference between most valuable player and best player. Adrian Peterson can’t be the most valuable because of his position, but there is no doubt that he was the league’s best player in 2012. While nearly breaking one of the league’s most heralded records, he averaged six yards per carry and carried his team to a playoff berth – and he did this after suffering a devastating knee injury the prior December. Peterson is a freak of nature.

Past Winners of this Award:
2011: Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers
2010: Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers
2009: Chris Johnson, RB, Titans
2008: Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Cardinals
2007: Tom Brady, QB, Patriots
2006: LaDainian Tomlinson, RB, Chargers
2005: Larry Johnson, RB, Chiefs
2004: Ed Reed, S, Ravens
2003: LaDainian Tomlinson, RB, Chargers
2002: Michael Vick, QB, Falcons
2001: Marshall Faulk, RB, Rams
2000: Marshall Faulk, RB, Rams

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