2013 WalterFootball.com NFL Awards

The 14th-annual WalterFootball.com Awards are here! Follow me @walterfootball for updates.

M.V.P. – Peyton Manning, QB, Broncos.

I’m usually a contrarian when it comes to the MVP award. For instance, I voted Peyton Manning over Adrian Peterson last year because I argued that no running back can win the award, given that the league is so predicated on the pass. The Vikings had no chance to win in the playoffs given their quarterback situation, so how could Peterson be an MVP? Peterson was the best player in the league, but he wasn’t the most valuable.

However, I’m going with the consensus this year. Manning deserves the MVP. He’s enjoyed the best statistical season of any passer in league history, and there’s very little doubt that the Broncos wouldn’t have done anything without him.

Past Winners of this Award:
2012: Peyton Manning, QB, Broncos
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 the 2012 season. How could he possibly play on a Pro Bowl level after four neck surgeries? All Manning did one season later was compile the most passing yards and touchdowns in a single year in NFL history. There’s no doubt that Manning deserves this award.

Past Winners of this Award:
2012: Peyton Manning, Broncos
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 – Jamaal Charles, Chiefs.

It’s a shame that Jamaal Charles suffered a concussion in the opening-round playoff game against the Colts, but at least he can take solace in knowing that he was the best running back in the NFL. Charles had about 300 fewer rushing yards than LeSean McCoy, but he had just 259 carries compared to McCoy’s 314. Charles made up for it by catching 70 passes. He also scored 19 touchdowns, almost single-handedly putting Kansas City’s offense on his shoulders.

Past Winners of this Award:
2012: Adrian Peterson, Vikings
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 – Josh Gordon, Browns.

Josh Gordon was the only NFL receiver with more than 1,500 yards this past season. He accumulated 1,646 yards and nine touchdowns – and he did so despite missing the first two games of the season! Here are a couple of other things to consider: First, despite being eighth in targets, he was not in the top 10 in dropped passes. Second, he had Brandon Weeden, Brian Hoyer and Jason Campbell throwing the ball to him. Imagine what he could have accomplished with a talented quarterback.

Past Winners of this Award:
2012: Calvin Johnson, Lions
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 – Jimmy Graham, Saints.

Jimmy Graham was the only tight end to register more than 1,000 yards in 2013. He caught 86 balls for 1,215 yards and a whopping 16 touchdowns, which nearly broke the NFL single-season record for touchdowns by a tight end. The thing is, Graham did all of this while hampered with multiple injuries in the second half of the year, yet he was still able to dominate despite not playing on most of the snaps.

Past Winners of this Award:
2012: Rob Gronkowski, Patriots
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.

Joe Thomas gets this award for the third year in a row, proving how utterly useless left tackles can be if they don’t have a quality quarterback to protect. It’s a shame for Thomas, who’s the league’s best blind-side protector. He surrendered just two sacks in 2013. He had a high amount of penalties (11), but maybe we can attribute that to frustration.

Past Winners of this Award:
2012: Joe Thomas, Browns
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 – Josh Sitton, Packers.

It was a close call between Josh Sitton and Philadelphia’s Evan Mathis, who won this award last year, but Sitton was responsible for fewer penalties and sacks. He didn’t run block as well as Mathis, but he wasn’t responsible for any defenders rattling all of the quarterbacks who started for the Packers over the 2013 season.

Past Winners of this Award:
2012: Evan Mathis, Eagles
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 – Dominic Raiola, Lions.

Dominic Raiola had struggled in some recent seasons, but he had an outstanding 2013 campaign and was a big reason why Detroit had so much offensive success in the first half of the year. Raiola didn’t display any weaknesses in his game, as he surrendered just one sack.

Past Winners of this Award:
2012: John Sullivan, Vikings
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

4-3 Defensive End of the Year – Robert Quinn, Rams.

Robert Quinn has made great leaps each year and is now the best 4-3 defensive end in football. He was a maniac in 2013, registering a whopping 19 sacks and playing against the run extremely well.

Past Winners of this Award:
2012: J.J. Watt, Texans (3-4)
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

3-4 Defensive End of the Year – J.J. Watt, Texans.

J.J. Watt is the reason I made this new category. He was so unbelievably dominant last year, but I couldn’t exclude Robert Quinn from getting an award either. Watt didn’t have as many sacks as Quinn (10.5), but that’s a pretty comparable number considering that Watt plays defensive end in the 3-4. He also batted down six passes and was a force in run support.

Past Winners of this Award:
2012: J.J. Watt, Texans

Defensive Tackle of the Year – Gerald McCoy, Buccaneers.

Ndamukong Suh was chosen one pick earlier than Gerald McCoy in the 2010 NFL Draft. Suh gets all of the acclaim, and yet McCoy has been the better player when healthy. Despite not playing with someone on the line as good as Nick Fairley, McCoy was extremely dominant, accumulating 9.5 sacks and stuffing the run very effectively.

Past Winners of this Award:
2012: Geno Atkins, Bengals
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

3-4 Outside Linebacker of the Year – Robert Mathis, Colts.

Robert Mathis has been a great player for a very long time. He has always played second fiddle to Dwight Freeney, however, until this season. Despite the opposition focusing on shutting him down, Mathis tallied a league-leading 19.5 sacks.

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

4-3 Outside Linebacker of the Year – Lavonte David, Buccaneers.

The Buccaneers had thier issues throughout the year, but outside of Gerald McCoy, the one constant bright spot was Lavonte David, who emerged as the top 4-3 outside linebacker in the NFL. It helped that Von Miller was out for half the season, but David posted 145 tackles, six sacks and five interceptions. He also broke up nine passes. David was strong in run support and pass coverage.

Past Winners of this Award:
2012: Von Miller, Broncos
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 – NaVorro Bowman, 49ers.

Patrick Willis has won this award the past two seasons, but it’s time to pass it to his teammate. NaVorro Bowman has been on a different level this year. He’s come up with some huge stops, including what should have been a fumble recovery in the NFC Championship. Unfortunately, he tore his ACL and MCL on the play. Luke Kuechly was a close second.

Past Winners of this Award:
2012: Patrick Willis, 49ers
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.

Richard Sherman let us know that he’s the best cornerback in the NFL, and he was absolutely right. He surrendered just two touchdowns in 2013 compared to eight interceptions. He also limited the opposing receivers to a 50-percent completion rate. He was targeted just once in the NFC Championship – when he tipped a pass to Malcolm Smith for the game-sealing interception.

Past Winners of this Award:
2012: Richard Sherman, Seahawks
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, Bills.

As with Richard Sherman, Jairus Byrd limited the opposition to a completion percentage of 50. He also surrendered just one touchdown compared to four interceptions. He was out for the first five weeks of the season, and he naturally improved the defense upon his return to the field.

Past Winners of this Award:
2012: Jairus Byrd, S, Bills
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 – Kam Chancellor, Seahawks.

Kam Chancellor had the same touchdown-to-interception ratio as Jairus Byrd. He was penalized quite a bit, but that was his only flaw; he was great in all other expects. He also stepped up his game even more in the playoffs and shut down Julius Thomas in the Super Bowl.

Past Winners of this Award:
2012: Reshad Jones, Dolphins
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 – Justin Tucker, Ravens.

Justin Tucker hit 38-of-41 field goals in 2013, including 10-of-11 from 40 to 49 and 6-of-7 from 50-plus. More importantly, he was so unbelievably clutch, drilling multiple game-winners.

Past Winners of this Award:
2012: Blair Walsh, Vikings
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 – Cordarrelle Patterson, Vikings.

Four players had two special-teams touchdowns in 2013: Cordarrelle Patterson, Trindon Holliday, Dexter McCluster and Jeremy Ross. Of those four, Patterson was the only one who didn’t lose a fumble. He also led the NFL in kickoff return average (32.4).

Past Winners of this Award:
2012: Jacoby Jones, Ravens 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 – Eddie Lacy, RB, Packers.

Keenan Allen and Zac Stacy deserved consideration, but Eddie Lacy was the top offensive rookie in 2013. Despite the fact that he fell into the second round, Lacy finished eighth in rushing (1,178 yards) and scored 11 touchdowns in 15 games. He also caught 35 passes. Lacy was huge in Aaron Rodgers’ absence, putting the offense on his shoulders when the backup quarterbacks were rotating under center.

Past Winners of this Award:
2012: Russell Wilson, QB, Seahawks
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 – Sheldon Richardson, DE/DT, Jets.

Defensive Rookie of the Year was a very close call. Tyrann Mathieu deserved consideration, but he played in only 10 full games as a starter. Kiko Alonso made some big plays for Buffalo, but he struggled in run support. Sheldon Richardson had the fewest holes in his resume. He was dominant against the rush and also applied decent pressure on the quarterback, logging 3.5 sacks, which isn’t bad for a 3-4 defensive end.

Past Winners of this Award:
2012: Bobby Wagner, ILB, Seahawks
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 – Cordarrelle Patterson, Vikings.

Cordarrelle Patterson won Special Teams Player of the Year, and he was a rookie, so he obviously deserves Special Teams Rookie of the Year. It’s a shame the NFL changed the kickoff rule a few years ago; otherwise, Patterson would’ve been even more of a threat.

Past Winners of this Award:
2012: Blair Walsh, Vikings
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 – Knowshon Moreno, RB, Broncos.

Most gave up Knowshon Moreno for dead. Some prominent fantasy Web sites recommended drafting rookie running back Montee Ball in the second or third round because Ball would surely pass Moreno on the depth chart. However, Moreno used the Ball selection as motivation and finally lived up to his first-round expectations. Moreno finished with 1,038 rushing yards, 60 receptions and 13 total touchdowns.

Past Winners of this Award:
2012: Michael Crabtree, WR, 49ers
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 – Jerry Hughes, DE/OLB, Bills.

Tennessee’s Jurrell Casey would have won this award if it weren’t for Jerry Hughes. Casey made a huge leap in 2013, but he was at least playing in the prior season. Hughes was barely on the field for Indianapolis at the end of the 2012 campaign. He was dealt to Buffalo for scrub linebacker Kelvin Sheppard. Hughes inexplicably became a monstrous pass-rusher this past year, tallying 9.5 sacks and also playing the run well.

Past Winners of this Award:
2012: Muhammad Wilkerson, DE/DT, Jets
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) – Trent Richardson, RB, Colts.

Give Andrew Luck a stud running back, and it’ll make Indianapolis’ offense unstoppable, right? That’s what everyone thought when the Colts traded their first-round pick to Cleveland for Trent Richardson. Everyone believed this was a lopsided deal, and that actually turned out to be the case – with the Browns being the clear-cut winners. Richardson was disgraceful in his new home, as he was eventually benched in favor of Donald Brown.

Past Winners of this Award:
2012: Randy Moss, Terrell Owens, Chad Johnson, WRs
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 – LeGarrette Blount, RB, Patriots.

LeGarrette Blount had a great rookie year, but fell off after that. He frustrated his coaches with his lethargy and inability to learn the passing aspect of his game. He was limited to 41 carries in 2012 and then was traded to the Patriots for a seventh-round pick and Jeff Demps. It appeared as though his career would quickly be over. That was definitely not the case, as Blount took over as New England’s lead back and rushed for 772 yards and seven touchdowns. He gained 166 yards and four touchdowns in the second-round victory over Indianapolis.

Past Winners of this Award:
2012: Adrian Peterson, RB, Vikings
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 – Josh McCown, QB, Bears.

It’s easy for any long-time backup quarterback who has a very small chances of starting to just give up on his NFL dream. Josh McCown was even out of the NFL for a bit. However, he worked extremely hard to improve, citing that Kurt Warner was instrumental in his progression. McCown improved enough to be a very competent starter in Jay Cutler’s absence this past season, drawing some comparisons to 2002 NFL MVP Rich Gannon. McCown could start somewhere in 2014.

Past Winners of this Award:
2012: Reggie Wayne, WR, Colts
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 – Champ Bailey, CB, Broncos.

Champ Bailey has been playing since 1999, yet he never reached the Super Bowl – until now. Bailey was torched relentlessly in a playoff loss to the Ravens last January, yet he was able to come back and perform extremely well in the AFC Championship to redeem himself. Bailey’s ability to step up was huge, as Chris Harris was knocked out with a torn ACL in the prior round.

Past Winners of this Award:
2012: Joe Flacco, QB, Ravens
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 – Richard Sherman, Seahawks.

Like him or hate him, Richard Sherman had the most memorable celebration in 2013. Following a very athletic tipped interception to linebacker Malcolm Smith, Sherman ran over to Michael Crabtree and taunted him repeatedly. Then, he barked at Erin Andrews, shouting “I’m the best!” which nearly broke Twitter. Many were disgusted with Sherman because they thought he was showboating, but the stud corner was simply marketing himself, according to his agent.

Past Winners of this Award:
2012: Ray Lewis, Ravens (Ray Lewis dance)
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 – Jonathan Martin, Dolphins.

There’s no disputing that Richie Incognito is a douche, but Jonathan Martin is just pathetic. He’s a grown man – one who weighs 300 pounds – and yet he can’t stand up for himself. Not only that; he abandoned his team in the middle of the season. Some sand-in-the-vag people felt sorry for Martin prior to seeing his texts, but he clearly wasn’t cut out to be a football player. He wasn’t even good at his job, so he should move on to a different profession.

Past Winners of this Award:
2012: Titus Young, Lions
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 – Cleveland Browns Front Office

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.

The Browns brought in Michael Lombardi as general manager last year, and he made his first head-coaching hire to be Rob Chudzinski. Lombardi chose Chudzinski, yet opted to fire him just one year later despite the fact that the coach had Brandon Weeden and Jason Campbell to work with for 13 games. Lombardi reportedly wanted to “upgrade” his head coach with either Josh McDaniels or Adam Gase, yet both turned him down. Later, reports surfaced that Cleveland was considering Greg Schiano, who failed miserably in Tampa. I’d ask what the hell the Browns are doing, but they’ve been this incompetent since they reentered the NFL in 1999.

Past Winners of this Award:
2012: Mark Sanchez (Butt Fumble), Jets

Free Agent Nightmare Award – Jeff Ireland, Dolphins.

This new award, suggested by forum member SirA, is given to the player who was the worst free agent signing of the offseason. I gave it out to a player last year, but check out these three contracts former general manager Jeff Ireland dished out on the first day of free agency:

WR Mike Wallace (5 years, $65M; $30M guaranteed)
ILB Dannell Ellerbe (5 years, $35 million)
OLB Philip Wheeler (5 years, $26M; $13M guaranteed)

The Dolphins were naturally proclaimed the winners of early free agency, but as we’ve seen over the years, those who wear that crown in March often look like fools come the end of the season. Ireland was completely incompetent, which is why he’s the “former” general manager of the Dolphins.

Past Winners of this Award:
2012: Robert Meachem, Chargers

The Backdoor Bandit Award – Clete Blakeman, NFL Official.

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 NFL official Clete Blakeman, who picked up an obvious pass interference flag on Panthers’ linebacker Luke Kuechly, offered no explanation for doing so and ran into the locker room, allowing Carolina to cover the spread. This spawned the “Clete Blakeman Rule,” which is to refrain from betting on the final game of the day/week if there’s an enormous amount of public money on one side. Blakeman is a crooked ref. He’s not the only one; just the most obvious.

Past Winners of this Award:
2012: Ray Rice, Ravens
2009: Ted Ginn, Dolphins (retroactively)
2008: Seneca Wallace, Seahawks (retroactively)

Scrub of the Year – Ray Rice, RB, Ravens.

This award is for the player who was the Scrub of the Week the most times on my NFL Power Rankings page. Four players were Scrub of the Week twice: Matthew Stafford, C.J. Spiller, Ray Rice and Jimmy Graham.

Rice “wins” the tie-breaker. Stafford, Spiller and Graham all had bright moments at times, while Rice struggled throughout the year. In 11 of the 15 games he played in 2013, Rice rushed for 45 yards or fewer. He eclipsed 3.6 yards per carry just three times. Sure, his blocking sucked, but he looked like a shell of his former self. Consider that he broke just nine tackles all year! What happened to this guy?

Past Winners of this Award:
2012: Mark Sanchez, QB, Jets
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

Coach of the Year – Bill Belichick, Patriots.

Outside of the three Super Bowl championship seasons, this might be Bill Belichick’s best coaching job yet. Not only did his team suffer though a barrage of injuries to key players, including Rob Gronkowski, Vince Wilfork and Jerod Mayo, but it also had to deal with the crazy Aaron Hernandez situation. Other teams may have folded, but Belichick and Tom Brady kept it all together, ultimately advancing to the AFC Championship.

Past Winners of this Award:
2012: John Harbaugh, Ravens
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 – Rob Ryan, Saints.

There are two pieces of evidence for how strong of a defensive coordinator Rob Ryan has been. The first is what he did with the Saints. They had one of the worst defenses in the NFL, yet he was able to transform them into a top-10 unit. The second is what happened with the Cowboys following his departure. Dallas had a mediocre stop unit under Ryan (even after dealing with numerous injuries), yet it was atrocious after Ryan was unjustly fired. Good job, Jerry.

Past Winners of this Award:
2012: Bruce Arians, Colts
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) – J.J. Watt, DE, Texans.

It was a close call between J.J. Watt and Robert Quinn. The latter posted more sacks, but Watt was better overall. Watt is the best player in football right now. It’s just a shame that so many of his teammates quit this past season once it was apparent that the Texans would not be reaching the playoffs.

Past Winners of this Award:
2012: Adrian Peterson, RB, Vikings
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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