The NFL award season is upon us, and the league has named its Most Valuable Players and Hall of Famers for this year. As is always the case, some players will feel snubbed, and many will disagree with some of the decisions. We take a look at the NFL Award recipients.
NFL Award — NFL MVP and AP Offensive Player of the Year – Peyton Manning, QB Denver Broncos.
Peyton Manning’s season is not even over yet, and he still has a very real possibility to add still more awards to his trophy cabinet later today, but few would doubt that Peyton Manning is a more than deserving recipient of these awards.
In an increasingly passing driven league, Manning had demonstrated that he is the quarterback par excellence this season. Setting new single season NFL benchmarks for passing yards (5,477) and touchdowns (55), while leading his team to an NFL best 13-3 record, Super Bowl appearance. What’s more, he did this while helping lead his team to NFL records for points scores (606), and total touchdowns (76, including one rushing TD for Manning himself).
Manning seemed the obvious choice to all, and the only surprise was that one selector seemed to prefer Tom Brady for the MVP award, according to the Denver Post, while only receiving 33 votes in the Offensive Player of the Year category—LeSean McCoy was second with 10, and Jamaal Charles third with 4.
Manning has been named MVP four times prior in his career, and this was his second Offensive Player of the Year award. He was also named FedEx Air Player of the Year, and of course, remains a prime candidate for Super Bowl MVP if his team is to win later today.
NFL Award — AP Defensive Player of the Year – Luke Kuechly, LB Carolina Panthers.
Luke Kuechly, the defensive rookie of the year in 2012, followed up this award with defensive MVP in 2014. Kuechly is, by some accounts, a surprise winner, beating out more high-profile candidates Robert Mathis, Richard Sherman, and Vontaze Burfict.
Kuechly posted 96 tackles, four interceptions, two sacks and eight passes defensed in 2013, making his presence felt all over the field and proving that he is a cornerstone of the Panthers quickly improving defense.
NFL Award — AP Coach of the Year – Ron Rivera, Carolina Panthers.
The Panthers were awarded again, when head coach Ron Rivera was awarded Coach of the Year. Rivera took over a Panthers team which has gone 2-14 in 2010, leading them to a 6-10 and 7-9 seasons in his first two years in charge.
In 2013, Rivera appeared to be in the hot seat early, after a 1-3 start to the year, but turned around the team’s fortunes, achieving a 11-1 record, and play off berth over the course of the season.
Rivera beat out challenges from Andy Reid, who took the Kansas City Chiefs from the worst team in the NFL in 2012 to the playoffs in 2013, and 2012 co-winner Bruce Arians, who lead the Arizona Cardinals to a 10-6 record in a very tough NFC West.
NFL Award — Pro Football Hall of Fame Inductees.
The 2014 NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame inductees were also named, and featured many deserving names.
Derrick Brooks, linebacker Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Brooks was a cornerstone of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where he spent his entire playing career, from 1995 to 2008. Brooks had 25 career interceptions, 7 defensive touchdowns, and 13.5 sacks. He was named to the pro bowl 11 times in his career, and is widely considered one of the best outside linebackers of his generation. He is a first ballot Hall of Fame inductee.
Michael Strahan, defensive end, New York Giants
Strahan appeared a lock to make this years Hall of Fame after not being selected during his first year of eligibility last season. Strahan spent his entire playing career in New York (1993-2007)posting 141.5 sacks, 14 forced fumbles. 4 interceptions and three touchdowns. He was part of the Giants Super Bowl XLII winning team.
Aeneas Williams, cornerback, Arizona Cardinals (1991-2000) and St. Louis Rams (2001-04)
Williams has been considered a Hall of Fame candidate since his retirement in 2004, but has been snubbed each year since he became eligible in 2009. It seemed it was only a matter of time until Williams was voted in, and that finally came in 2014. Williams was a picture of consistency in the NFL, missing only one game in his career, and posting five or more interceptions during five separate seasons.
Andre Reed, receiver, Buffalo Bills (1985-99) and Washington Redskins (2000)
Many considered Reed to have missed his chance to be enshrined in Canton, OH. Eligible since 2006, Reed has perennially been passed over by the voting committee. And each year, as the NFL becomes more passing driven, and more and more receivers surpass his achievements, his chances seemed to have slimmed. However, Reed’s achievements should not be minimised, recording 13,189 career yards, and 87 touchdowns.
Walter Jones, tackle Seattle Seahawks
Arguably the biggest lock to mark the Hall of Fame, Jones is near universally considered the best left tackle of his generation, and arguably of all time. Jones is largely credited with helping transform the left tackle one of the most prized positions on the NFL roster. In his 13 years and 180 games as a pro, Jones gave up just 23 quarterback sacks, and was penalised for holding only nine times.
Claude Humphrey, defensive end, Atlanta Falcons (1968-78) and Philadelphia Eagles (1978-81)
Claude Humpfrey is one of two players voted in by the Senior Committee—who consider players who’s careers finished over 25 years ago—in 2014. Humpfrey was part of the Eagles Super Bowl XV team, and recorded 122 sacks, including 14.5 in 1980, though they were not an official statistic during his career. He was a six time Pro Bowl player, and was twice named to the AP All-Pro team.
Ray Guy, punter Oakland/LA Raiders
Guy played for the Raiders from 1973 to 1986. He is the first ever punter nominated to the Hall of Fame, making the achievement very special. Guy was a thee time Super Bowl champion, and seven time Pro Bowl selection. Guy punted 1,049 times in his career, averaging 42.4 yards, with just 128 touchbacks, and only three blocked punts in his career.