2012 NFL Awards
COACH OF THE YEAR
Chuck Pagano/Bruce Arians
When you take a head coach away from its team disaster is almost unavoidable. When its rookie team it’s hard to expect them to do anything, but after Chuck Pagano was diagnosed with Leukemia, Bruce Arians kept the Colts together and posted a record of 9-3, while Pagano underwent treatment. In the meantime Pagano became a rallying call for the Colts, who last year went 2-14. You can make a case for other coaches, but the Airans/Pagano combo that help guide the Colts to the playoffs and an 11-5 record are too good to ignore.
DEFENSIVE ROOKIE of the YEAR
St. Louis Rams
Despite finishing the season with a loss the future is certainly bright for the St. Louis Rams, as they were an impressive 4-1-1 in the NFC West as they played strong in the second half of the season. The Rams late surge was led by a strong young defense, and one of the most impressive players was second round pick Janoris Jenkins. Jenkins returned three of his four interceptions for touchdowns, while also picking up a fumble for a touchdown. Jenkins also had 73 tackles and knocked down 14 passes.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER of theYEAR
No player put more fear in opposing quarterbacks than J.J. Watt of the Houston Texans. Watt had a lead beat 20.5 sacks and 81 tackles patrolling the line for the AFC South Champion Texans. What made J.J. Watt even more dangerous was the Watt swat as he smacked down 24 passes at the line. Additionally he defended 16 passes and had four forced fumbles. The importance of Watt was even heightened as the Texans had several key injuries on defense including Linebacker Brian Cushing.
COMEBACK PLAYER of the YEAR
You can almost flip a coin when picking this year’s Comeback Player of the Year. Adrian Peterson, gaining 2000 yards after a knee injury is impressive, but coming back from four neck surgeries and changing teams may be a bit harder, which is why I give the slight edge to Peyton Manning. Although it was not a surprise that Manning had a great season, it is shocking how quickly he adapted to his new team and became the Peyton Manning of old as the led the Broncos to a 13-3 record, which was the best in the AFC.
OFFENSIVE ROOKIE of the YEAR
Someday the 2012 rookie class may be remembered as the best ever, as Andrew Luck, Russell Wilson and Robert Griffin III all can win Offensive Rookie of the Year, without argument. my vote goes to Luck, as unlike RGIII and Wilson the Colts do not have a top notch running attack. All three rookies did get their teams into the playoffs, and once again Luck had the toughest road losing his coach. Andrew Luck also set a record for passing yards be rookie quarterback and showed veteran poise with his ability to lead 4th quarter comebacks..
OFFENSIVE PLAYER of theYEAR
One year ago Adrian Peterson stood at the end of the season, with his future in question after tearing his ACL in the next to last game of the 2011 season. Adrian Peterson came back fast and came back strong and nearly set the record of rushing yards in a season, as he finished the season with 2,097 yards, a mere nine yards short of the record set by Eric Dickerson in 1984. All Day Adrian Peterson had seven games this season where he topped 150 yards including two in which he went over 200 yards.
Much like the Comeback Player of the Year, the MVP is a close race between Adrian Peterson and Peyton Manning. However, the phrase Most Valuable is what defines Peyton Manning, as the Week 6 comeback against the San Diego Chargers was the Broncos turning point as they finished the season with 11 straight wins and were the best team in the AFC at 13-3, and the three Broncos losses all came to division winners. Manning’s leadership was also key, as he is often a second offensive coordinator on the field for his younger teammates.