Is there anything more pretentious than giving out your awards when nobody knows who you are? Probably not, but instead of predicting who voters will give the hardware to (the same people that gave Dak Prescott the Offensive Rookie of the Year award instead of Ezekiel Elliott), I’m gonna name the people I think deserve the awards, and if the NFLPA agree, that’s swell.
The 2018 BroSports NFL Awards
Comeback Player of the Year: Andrew Luck
C’mon, it’s gotta be Andrew Luck. After missing over a year, Luck played all 16 games for the first time since 2014, and now the Colts are one of the most dangerous teams in the playoffs. Luck threw for nearly 4,600 yards, 39 touchdowns, and 15 interceptions. If it weren’t for the amazing play of another quarterback, this might not have been Luck’s last award.
Coach of the Year: Matt Nagy
It came down to Chicago’s Matt Nagy and Indy’s Frank Reich, but ultimately I went with Nagy. Nagy’s best player (Khalil Mack) and quarterback (Mitch Trubisky) both missed time with injuries, and the Bears still managed to win 12 games, which would’ve been enough for the first seed in the AFC. The Bears are a trendy Super Bowl favorite, and Nagy’s a big reason for their success.
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Darius Leonard
Darius Leonard might not be the household name that someone like Derwin James is, but he absolutely deserves this award. Leonard has been incredible this year, and when you look at his stat-line, you think there has to be at least one typo.
This season, Leonard had 163 tackles, seven sacks, batted down eight passes, caught two interceptions, forced four fumbles, and had 12 tackles for a loss. That’s incredible. The Colts really did have a fantastic year. Luck is taking comeback, Reich could’ve had coach, Leonard has defensive rookie, and if we’re being honest, the best offensive rookie player I saw this year was Quenton Nelson. Guess who he plays for.
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Baker Mayfield
Baker Mayfield is a controversial pick for this award, as many people would pick Saquon Barkley. I get that, I respect that, and if it hadn’t been for one game, I probably would’ve picked him too. But then the Browns and the Ravens faced off last Sunday.
It’s fair to say that Mayfield struggled. He had one of his worst games as a pro against the vaunted Ravens defense, completing 54.75% of his passes and throwing three interceptions, including the game-loser to C.J. Mosley. However, he did throw three touchdowns, the final being his 27th this season. Why is that important?
Because it means that in thirteen and a half games, Mayfield did what no other quarterback in the history of the NFL has done, throwing 27 touchdowns in his rookie season. Not Peyton Manning, not Joe Montana, not Dan Marino, not Drew Brees, not Tom Brady, not John Elway, nobody.
Mayfield set the record for touchdown passes in a rookie season, despite not starting all year, and playing six games under Hue Jackson. Barkley is a fantastic back, but what Mayfield did defies reason and history. For the first time in my life, I unironically say, things are looking up for the Cleveland Browns.
Defensive Player of the Year: Aaron Donald
If you have 20 sacks in a single season, you should be the Defensive Player of the Year. If you do it as a defensive tackle? That’s insane. Khalil Mack might’ve had a chance to steal this award if he had remained healthy, but that missed time came back to bite him.
Seriously though, on a defense that was solid at best, Aaron Donald had 20.5 sacks, coming painstakingly close to Michael Strahan‘s all-time record. I don’t see who even comes close to be honest.
Offensive Player of the Year… and Most Valuable Player: Patrick Mahomes
That’s right, Patrick Mahomes is both the Offensive Player of the Year and the league MVP. It’s a bit of a cop-out, but if we’re being honest, who else deserved to be Offensive Player of the Year? Drew Brees, as a consolation prize? That’s not how awards work.
Todd Gurley missed some time with injuries and it cost him some stats, not to mention, it’s not like he had the league’s toughest job. Julio Jones had nearly 1,700 yards but only eight touchdowns. Michael Thomas had 125 catches, but only 1,400 yards. There were so many great offensive performances this year, but frankly, none come close to what Mahomes did.
Mahomes threw for 5,097 yards and 50 touchdowns, joining Peyton Manning as the only players in NFL history to do so in the same season. That’s insane! Mahomes lit up the statbook and the standings, leading the Chiefs to 12 wins and homefield advantage throughout the playoffs. This is a slam dunk, Mahomes gets all the bling at this year’s NFL Honors.
For the record? In 2014, Manning also won both MVP and Offensive Player of the Year awards for his 5k and 50 touchdown season.