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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Thursday, May 26, 2022
Matthew Kleist

Column: NFL doesn’t get it all right when it comes to handing out regular season awards

The top players in the National Football League were honored Saturday night at the NFL awards ceremony. That night, the world found out whether Adrian Peterson or Peyton Manning would nab the Associated Press Most Valuable Player award and which rookie sensation quarterback would walk away with the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year award.

I—like most of you—did not watch the show (I actually don’t even know if it was on TV or not) but instead monitored Twitter as it, without fail, exploded with tweets as soon as the awards were announced. And each time an award was given, I felt inclined to give my, at times incoherent, opinion.

After some much needed sleep, I decided I was enough of an authority on football (being a fan and spectator is enough, right?) and figured why not share those reactions with you? So, here is my take on two of Saturday’s winners.

Starting with the big one,— the AP MVP: They got it right. I’m not just saying that because I am a Vikings fan. Adrian Peterson was nothing less than brilliant this season. After suffering a major knee injury and undergoing surgery, Peterson was back on the field one year later and came nine yards short of Eric Dickerson’s single-season rushing record.

Let me say it again. He rushed for 2,097 yards one year after having surgery on his knee. That is simply unbelievable.

Aside from coming just shy of the rushing record, Peterson was the backbone of a Vikings team that, without the star running back, would have not come close to reaching the playoffs.

While some were predicting a close race between Peterson and Peyton Manning for the award, the votes proved otherwise. Peterson grabbed 30.5 votes with Manning receiving the other 19.5 votes.

Yes, Manning was great this year. Yes, he was the leader of that Broncos team. And yes, he led his new team to the playoffs and the No. 1 seed in the AFC.

However, Denver had reached the playoffs without him the year before, and, in the division it is in, probably would have done the same this season without Manning.

Manning did make the Broncos a much better team and if it wasn’t for the season Peterson had, he would have won the award. But Peterson did have the season he did and deserved the MVP.

The same can be said for the AP Offensive Player of the Year award. Manning had a great season but Peterson’s was better.

Manning was able to prevent Peterson from what could have been his third award of the night by taking home the AP Comeback Player of the Year.

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Here again, I agree with the voters. While Peterson’s injury was severe and while he did return less than a year later and run through, past and around just about everybody, very few people expected Manning to play at the same level following four neck surgeries.

This is a quarterback who sat out an entire season and underwent multiple surgeries on his neck and came back to one of the most violent sports there is and put up his second-highest passing and touchdown numbers in his career.

This brings me to the last award I want to discuss, the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year award. The voters overwhelmingly chose Robert Griffin III as the recipient, as he collected 29 of the 50 votes. Andrew Luck received 11 and Russell Wilson grabbed 10 votes.

Up until now, I had agreed with the voters, but this is where I deviate from the press.

Before I give my opinion, I will say that each of these three had phenomenal seasons and all may have equally deserved the award. But as there is only one trophy, only one of them could receive it.

Now, I strongly believe the voters got it completely backwards. I would like to think the winner is determined like scoring in golf, the lowest total wins, and that’s the way it should have been.

While Griffin and Luck were getting all the attention, Wilson was only tying Peyton Manning’s rookie touchdown record (26). And he did it while only throwing 10 interceptions while Manning threw 28 in his rookie  season.

Wilson also rushed for 489 yards and four touchdowns. While those do not equal Griffin’s rushing numbers, they show off his mobility.

I also believe Luck had a better season than Griffin. First of all, he took a team that managed only two wins the season before to the playoffs. Luck also set the rookie single game passing record with 433 yards and the rookie single-season passing record with 4,374 yards.

Luck out-threw both Wilson and Griffin in terms of yardage and only had three less touchdowns than Wilson on the season. On top of that, Luck also rushed for five touchdowns.

Griffin’s season was good, but both Wilson and Luck were better.

So there you have it, my take on some of the NFL awards given this past Saturday.

Which awards do you think the NFL got right? Should Russell Wilson have won the rookie of the year award? Email Matthew and let him know what you think at sports.dailycardinal.com

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