At the end of the 2011 NFL season, our first in business here at OHP, we handed out the first annual OHPY and DOHPY Awards for the top (and bottom) performers in the league.
This year, we will be giving out our—you guessed it—second annual OHPYs and DOHPYs, but the categories will be a tad different. While there will still be an NFL MVP, Defensive Player, and Coach of the Year, we’ll be adding a play of the year. As for the DOHPYs, well, let’s just leave a bit of suspense and wait and see what happens once we get to them.
2012 NFL MVP—Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings
Conventional wisdom, and the real voters for these kinds of things, would say that Peyton Manning deserves to have this award, hands down. But I’ll tell you this: I’m tired of seeing a quarterback win this damn thing, and if there was ever a time to give it to another position, it’s this year.
Truth: Both men—Manning and Peterson—were coming off of major injuries and both performed exceptionally in their first seasons back. Another truth: Both men essentially single-handedly carried their teams into the post season. One last truth: Even though playoff performances don’t factor into these decisions, both did lose their opening salvo in football’s second season.
So what separates them?
For me, it’s the simple fact that Manning was working with a team that already showed it was capable of making the playoffs—they did it the previous season with a man named Tebow. The Vikings had been on the cusp, but it’s blatantly obvious that they would’ve been a completely different team without their all-star running back who beat all expectations in coming back from his torn ACL much sooner than anticipated. Peterson, while rushing for 131 yards per game, made life easier for everyone around him as well. Christian Ponder live and never fear dying by the play action thanks to Peterson drawing so much attention.
Lastly, nine may be a number that haunts AP for some time to come, but it’s also another reason this award goes to him. That’s how many yards shy he was of breaking one of the greatest records in sport set by Erick Dickerson in 1984 (2,105 yards). All that while coming off of one of the potentially most crushing injuries for his position on the field. All that. All Day.
2012 NFL Rookie of the Year—Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts
See my entire argument spelled out, right here.
If the playoffs were to be included, this could have gone elsewhere…
2012 Defensive Player of the Year—J.J. Watt, Houston Texans
No one wreaked more havoc on opposing offenses this season that J.J. “Swatt.” He led the NFL in sacks (20.5) but may have helped his team more with the amount of passes that he swatted aside.
“We work on that every single day,” Watt told the Houston Chronicle. “Obviously, [Defensive Line Coach] Bill [Kollar] puts a big emphasis on it because it’s something that can change a game. Bill has taught us and taught us and taught us, ever since I was a rookie, that when you rush, if you’re not going to get [the quarterback], don’t waste time just running up the field. Bull rush him hard, get as close as you can and then put your hands up.”
Watt also led all defensive lineman in total tackles (81)—11 more than the next closest man—and was fifth in forced fumbles (4).
2012 Coach of the Year—Chuck Pagano, Indianapolis Colts
This letter from Chuck to Colts fans says it all:
To the people of Indiana:
When I accepted the job as head coach of the Indianapolis Colts last January, it was a dream come true for me and my family. I knew I was coming to an organization with a great owner and a great winning tradition. I knew Indy had great fans, but I might have underestimated just how great. Being new to the community I never expected the outpouring of support I received from Colts fans throughout the state and country. The love and support you showed my family and me gave me a tremendous amount of comfort and peace. Every letter, success story, prayer and act of kindness made this process a whole lot easier. I am also fortunate to have had some of the best doctors and nurses in the country right here in Indiana to care for me.
I am proud to serve as the head coach of your Colts. I take great pride in knowing that the team has persevered this season because you have shown them the same support you have shown my family and me. You have had a huge impact on my recovery and our season and I look forward to accomplishing great things here for a long, long time.
On behalf of the Pagano family, thank you for helping me heal and for showing our country that we do have the best fans in the entire world; fans whose love for their coaches and players extends way beyond the football field.
It was incredible to watch a city and team rally around their head coach, who was in the midst of the fight of his life, and see both come out successful. Truly inspirational.
2012 Play of the Year—Jason Avant, Phiadelphia Eagles
Aside from the DOHPY for worst play of the year, there’s only going to be one category for the 2012 season. Worst Team of the Year. It’s fairly obvious who the recipient is going to be, but it gives me the opportunity to just lay into them, so let’s have at it
2012 Worst Team of the Year—The Philadelphia Eagles
Pathetic. That’s the only word I can think of to sum up the 2012 Philadelphia Eagles.
We all (the fans) gave them a chance after the mishap that was 2011. Hell, they ended the season on a four-game winning streak and actually showed some semblance of a football team.
It was all going to be better in 2012. We knew it. They knew it. The league knew it. Even Jeffrey Lurie knew it—he was so confident that he put a number on his head coach.
“Eight wins isn’t going to cut it,” he said after last season.
Well the Eagles didn’t get eight wins in 2012. They ended the season having won just four measly games. And three of those came in the first four weeks. After their promising 3-1 start, the dirty birds went 1-11. Let that sink in.
So many people were scapegoated throughout the year. Juan Castillo, Jason Babin, Jim Washburn, Mike Vick, the list could go on.
The problem was, everyone was to blame, especially Andy Reid who finally got what he deserved (albeit a season and a half too late).
What’s wrong with the Eagles is that they have no defined leader. All of the great teams from the mid-2000’s had those personalities in the locker room that knew how to rally the troops. The Brian Dawkins, the Jeremiah Trotters, Troy Vincents, and (yeah) Donovan McNabbs.
I know there were some bad teams when I was growing up, prior to Reid’s start in Philly, and even his first year, but I was still young enough that I don’t really remember much about them. This year was by far the worst year I’ve experienced as a fan. Given the expectations year in and year out—sure every team and city has high hopes in September, but none like the fans that pack the Linc on Sundays—there couldn’t have been a more disappointing team in the league this year.
Congrats, Eagles. I’m happy we’re bringing home some sort of hardware this year, I guess…
2012 Worst Play of the Year—Tom Brady, New England Patriots
I’m breaking the rules a little with this one.
Prior to the playoffs, this award would have gone to Philip Rivers for the most pathetic and hilarious slides I’ve ever seen (plus I couldn’t find a suitable video…).
Thus, the award goes to my least favorite quarterback in the league for one of the most bush-league plays I’ve ever seen—one that resulted in his being fined $10,000 by the league.
So there you have it folks. The second annual OHPY and DOHPY awards are in the books. Love ’em? Hate ’em? Leave it in the comments.