So far, it has been an exciting NFL season and a lot of players deserve credit for their spectacular performances. Here’s what I have for the first half of the season:
MVP – QB Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay)
* Honorable Mention: Ben Roethlisberger (Pittsburgh)
Co-Offensive Players – WR Calvin Johnson (Detroit) & RB Matt Forte (Chicago)
* Honorable Mention: RB LeSean McCoy (Philadelphia) & Fred Jackson (Buffalo)
Co-Defensive Players – CB Charles Woodson (Green Bay) & S George Wilson (Buffalo)
* Honorable Mention: DE Jared Allen (Minnesota) & LB Derrick Johnson (Kansas City)
Comeback Player – LB Nick Barnett (Buffalo)
* Honorable Mention: QB Matthew Stafford (Detroit)
Offensive Rookie – QB Cam Newton (Carolina)
* Honorable Mention: QB Andy Dalton
Defensive Rookie – LB Aldon Smith (San Francisco)
* Honorable Mention: DT Marcell Dareus (Buffalo)
Coach – Jim Harbaugh (San Francisco)
* Honorable Mention: Marvin Lewis (Cincinnati)
Starting from the top:
Aaron Rodgers has been the best player at any position this season, leading his team undefeated Packers to a 7-0 start, and that’s following their 6 game winning streak that concluded with the Lombardi Trophy last season.
Big Ben has played outstanding, but somehow has managed to stay under the radar in doing so. He has quietly been the 2nd best quarterback in the game.
Calvin Johnson, remember that guy? Oh sorry, I mean MEGATRON!!! This guy is one of the reasons Detroit is back on the map, need I say more?
Matt “pay the man” Forte does everything for the Bears, and leads the NFL in yards from scrimmage (already eclipsing 1,000 yards).
LeSean McCoy leads the league in rushing yards per game and has shown how complete he is. He is the only player this season to score a touchdown for his team in every game.
Fred Jackson is all that AND a bag of chips. The Bills are in first place and they will continue to ride his wheels. As he goes, they go.
Charles Woodson was my pick at the beginning of the year for defensive player of the year. He has been a stud, and continues to build on his breakout year last season. He has 26 tackles, 8 passes defended, a sack, and 5 interceptions, one that he took to the house for a score.
George Wilson has been all over the field this season. The guy has 66 tackles, 4 interceptions, a forced fumble, and 6 passes defended.
Jared Allen: 34 tackles, an interception, 3 forced fumbles, 4 passes defended, and leads the league with 12.5 sacks. He is a monster, and I recall him chasing and tackling Cam Newton down 24 yards down the field. To be honest, he is probably the favorite to win defensive player of the year right now.
Derrick Johnson is proving to be one of the league’s elite linebackers. He is the leader of the Chiefs’ defense with 57 tackles, a sack, an interception, and 5 passes defended.
Nick Barnett has been the glue to the revived Bills defense. He has 58 tackles, a sack, a forced fumble, 3 passes defensed, 2 interceptions, and he also took one to the house for a score.
Matthew Stafford. The only reason I gave him honorable mention instead of the Comeback Player is because I don’t want to jynx the guy. He is still questionable to even finish this year out, but he has toughed it out thus far and is performing at a high level.
Nobody expected Cam Newton, or any rookie quarterback for that matter, to come in right away and assert himself the way he has so far. He has already become the face of the franchise. He has revitalized Steve Smith’s career and they are the heart & soul of a rebuilding team that can compete with anybody. Hats off to cam for making a quick transition, he is playing lights out.
Surprise, surprise! Andy Dalton has been just that for the Bengals, and the rest of the league is taking note of him. He is leading a young nucleus to battle in the AFC North against the Steelers and Ravens, now that’s saying something. I’m looking forward to watching more of this kid.
Aldon Smith. this guy was my original pick for defensive rookie of the year and he is playing like it. The 49ers defense is one of the league’s best units, and this guy has made a living in the backfield. The rookie has accumulated 7 sacks so far.
Marcel Dareus is a monster in the middle of a revamped Bills defense. Yes, this is the 3rd Buffalo defender on this list, and this team continues to impress by making a name for themselves. He is a clog in the middle and is making his teammates’ jobs easier. His defensive tackle buddy Kyle Williams has been injured for most of the season, and he is considered to be an elite defensive tackle as well (the bills defense will be even better than it has been, this team is legit).
Jim Harbaugh and the San Francisco 49ers. This defense gives the 49ers a shot at a first round bye, and is the only team with the record to compete with Green Bays in the NFC. Nobody saw this coming, and this division could be won as early as Thanksgiving (wow!). He really knows how to get into his players with a positive and tough mindset.
Marvin Lewis has his Cincinnati Bengals fighting at the top of a division that has the Steelers AND the Ravens. Young team that has overcome the loss of popular veteran players (Terrelle Owens, Chad Ochocinco, and Carson Palmer) and have been rebuilt overnight (Andy Dalton, A.J. Green, Cedric Benson, Jermaine Gresham, not to mention the #1 defense in the NFL). Marvin Lewis is very underrated.
That sums up my awards to the deserving players and coaches. I am loving every week of this football season and wish I could recognize every player that is playing at a high level. But hey, if they didn’t make my list they probably made someone else’s, or they will have an even better second half and might swoop up one of these awards. The first half was memorable, but I’m sure the rest of the year will top it off!!!