Last week, we previewed the NFL’s top most valuable player award front-runners, heading into the final week of the regular season. This week, we will look at the rest of the season-end award races and predictions, awards full of coaches and players still alive in their quest for Super Bowl 50.
Coach of the Year – Andy Reid, Kansas City Chiefs
The Kansas City Chiefs were 1-5 and sitting at the bottom of the AFC after six weeks of the regular season. Since that week 6 loss to the Minnesota Vikings, Andy Reid’s Chiefs have won ten straight games, managing to nab the AFC’s wild card spot and a playoff match up against the Houston Texans.
Reid’s effective coaching of quarterback Alex Smith and ability to adapt the game plan in the absence of all-pro running back Jamaal Charles should not go unnoticed.
Offensive Player of the Year – Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers
Surprise, we know. MVP front-runner Cam Newton leads the conversation for the offensive player of the year as well, for all the same reasons. Newton accounted for 45 touchdowns in 2015 (35 passing, ten rushing), most of all quarterbacks, eight more than second place Tom Brady.
Newton’s offensive playmaking was a key part in Carolina’s 15-1 record and #1 seed in the NFC playoffs.
Defensive Player of the Year – J.J. Watt, DE, Houston Texans
Watt enters the playoffs leading the league with a league-leading 17.5 sacks and three forced fumbles, doing so throughout the last three weeks of the season with a broken hand.
Without Watt, the Houston defense would come off as flat and not nearly exciting. Watt’s presence is a big reason the Texans are AFC South champions.
Rookie of the Year – Todd Gurley, RB, St. Louis Rams
Rams running back Todd Gurley came off of a 2014 knee injury at the University of Georgia, only to accumulate 1,106 yards in 13 games of action, missing the first two and final game of the year. The 1,106 yards was not only best among rookies, it was third in the league overall, trailing only Adrian Peterson and Doug Martin.
Gurley became a forceful part of the Rams offense from the very start, rushing for 314 yards in his first three starts. Gurley also accounted for ten rushing touchdowns.
Comeback Player of the Year – Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings
The 30-year-old running back managed to claim his third NFL rushing title, gaining 1,485 yards and 11 touchdowns on the year. Peterson, who helped lead his Minnesota Vikings to an NFC North title over the Green Bay Packers, returned in 2015 after missing an entire season due to a suspension.
Peterson, who could also be considered in the MVP race, is without a doubt the MVP of the Minnesota Vikings season. Heading into the playoffs, he’s hoping to be the MVP in another big game as well.
Want your chance to see your favorite team or players in the Super Bowl? Super Bowl 50 travel packages to see your favorites are still available! And while you’re there, how about hanging out with Erin Andrews, food prepared by Guy Fieri, and meet and greets with over 25 current NFL players? Get your tickets to this year’s 2016 Players Super Bowl Tailgate!