Judge's awards: Revis gets blanket honors
Can a quarterback picked to win the NFL MVP actually not be the Offensive Player of the Year?
Yes, and it can happen this season. In fact, I think it should.
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning will be the league MVP. I don't think there's much doubt about that. But he shouldn't be the Offensive Player of the Year. That should be Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson.
That's how I picked them here in my Season-Ending Awards column. It's how I will vote it next week in the official AP awards.
Johnson, who has rushed for 1,872 yards, should get to 2,000 yards this week against Seattle. He needs 128 yards to get to that magic number. And you can bet the Titans will feed him in a meaningless game.
They fed him late in a blowout loss last week to San Diego, getting a 30-yard touchdown run long after he probably should have been on the bench, so you know it will happen again.
That's OK. What else are they playing for, draft position? Johnson needs 234 yards to break Eric Dickerson's single-season record of 2,105 yards. That would seem unlikely, but with Johnson's 5.8-per-carry average, it isn't crazy to think it could happen.
If he hits that average, Johnson would need to carry it 41 times to break the record. That's a lot of totes, but it might be something the Titans decide to do.
Whatever he puts up, he's the choice for Offensive Player of the Year. Look at the distance between him and the other runners. Steven Jackson is second on the rushing list, and he's 519 yards behind Johnson.
When it comes to Manning, there are a lot of passers who are having seasons comparable to his, but he plays on the top team, which is why he's the MVP.
He's just not the Offensive Player of the Year.
We do our season-ending awards this week because next week is all about the playoffs, the second season. So it was tough to come up with a 2009 Best Moment, when it might actually come this week if Johnson breaks the 2,000-yard mark.
Here are the rest of the season-ending awards:
MVP: Manning. He won it in Week 14 when he threw four touchdown passes to beat Jacksonville and the Saints and Vikings both lost.
Runners-up: Saints QB Drew Brees
Chargers QB Philip Rivers
Vikings QB Brett Favre
Offensive player: Johnson. The big plays are a big reason why he's close to getting 2,000.
Runners-up: Manning, Brees, Rivers, Favre and Texans QB Matt Schaub.
|Week 17 links|
SI.com's Trotter: Pro Bowl misses
SI.com's Bettis: Colts fumbled decision
Defensive player: Packers CB Charles Woodson. He's done it consistently all season long. He can cover. He can tackle.
Runners-up: Broncos DE Elvis Dumervil
Jets CB Darrelle Revis
Coach: Marvin Lewis, Bengals. From where they were a year ago to playoff team is impressive. He also had to handle his team through two deaths, one being receiver Chris Henry and the other the wife of defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer.
Runners-up: Saints' Sean Payton
Chargers' Norv Turner
Colts' Jim Caldwell
Assistant coach: Zimmer. He had to deal with the death of his wife and still kept this unit in the top five of the league. He also lost his top pass rusher, Antwan Odom, in October.
Runners-up: Colts offensive coordinator Tom Moore
Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers
Jets defensive coordinator Mike Pettine
Houston offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan
Offensive rookie: Ravens T Michael Oher. He was very good on the right side and has done a nice job filling in on the left side.
Runners-up: Vikings WR Percy Harvin
Browns C Alex Mack
Vikings T Phil Loadholt
Broncos RB Knowshon Moreno
Colts WR Austin Collie
Defensive rookie: Texans LB Brian Cushing. He leads all rookies in tackles and has four sacks. He's going to the Pro Bowl as a rookie, which says a lot.
Runners-up: Redskins OLB Brian Orakpo
Rams LB James Laurinaitis
Bills S Jairus Byrd
Jaguars CB Derek Cox
Packers LB Clay Matthews
Colts CB Jerraud Powers
Best trend: Yards-per-attempt numbers are way up. That means there were a lot of big plays in the passing game. We love that.
Runner-up: The Wildcat is dying and almost dead. Thankfully.
Perplexing trend: Bad teams are really bad. That's because they don't have quarterbacks.
Runner-up: Concussions. Why are they more prevalent? It's a trend that needs to be remedied.
Who is the 2009 NFL MVP?
Total Votes: 12,168
Best free-agent pickup: Favre. He's had a great season, but this will truly be decided by what he does in the playoffs.
Runners-up: Broncos LB Andra Davis
Broncos NT Ronald Fields
Saints S Darren Sharper
Biggest disappointment (team): Steelers. They probably go from Super Bowl winner to non-playoff team. That's hard to believe with that talent.
Biggest disappointment (player): Bears QB Jay Cutler. Was I wrong about him? It looks that way for now. He has really struggled, although he looked good Monday night.
Runners-up: Texans RB Steve Slaton
Bears RB Matt Forte
Raiders QB JaMarcus Russell
Most-improved player: Dolphins DE Randy Starks. He should be in the Pro Bowl. He's been that good.
Runners-up: Cowboys WR Miles Austin
Vikings WR Sidney Rice
Saints G Carl Nicks
Surprise team: Bengals. Few thought they could be a playoff team, let alone win the AFC North.
Surprise player: Austin. When Terrell Owens was let go, did anybody have an idea Austin would turn out to be a Pro Bowl player? Jerry Jones did.
Runners-up: Patriots LB Tully Banta-Cain
Titans QB Vince Young
Comeback player: Tom Brady, Patriots. He bounced back from his torn ACL to have another Pro Bowl season. He started slow, but he's really come on.
Runners-up: Bengals QB Carson Palmer
Buccaneers RB Cadillac Williams
Best game: Colts 35, Patriots 34 (Week 10). This is the game when Bill Belichick had his fourth-and-stupid call. The Colts won it on a late touchdown pass.
Runners-up: Indianapolis 27, Miami 23 (Week 2)
Giants 33, Cowboys 31 (Week 2)
Vikings 27, 49ers 24 (Week 3)
New Orleans 33, Washington 30 (OT) (Week 13)
Steelers 37, Packers 36 (Week 15)
Bears 36, Vikings 30 (OT) (Week 16)
Runner-up: It's coming when Johnson gets to 2,000.
Worst moment: Henry's death. The player fraternity lost one of their own.
Runner-up: When Zimmer's wife passed away. It's hard to imagine how he has handled this season.