2015 NFL Honors Predictions: Offensive Player of the Year
Who will win the AP 2015 Offensive Player of the Year?
On January 31st, the evening before the Super Bowl, the fourth annual National Football League Honors Show will air on NBC and NFL Network. The NFL’s version of the Academy Awards, yearly awards will be handed out to the best players and coaches in the NFL. Among standard awards such as Defensive Player of the Year and Coach of the Year, there will also be awards like the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award and the Fed Ex Air and Ground Players of the Year. In anticipation for this exciting night I decided to select each player or coach I believe deserves to win the award. To be honest, there are a few cases were the player I feel SHOULD win isn’t the player I think WILL win. Over the next week or so I will write an article for each award and each winner for said award. Some of the selections are pretty much a given, others are up in the air. It’s always fun to make our guesses at who will win, so please feel free to submit your own thoughts in the comments.
AP Offensive Player of the Year
Offensive player of the year is often the most overlooked and award at the end of the season. We love talking about the new fresh rookies who’ve taken the league by storm. The Defensive Player of the Year award seems more coveted then the offensive player, since The MVP goes to the best offensive player 99% of the time. However the MVP goes to the player who made the biggest impact, who helped his team the most, not necessarily the man with the best stats. The Offensive Player of the Year goes to the record breakers, the player who completed a season that compares to the all time greats. This year’s athletes had some fantastic seasons, players who broke team records and some who even broke all time records. But who will win?
Andrew Luck: The Indianapolis Colts must have a lucky horseshoe lying around somewhere in 2011. Finding franchise quarterback, let alone finding an elite top 5 level quarterback, is the hardest thing to accomplish for an NFL team. The Colts let go of Peyton Manning after the 2010 season and with their first overall pick in the 2011 draft found his heir apparent. Andrew Luck has been as advertised, which is rare for any quarterback coming in from college. He’s accurate, mobile, and has a great arm. Perhaps most importantly he is one of the toughest quarterbacks in the NFL. He can take hits, throw picks, and still put together a game-winning touchdown drive. Andrew Luck led the league in touchdowns with 40. His 4,761 passing yards were third best. His 16 interceptions will be the biggest reason he doesn’t win the award.
Le’Veon Bell: The best all around back in the league, Le’Veon Bell’s second season was extremely impressive. His 1,361 yards rushing were second in the NFL. And his 854 yards receiving led all running backs. His 2,215 all purpose yards were second in the league and most all time for the Steelers. As the season progressed Le’Veon became the center of the Steelers number two offense. As a pure runner, Bell’s skills cannot be understated. His power is impressive, able to run right through linebackers and defensive backs. He rarely get’s tackled behind the line of scrimmage and always falls forward. Countless times this season he found a way to make an extra two, three, four yards when almost every other running back would have been taken down. Bell is the most patient back in the league; he always seems to know exactly when to accelerate through the hole. On top of his running ability, his receiving skills may even be better. He runs crisp smooth routes and has great hands. He also protects Big Ben against the pass rush as good as any running back in football. Bell is a 3-down running back and the best all purpose back in years. If Bell hasn’t gotten injured in week 17, the Steelers could very well still be in the race for its seventh Super Bowl Trophy.
Aaron Rodgers: R-E-L-A-X. Aaron Rodgers is perhaps the best quarterback in the NFL and this year was no exception. His athleticism, accuracy, and rocket arm was on display all season and there’s rarely anything defenses can do about him. Although his passing yards were only seventh best this season, his 39 touchdowns were third. However a lot of that can be attributed to massive half time leads at Lambeau, in which the team toned down. But there can be no excuses, and while Rodgers had an MVP caliber season, he perhaps didn’t have an Offensive Player of the Year caliber season.
Antonio Brown: A sixth round draft pick in 2010, the 5-10, 186 pound Antonio Brown isn’t your prototypical number one receiver. But Brown’s quickness, toughness, big play ability, great hands, and amazing rapport with Ben Roethlisberger is what sets him apart. Brown led the league in both receptions and receiving yards, and his 13 touchdowns were second. He led the league in 1st down receptions, an underrated but critical statistic. Among breaking every major seasonal Steelers record for a receiver, his 129 catches are second best all time. Brown still is working on his record of 31 straight games with 5 catches and 50 yards. He’s the best receiver in the NFL hands down and his season in 2014 was one of the greatest years a wide receiver has ever had.
DeMarco Murray: The league’s leading rusher in 2014, the Dallas Cowboy’s all time leading rusher, DeMarco Murray proved doubters wrong and had himself a fantastic season. Murray was only about 150 yards short of the 2k mark. His 1,845 yards rushing led the league. Murray was one of the most important cogs to the Cowboys success. Along with an amazing offensive line, one of the best receivers in football, and a resurgent Tony Romo, Murray’s one-cut power running style led Dallas to NFC East champions. Jerry Jones recently offered Murray a 4-year 16 million dollar contract, honestly that number is offensive. Murray is one of the best running backs in the NFL and a perfect fit for what Dallas wants to do.
Who should win: Antonio Brown- Aaron Rodgers played great most of the year, Andrew Luck the same. Murray and Bell are equals in different ways. But no one had the offensive consistency and big play ability that Brown had all season. In a league with Dez Bryant, AJ Green, the twins in Chicago, and Calvin Johnson; Antonio Brown is the hands down best receiver, and his season was one of the all time greats.
Who will win: DeMarco Murray- Murray was an early season MVP candidate. His season was amazing, take Murray out of the line-up and the Cowboys don’t make the playoffs. Rodgers and Murray will most likely take the most votes, with Bell, Brown, Roethlisberger, Brady and Luck each taking a few.
My favorite to watch: Antonio Brown/Le’Veon Bell- No one consistently made plays like Brown all season. He can go deep, he is as quick as they come, he is strong and he runs routes as good as anyone in the league. His football IQ is what is under rated, he seems to know exactly how to play each defensive player and outwit them to the ball. Bell surprises me every time he touches the ball. He somehow always falls forward and gains more yards then he should have. His power, speed, and quickness abilities are a thing of beauty. If I could only watch film of two receivers and two running backs in the NFL I’d pick Antonio Brown and Dez Bryant and Le’Veon Bell and Marshawn Lynch. They are the most fun players to watch at their positions.