The three most hotly debated awards for the 2012 NFL regular season are the Most Valuable Player, Comeback Player of the Year Award, and Rookie of the Year Award. I will present case for each candidate below and then make my pick as to who I think deserves their respective award the most.
Rookie of the Year
The Case for Russell Wilson
The Seahawks drafted Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson in the third round of the 2012 draft, and many thought he would be a backup to newly signed Matt Flynn. However, after exceeding expectations in the preseason, Wilson continued to prove why he should start in the regular season. The Seahawks quarterback tied Peyton Manning’s single season rookie record with 26 touchdown passes this year. He also rushed for four more touchdowns while throwing for over 3000 yards and completing 64% of his passes. He took over a Seahawks team with a losing record the year before and brought them to within a game of the NFC West Title and within a field goal of an NFC Championship berth.
The Case for Robert Griffin III
The Redskins traded the house to get Baylor QB Robert Griffin III with the second pick of last year’s draft. He threw for 3200 yards and completed 66% of his passes while throwing 20 touchdowns to just 5 interceptions and posting a 102.4 quarterback rating, good for third best behind Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning. He took over a Washington Redskin team that has been a joke for the last decade and led them to a division title.
The Case for Andrew Luck
The expectations could not have been any higher for Andrew Luck. He was the designated number one overall pick for over a year at Stanford until he was officially drafted #1 overall by the Colts. Luck threw for a rookie record 4374 yards to go along with 23 touchdowns, 18 interceptions, and a 50.4 completion percentage. He led a 2 win Colts team from the year before to an 11-5 record and the #5 seed in the AFC playoffs.
This may be the closest race I’ve seen in any sport in recent memory. Needless to say there is no wrong answer here. However, since I am obligated to make a pick I have to go with Robert Griffin III. Griffin revitalized an entire franchise and led them to an improbable division title in a division that included the defending Super Bowl champions.
Comeback Player of the Year
The Case for Peyton Manning
After losing to the Jets in the 2011 NFL playoffs, Peyton Manning would not play another snap for the Colts in his career and would not play another snap in the NFL until September of 2012. In between that time span Manning underwent four neck surgeries and joined the Denver Broncos. Despite all of this, Manning is having one of his best seasons with over 4500 yards passing, 37 touchdowns, 69% completion percentage, and a 105.8 quarterback rating, second to Aaron Rodgers. He also led the Broncos to the number one overall seed in the playoffs.
The Case for Adrian Peterson
Adrian Peterson tore both his MCL and ACL back in December of 2011. What typically is at least an 8 month recovery not only got Peterson back on the field for the season opener but allowed him to have of the one of the best seasons of all time for a running back. He rushed for 2097 yards, second best all time, while averaging 6 yards a carry and adding 12 touchdowns. He single handedly carried the Minnesota Vikings into the playoffs as the 6 seed in the NFC.
My dislike for Peyton Manning is well documented, but considering his 4 surgeries, the fact that he is 36, and the fact that he led the Broncos to the #1 seed and is in the conversation for MVP, I have to give the comeback player of the year award to Peyton Manning.
Most Valuable Player
The Case for Adrian Peterson
Seeing as he is a candidate for comeback player of the year, I will not repeat his season statistics again. What makes Peterson a candidate for MVP is that he single handedly carried a mediocre Vikings team to the playoffs. He came within 9 yards of breaking the all time rushing record and made every big play when it counted, despite the fact that everyone in the stadium knew he was getting the ball. In terms of value to this team, it doesn’t get any better than Adrian Peterson in 2012.
The Case for Peyton Manning
Similar to Peterson, Manning also doubles as an MVP candidate so simply refer to the above section for his season statistics. Peyton Manning’s value to the Broncos is shown by the fact that he took over an 8-8 team and led them to a 13-3 record and the number one overall seed in the playoffs while having one of the best seasons of his career.
The Case for Aaron Rodgers
As the defending MVP from last season, Rodgers is at a slight disadvantage as generally voters do not like to vote for the same person two years in a row unless their second season is even better than their first. This is not quite the case for Rodgers this year but his season cannot be overlooked. He threw for over 4000 yards, 39 touchdown passes, a 67% completion percentage, and a 108 quarterback rating that led the league. All of this while leading the Green Bay Packers to another division title.
The MVP race was very close for most of the season, but by the time Week 17 was over, it was very clear who the MVP was. Adrian Peterson not only had the best season this year, but perhaps one of the greatest seasons of all time considering all of the circumstances. If he does not get a unanimous vote then the writer that voted against him should be fired. Peterson is the 2012 NFL MVP.
Thanks to everyone who finished reading this. Please like the post if you enjoyed reading it, comment if you have feedback, and most importantly share with your friends. I will try to add some polls so you guys can cast your own votes as well.