The 2020 season has been crazy to say the least. Football looked different this year, many games were played without fans, but we all were still able to have a full season without one game needing to be cancelled which is an impressive feat. The Super Bowl is set with the surging Tampa Bay Buccaneers against the league’s regular season title winners, the Kansas City Chiefs. The Super Bowl is one to look forward too, but before that game, the NFL Award Winners will be announced. In this article, we’ll break down the predicted winners of each award and why they are deserving of that title.
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Justin Herbert
In the battle of the Justins (Jefferson and Herbert), Herbert is the one who will prevail in one of the tightest races of the year. Both rookies had incredible seasons with very bright futures ahead of them, especially with changes to come for their respective teams. With the firing of Anthony Lynn, the Chargers should have better play calling especially in late-game scenarios which the Chargers blew several leads throughout the season. Despite these chokes, Herbert still had a great season on his way to breaking the record for most passing yards, passing touchdowns, and completions by a rookie quarterback. Jefferson also set a rookie record for most receiving yards in a season. Both players played for a team that finished the season with a losing record making this award even tougher to award as if one played for a playoff team would help solidify the argument they deserved it more. Justin Herbert edges out Jefferson due to the sheer amount of records he broke without even playing the full season, dealing with poor coaching and his supporting cast dealing with injuries, Herbert was much more consistent and continued to find ways to succeed.
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Chase Young
Chase Young has lived up to the hype of being selected 2nd overall by the Washington Football Team. As a rookie, Young still managed to play in ¾ of all defensive snaps for Washington even with missing a game this season due to injury. Young was the standout defensive player from the 2020 class and showed why with his 7.5 sacks and 4 forced fumbles. Young should only improve as the years go by as either Washington gets better or he moves onto a new team where he can fully grow as a player. Young is the defensive rookie of the year and can very well win more awards in his career as he continues to develop into a star.
MVP: Aaron Rodgers
Aaron Rodgers is defying any doubts people had with his age along with Tom Brady who Rodgers fell short to in the NFC Championship Game. In his age 37 season, Rodgers put up career numbers with highs in passing touchdowns, completion percentage, and QBR. Rodgers put up 48 touchdowns which led the league with only 5 interceptions! This has put Rodgers in a club all by himself of quarterbacks in the history of the NFL with more than 300 passing touchdowns and fewer than 100 interceptions. Rodgers led the Packers to the NFC Championship but fell short on bad play choices towards the end of the game that cost them a trip to the Super Bowl. Nonetheless, Rodgers was the main reason the Packers were atop the NFC in the regular season with an impressive 13-3 record. Rodgers is very much deserving of his 3rd MVP award.
Offensive Player of the Year: Derrick Henry
In a race where non-quarterback positions players can truly thrive based on their impressive seasons is the Offensive Player of the Year award. This year, there is one candidate who stood out from the rest for accomplishing what only a select few players in the history of the NFL have done and that man is Derrick Henry. Henry is the 8th player in league history to rush for over 2,000 yards in a single season. Henry did so with 127 rushing yards per game on average. Henry was one of the most dominant which led to opposing defenses being scared to play against Henry. Henry was only held to under 100 yards just a handful of times during the season and even in those games, they either had to play from behind or were up significantly and did not need to rely on Henry. The most impressive feat of this season was not once, not twice, but three different times this season, Henry rushed for over 200 yards in a game with 2 touchdowns in each of those games. Henry is the clear winner in the offensive player of the year as he was a force to be reckoned with for the vast majority of the season.
Defensive Player of the Year: T.J. Watt
The younger brother of 3-time defensive player of the year J.J. Watt is on pace for his 1st defensive player of the year award himself. T.J. Watt led the league with 15 sacks with a staggering 41 quarterback hits. Watt has managed 2 back to back seasons with over 14 sacks, but this year he did it with a career high in tackles for a loss as well. Watt is already a 3x Pro Bowler and 2x All-Pro in only his 4th season in the league. Watt is going to be a pain for offensive units for many years to come with his eyes on beating his brother’s accolades.
Comeback Player of the Year: Alex Smith
After 2 tough years doing everything he can just to walk again, Alex Smith defied all odds to not only walk again, but to play the game he loves most. Smith didn’t just fight for his football career, he fought for his life and ability to walk again. Smith went through 17 surgeries just to get to where is today. Smith was deserving of this award for everything he has been through and just stepping on a football field. But after everything Smith endured, he wasn’t going to settle for anything less, he prevailed and led the Washington Football Team to the playoffs as winners of the NFC East. Smith has one of the most incredible stories in football and is the true definition of what it means to be a fighter. They should rename this award after Alex Smith for what he has brought to the world of sports. Smith is the comeback player of the century.
Coach of the Year: Kevin Stefanski
The Cleveland Browns made their first trip back to the playoffs since 2002. They also won a playoff game this season against division rival and mortal enemy in the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Browns were able to accomplish such a feat in Stefanski’s first year as head coach. The Browns finally have their coach and quarterback of the future aligned at the right time since returning as a franchise in 1999. Stefanski edges out fellow AFC coaches Sean McDermott and Brian Flores in this tight race for Coach of the Year. McDermott has turned the Bills franchise completely around as a Super Bowl Contender for the foreseeable future. The Bills were one of the league’s best led by a MVP-Caliber Quarterback and one of the league’s best Wideouts. Staying in the AFC East, Brain Flores also turned around the Dolphins from being in the league’s worst to narrowly missing the playoffs despite having a 10-6 record. 4 of the Dolphins 6 losses came to Super Bowl Contender teams due to their tough schedule. If the Dolphins won one more game and sent the Dolphins to the playoffs, it would be tough to deny giving this award to Flores. Stefanski wins this one due to the Bills loss in the AFC championship game and the Dolphins choking their playoff berth away in the final weeks of the season.