The Ed Reed Travesty: James Harrison Named Defensive Player of the Year

chad lamasaCorrespondent IJanuary 5, 2009

Not only are Senate seats for sale this year, apparently major awards in the NFL are as well.

Don't get me wrong, Steelers linebacker James Harrison put up great numbers this season (16 sacks, seven forced fumbles, and one interception), but does he deserve to be named Defensive Player of the Year?

In one word, the answer is NO.

Ed Reed should have won the award.

This may sound like I'm being a homer, and maybe I am, but I'm not the only person who thinks this.

While listening to ESPN Radio today, these are some of the things I heard about Ed Reed.

On Mike & Mike In the Morning, ESPN analyst and future Hall-of-Fame wide receiver Cris Carter said, "Ed Reed is the most explosive player at the safety position EVER!"

Later in the show, Kordell Stewart said of Reed, "Ed Reed is something else...Teams should work on 'stop Ed Reed drills.'"

While being interviewed by Colin Cowherd today, Cowboys linebacker Bobby Carpenter said, "Ed Reed is the best free safety in the game right now." 

Cowherd responded by saying, "His instincts are amazing."

Scott Van Pelt called Reed "the most disruptive force defensively."

Does this not sound like the most valuable defensive player?

Sacks are great, but do sacks change the complexion of the game? Occasionally they do, but not in the same way a pick-six will.

Ed Reed has played out of his mind this season. He recorded nine interceptions during the regular season, two of which were returned for touchdowns. The total yardage on those returns? 139 yards. This included a 107-yard return against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Reed had four two-interception games this season. On the season, Reed compiled 264 return yards. That's more than two and a half football fields.

This put the Ravens in far better field position than 16 sacks would have.

Reed sacked Ben Roethlisberger in a crucial AFC North showdown and forced a fumble against Jacksonville, a must-win game for the Ravens to make the playoffs.

In the Wild Card game against the Dolphins, Reed added two more interceptions, another TD, and 76 more return yards to his totals. The return yardage put him over 1,100 on his career.

The two picks gave Reed three consecutive games with two interceptions.

Not only has Reed put up amazing numbers, he has done it playing injured all season.

Reed hurt his neck in training camp and has not fully recovered. A report I heard said this could be a career-threatening injury.

Here's a guy playing at less than 100 percent and putting up game-changing numbers.

How does that not rank as the best defensive player in the league?

Ed Reed this season moved from possible Hall-of-Famer to sure-fire first-ballot lock.

James Harrison, the Defensive Player of the Year? Not even close.

The voters got this one wrong.


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