Crowning an NFL MVP or Player of the Year always sparks a ton of debate. Everybody has a different criteria for what makes a player qualify for one of these prestigious awards.
However, most can agree that a player needs to make game-changing plays that helped his team win games. Baltimore's Terrell Suggs put together a truly dominant 2011-2012 season.
Suggs finished the year with 14 sacks, seven forced fumbles and two interceptions. His ability to put pressure on the quarterback isn't shown solely by his sack totals, either.
Suggs was also was responsible for causing several holding penalties, false starts and batted balls at the line. Penalties are drive-killers, as they set the offense back and put them in undesirable situations. Offenses want to play with rhythm, consistency and avoid making mistakes. Suggs knows how to disrupt the timing of an offense.
The seven forced fumbles and two interceptions really separate him from the bunch. Other players tallied more sacks and quarterback pressures, but none matched Suggs' ability to create a turnover. Of the other top sack masters, Suggs is the only one to have multiple interceptions and more than five forced fumbles. Being able to sack the quarterback is an important part of the game, but creating turnovers is what helps teams win.
Suggs also gains votes because of his presence on a winning football team.
The Baltimore Ravens finished the season 12-4, winning the AFC North title and earning the No. 2 seed in the AFC playoff standings. Spectacular play means a whole lot more when it's done in pressure situations for a winning team. Minnesota's Jared Allen registered 22 sacks for a team that only pulled out three victories. His stats are still impressive, but by the end of the season he was more worried about padding his stats than winning football games.
Terrell Suggs should be the top vote-getter and should come away with the Defensive Player the Year award. No other defender can match his all-around impressive stat totals and play.