NFL Honors 2013: AP Voted the Right Way on Every Major Award for 2012 Season

Mike MoraitisAnalyst IFebruary 3, 2013

The results of the 2013 NFL honors are finally in, and it looks like the Associated Press got every major award right.

Among the winners were Adrian Peterson (MVP, Offensive Player of the Year), Peyton Manning (Comeback Player of the Year), Robert Griffin III (Offensive Rookie of the Year), Luke Kuechly (Defensive Rookie of the Year) and J.J. Watt (Defensive Player of the Year).

Former Indianapolis Colts interim head coach Bruce Arians took home Coach of the Year honors.

Each of these stars was well deserving of the hardware he received, and while there is some room for debate, nobody should have an issue with how the awards were handed out.

Let's take a closer look at why each of these winners was so deserving.


Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings: MVP, Offensive Player of the Year

Peterson had a superb season for the Vikings and was the major catalyst for his team, ultimately leading them to the playoffs less than a year after he suffered a nasty ACL injury.

With 2,097 yards, Peterson finished just nine yards shy of breaking Eric Dickerson's single-season all-time record for rushing yards. He added 13 total touchdowns.

"All Day" was the heart and soul of the team, and without him the Vikes had no shot at making the playoffs.

Minnesota finished with the 31st-ranked passing attack in the NFL, so it's not like there was any confusion as to how the Vikings were going to move the ball on offense. Teams knew the ball was going to Peterson, yet they could do nothing to stop him.

There's no denying that Peyton Manning had a great season. However, Peterson had far less talent surrounding him, which made what he was able to accomplish all the more impressive.


Peyton Manning, QB, Denver Broncos: Comeback Player of the Year

Manning was gold for the Broncos this season, compiling 4,659 yards and 37 touchdowns to only 11 picks. On top of that, Denver finished tied with the Atlanta Falcons for the best record in the NFL at 13-3.

All of this after Manning missed an entire year thanks to a neck injury. It wasn't even certain if Manning would be able to return to the sport, let alone ever be the same again.

Clearly Manning didn't miss a beat, and he's still as good as he's ever been. This award could have gone to either Manning or Peterson, but since A.D. took home the two biggest awards, it's nice that Manning didn't leave empty-handed.


Robert Griffin III, QB, Washington Redskins: Offensive Rookie of the Year

Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks, Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts, Doug Martin of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Alfred Morris of the Washington Redskins all had a legitimate case for Offensive Rookie of the Year, but Robert Griffin III came away with the award.

Washington was once 3-6, but Griffin was able to lead this team to an improbable postseason berth.

He was the definition of a dual-threat quarterback, compiling 3,200 yards through the air and 815 on the ground with a combined total of 27 touchdowns. There's no question that RG3 has become the face of a new era at the quarterback position in the NFL.

Griffin gained more total yardage than Wilson, but he fell about 600 yards short of Luck. However, it must be noted that Luck had close to 200 more total attempts between running and throwing the ball, and he threw 13 more interceptions than Griffin.

Plain and simple: RG3 played the quarterback position better and impacted the games in more ways than either of his counterparts.


Luke Kuechly, ILB, Carolina Panthers: Defensive Rookie of the Year

Kuechly was sensational in his rookie campaign. The rookie linebacker out of Boston College proved to be an impact player up the middle for Carolina.

Not only did he lead all rookies in tackles, but Kuechly led the entire NFL in the same category with 164. He added one sack and two interceptions to his season totals.

Few defensive players in the league did more for their team than Kuechly, and he's just a rookie.


J.J. Watt, DE, Houston Texans: Defensive Player of the Year

Watt was the most unblockable player in the NFL this season, and he impacted the game in a number of ways defensively.

Watt compiled a league-high 20.5 sacks, good enough for sixth-most in the history of the sport. Adding to that, Watt notched 81 tackles with four forced fumbles, plus two fumble recoveries.

He was also a terror batting down passes, living up to the nickname "J.J. Swatt." Will Brinson of CBS Sports let us in on just how easy a decision this was:

Wow. JJ Watt got 49 votes for DPOY. Von Miller got 1.

— Will Brinson (@willbrinson) February 3, 2013


Bruce Arians, Interim Head Coach, Indianapolis Colts: Coach of the Year

Arians took the reins from the team's true head coach, Chuck Pagano, who was diagnosed with cancer during the season.

In the interim, Arians did a stellar job with the Colts, posting a 9-3 record and leading the team to the playoffs a year after going 2-14. He did all of this while maintaining his duties as play-caller and with a rookie quarterback behind center.

There wasn't a soul on the planet who thought the Colts would make the playoffs, yet there they were at the end of the season as a playoff team and just one game behind the Houston Texans for the AFC South title.