You've got to hand it to Ye Olde Media. Once again, they appear to have voted for a major award without doing their homework—you know, like watching the 2009 NFL season.
How else can you explain the comfortable margin of victory with which Tom Brady captured the Comeback Player of the Year award?
Perhaps some of them cast their votes in Week Three?
Perhaps they got confused and thought that this was the vote for the Associated Press Prettiest Player of the Year award?
Regardless of the explanation, they disgraced themselves by completely ignoring some of the most impressive and inspiring stories that the NFL has seen all decade.
And that's what is so upsetting about this.
The AP writers decided to half-ass this award in a season that featured some incredibly inspiring comeback stories.
Let's begin by quickly dismissing the person who actually won. Yes, Tom Brady followed his MVP performance in 2007—and it was more than just an MVP season, it was completely dominant—with a season-ending injury in 2008. He regrouped in 2009 and had a strong, but by no means exceptional, year.
He was a top-10 quarterback, though he absolutely fell from the elite tranche that includes Manning, Favre, Brees, and Rivers. Many, including myself, would argue that his receivers were superior to those of the QB's listed above—but oh well, no need to tear him a new one.
Does he deserve a pat on the back? Sure. He can have a pat on the back.
Now, let's take a look at Cedric Benson.
Benson has certainly overcome some physical injuries, but what's more important is that he has overcome an injured reputation. And not just any injured reputation; he has done what very few blue chip RB prospects have ever done...escaped the "Bust" label.
Ki-Jana Carter, Curtis Enis, Lawrence Phillips; the list goes on and on and on.
When was the last time a certified bust has totally rejuvenated his career to the extent that Cedric Benson has?
He isn't just good. He is now elite.
His numbers are only the beginning. He finished eighth in the league in rushing, even though he was forced to sit out several games—including the season finale in which his health was conserved.
Why did he sit out Week 17?
Because his once-woeful Bengals had already secured a playoff spot!
The Bengals are the "Comeback Team of the Year," and Cedric Benson is a big part of the reason why they are thriving.
This year, he was Mr. Comeback.
Were I to cast a ballot, though, my vote might actually have been for Vince Young. From a pure merit standpoint, nobody did more to reverse his team's fortunes than Vince Young.
Unlike Benson, the former Texas messiah will not be playing in the postseason. However, Young deserves credit for helping to totally salvage a seemingly devastating 2009 campaign for Tennessee.
And his story goes deeper than that.
Six months ago, when it appeared as though Vince Young's career was already in the abyss, he suddenly lost his friend and mentor, Steve McNair. It's one thing to lose a starting job in the NFL. It's another to lose a father figure.
In Young's own words, "Since I was a teenager, he was like a father to me. I hear his advice in my head with everything I do. Life will be very different without him."
Young made headlines later in 2009 when he began to take an interest in mentoring McNair's children.
Their two losses came at the hands of Indianapolis and San Diego—excusable defeats, to say the least.
Many people will have Tennessee as a favorite to make the postseason once again in 2010, and you can be sure that Vince Young will take the first snap of the season this time.
His numbers are not yet dominant. No, they aren't as good as future Hall of Famer Tom Brady's. But Vince Young knows how to win. The high point was a stunning victory over the Arizona Cardinals in which Young engineered a cross-field drive and threw a winning touchdown on the game's final play.
He is not only a deserving winner of Comeback Player of the Year, but he is also deserving of Comeback PERSON of the Year. Not only did he lose his father figure, but he also overcame severe personal depression, an ailment that has defeated many athletes over the years.
One does not need to be a Titans fan to be a Vince Young fan. Everyone should be cheering for this exceptional man. And it's a shame for the NFL that too few sportswriters were Vince Young fans when it came time to vote.
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