Here we are halfway through the 2008 NFL season, and it's time to hand out the midseason awards.
NFL MVP: Phillip Rivers
He's been the best QB in football this season, as he leads the league in passer rating (107.8) and TD passes (19). And he's tossed more touchdowns than picks in every game but one this year.
While his Chargers are only 3-5, it's certainly not the fault of Rivers, who has their offense rolling despite a forgettable first half by LT.
Offensive Player of Year: Kurt Warner
What a pleasant surprise, Cardinals quarterback, Kurt Warner has been. At age 37, Warner is playing like the leader of “The Greatest Show on Turf.”
He is completing nearly 70 percent (69.9) of his passes and his halfway numbers project to astonishing totals of 414 completions, 4,862 passing yards, and 32 touchdowns.
Runner-Ups: Andre Johnson, Phillip Rivers, Clinton Portis, Adrian Peterson, and Greg Jennings.
Defensive Player of Year: Joey Porter
There are so many superb defensive players this season, but none more so than Miami Dolphins linebacker Joey Porter. Given up on by the Steelers after last year, Porter is leading the NFL in sacks (11.5) and has rejuvinated a Dolphins team that is in the thick of the playoff hunt at 4-4.
Runner-Ups: Justin Tuck, Albert Haynesworth, Corteland Finnegan, Patrick Willis, DeMarcus Ware, and LaMar Woodley.
Special Teams Player of Year: Reggie Bush
Devin Hester, where have you gone? With no return touchdowns yet for the NFL's most dangerous big-play punt returner, this award goes to Saints RB Reggie Bush, with his 21.9 punt return average and three punt return touchdowns, plus one that would have been a fourth score if Bush didn't trip while returning.
Runner-Ups: Jacoby Jones, Ellis Hobbs, and DeSean Jackson.
NFL Coach of Year: Jeff Fisher
Several coaches come to mind here. Tennesee's Jeff Fisher has the Titans at 8-0 with a backup quarterback, Atlanta's Mike Smith has the Falcons at 5-3 with a rookie quarterback, and Washington coach Jim Zorn has the Redskins at 6-3 in the impressive NFC East.
I would have to give it to Fisher, whose Titans were picked to finish third in the AFC South by most experts, but may contend for the Super Bowl title.
Runner-Ups: Mike Smith, Jim Zorn, Tony Sparano, and Ken Whisenhunt.
Offensive Rookie of Year: Matt Ryan
It's rare to see a quarterback on this list, but Atlanta's Matt Ryan has been simply phenomenal, not only for his play on the field, but also for his ability to make people forget about Michael Vick.
Ryan had demonstarted poise, charisma, and confidence. Ryan's Falcons are 5-3 at the midpoint of the season, and strong contenders for the NFC North.
Runner-Ups: Chris Johnson, Matt Forte, DeSean Jackson, Steve Slaton
Defensive Rookie of Year: Jerod Mayo
Jerod Mayo of the Patriots has established himself as a tackling machine, who is always around the ball. With key players on the Patriots aging, Mayo could be the heart and soul of this defense within a few years.
Runner-Ups: Keith Rivers, Chris Long.
Comeback Player of Year: Chad Pennington
This is always a tough one, as a lot of guys normally deserve to win it. Kerry Collins deserves credit for guiding the Titans to an undefeated mark this season, but Chad Pennington has put up the seventh-best quarterback rating in the NFL, all while having the arm strength comparable to a high school quarterback.
Runner-Ups: Kerry Collins, Ricky Williams