Like so many other sports, football is at its heart a team sport.
The successful teams that win a lot of games and contend for championships are usually the ones with great balance on offense, defense and special teams.
Despite football's reputation as a team sport, most fans wonder who is the best player on the team. Which player is so important to the team's success that he is the difference between a #1 seed or a losing record?
That's why every year there are always people that closely follow the NFL's MVP race.
The AP rewards, which are released during the playoffs, are about more than MVPs. They also highlight the year's best rookies, best coaches and best comeback player.
Although it's not even close to the ultimate goal of winning a Super Bowl, being recognized for an outstanding season can still feel very good.
Here are some NFL players and coaches that at the beginning of 2011 have reason to think this is the year they win an AP award.