With the 2008 NFL season in the books, it is time for me to offer up my 2008 awards, which are: MVP, Offensive & Defensive Players of the Year, Offensive & Defensive Rookies of the Year, Comeback pPayer, Best Coach, Worst and Best Teams, Best and Worst Individual Performance of the Year, Most Disappointing Player, Most Surprising Team, and All-Pro Teams on: Offense, Defense and Special Teams.
Most Valuable Player
Michael Turner (Falcons)
Here is what influenced my decision on this award: Peyton Manning played great the second half of the year. He was the main reason the Colts rebounded in the second half of the season and won nine straight games.
However, the Colts did start 3-4 and this is an entire season award. Conversely, Clinton Portis was the MVP of the first part of the season. However, after starting 6-2 the Redskins finished in last place at 8-8.
Kurt Warner played too bad down the stretch to receive my consideration, despite leading the Cardinals to the playoffs. DeAngelo Williams was another interesting candidate, but again the bulk of his big games and big numbers were in the second half of the season.
Michael Turner was good at the beginning of the season, in the middle of the season, and at the end of the season. He had six 100-yard games and two 200-yard games. The Falcons were 8-0 in those games. He finished second in the NFL in rushing to Adrian Peterson by 61 yards.
In the Falcons’ 11 wins, he averaged 127.4 rushing yards per game and scored 14 of his 17 touchdowns. In the five losses he averaged 59.6 rushing yards per game and did not top 100-yards in any of those contests. He did this for a team that was the third worst in the NFL last year and with a rookie quarterback who played phenomenal, but was still a rookie.
Turner’s signature game was a four-touchdown game against 12-4 Carolina that helped bring a 45-28 victory and show that Atlanta belonged in the playoff picture. He was also huge in their victory over Tampa Bay, a game in which he had 32 carries for 152 yards and one touchdown.
That helped them clinch a playoff spot. Michael Turner was probably the most consistent and complete player the entire season and there is no disputing that without him the Falcons don’t make the playoffs. In my opinion, he was the MVP of the NFL.
Offensive Player of the Year
Drew Brees (Saints)
Drew Brees would have been my MVP if he didn’t play for a last place team. The Saints were only 8-8 and in last place in the NFC South. They were never a serious contender in the playoff hunt. While that is not his fault, you rarely see MVPs come from last place clubs.
However, in terms of offensive numbers he stayed on pace with Dan Marino almost the entire way. He finished with 5,069 yards, just 15 yards short of Marino’s record. Had Lance Moor hung on to the ball on the Saints final play, Brees could have broke it. He put up the best offensive numbers on one of the best passing teams in the NFL.
Defensive Player of the Year
DeMarcus Ware (Cowboys)
The Ravens, Steelers, and Titans had the best defenses in the NFL. They had so many players that could be deserving of this award. The Cowboys also had a great defense and I like Ware for a number reasons.
The Cowboys were fifth against the pass. They were questionable in the secondary, but were able to stop the pass because they had 59 sacks this season. Ware was responsible for 20 of those, which led the NFL. He also had 84 tackles and six forced fumbles.
Those sacks were well spread out. He recorded at least one sack in 14 of his 16 games. He also had 11 sacks after November, which is when the playoff push is made. In the Cowboys big game against the Giants, he recorded three sacks.
Yes, the Cowboys disappeared in their final game. However, they wouldn’t have had a final game to disappear in without Ware. Most of the points in that game were caused by Dallas turnovers on offense. Ware was a fantastic player this year. He is more than deserving of the NFL Defensive Player of the Year, despite the disappointment of Dallas’s season.
Special Teams Player of the Year: Leon Washington (Jets)
He was so big for the Jets this year, especially when they were in the hunt for the playoffs. His returns gave the Jets excellent field position. He also had a number of big games as a running back and receiver out of the backfield. He is a spark plug that changes the outcome of games. He was the best return man over the course of the entire season...