Moving toward the close of the 2015 NFL season, and approaching Super Bowl 50, we’re taking a look at which players and coaches will be honored on their quest toward Super Bowl gold. Here are our predictions for the big end of season award races. For now, these coaches and players might still be alive in their quest for Super Bowl 50. By the time February 7th rolls around, it might well be a very different conversation.
The Comeback Player of the Year – Adrian Peterson
Vikings running back Adrian Peterson helped lead Minnesota to an NFC North title. His Vikings won over the perennial favorites Green Bay Packers. He returned in 2015 after missing an entire season due to a suspension. This past-thirty, running back managed to claim his third NFL rushing title this season. He gained 1,485 yards and 11 touchdowns on the year. Good stats.
Considering how well the Vikings are doing, Peterson could be considered in the MVP race as well. He certainly is the MVP of the Minnesota Vikings this season. Moving forward in the playoffs, he’s hoping to be the MVP in that other big game too.
The Offensive Player of the Year – Cam Newton
Really, Cam Newton? No! It’s such a surprise! MVP front-runner Cam Newton leads the consensus for the offensive player of the year as well. Newton chalked up 45 touchdowns in 2015 (35 passing, ten rushing.) That’s the most of all quarterbacks. A stunning eight more than second place Tom Brady.
His offensive playmaking was the key component of Carolina’s 15-1 record and #1 seed in the NFC playoffs.
The Defensive Player of the Year – J.J. Watt
J.J. Swatt, we mean Watt, enters the playoffs leading the league with 17.5 sacks and three forced fumbles. What makes that more impressive? He’s doing so throughout the last three weeks of the season with a broken hand.
The Houston defense minus Watt would come off as flat and stale. Watt’s presence is a big reason the Texans narrowly edged out the Colts for AFC South champions.
The Coach of the Year – Andy Reid
The Kansas City Chiefs sat at the bottom of the AFC after the first six weeks of regular season. Then something started going right. Since that week six loss to the Vikings, Andy Reid’s Chiefs won ten straight games. His team managed to nab the wild card spot of the AFC, which means a playoff match-up against the aforementioned Texans.
Reid’s coaching of QB Alex Smith and his ability to adapt the game plan in the absence of all-pro running back Jamaal Charles should not go unnoticed.
The Rookie of the Year – Todd Gurley
Here’s a team you don’t hear about too often. The St. Louis Rams. Running back Todd Gurley came off of a 2014 knee injury at the University of Georgia, then accumulated 1,106 yards in 13 games of action. He missed the first two and the final game of the year. The 1,106 yards was not only best among rookies, it was third in the league overall, trailing only Adrian Peterson and Doug Martin. Rookie? What rookie?
Gurley has become the force of the Rams offense. From the very start, rushing for 314 yards in his first three starts. Gurley also accounted for ten rushing touchdowns.
If you want to see some of these players live, Super Bowl 50 travel packages are still available. Go see your favorites! While you’re there, maybe hang out with Erin Andrews, chow down on some Guy Fieri food, and meet and greet with over 25 current NFL players. Get your tickets to this year’s 2016 Players Super Bowl Tailgate!