End of Season NFL Awards


Eli Cloutier

The regular season is over, the playoffs are here. You know what that means, time to hand out some awards. I will be handing out seven different awards, Offensive and Defensive Rookie of the Year, Offensive and Defensive Player of the Year, Comeback Player of the Year, Coach of the Year, and of course Most Valuable Player, in that specific order.


Offensive Rookie of the Year:

This award was a two man race all season long with Ja’Marr Chase and Mac Jones. And in my opinion, one man was way ahead of the other. My 2021 Offensive Rookie of the Year goes to Ja’Marr Chase, wide receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals. Chase started off the season hot. Seven games into his rookie campaign, Chase had already surpassed seven hundred and fifty receiving yards along with six touchdowns. It felt like at that point in the season that Chase was going to run away with the award. But, in the next seven games, Chase had just one game over seventy-five receiving yards. To Chase’s credit, he finished off the last three games strong with two games over one hundred yards including a two hundred and sixty-six yard and three touchdown performance before playing just enough in the regular season finale just to break the Bengals single season receiving yards record. Chase ended the season fourth in the league in receiving yards with fourteen hundred and fifty-five, also breaking the rookie receiving yards record. 


Defensive Rookie of the Year:

If you think Ja’Marr Chase ran away with the Offensive Rookie of the Year award, this one is worse. Micah Parsons is my 2021 Defensive Rookie of the Year. This was a one man race and it was never close. You could say Parsons turned around the Cowboys’ defense. They were subpar in 2020, and this season they were one of the better units in the league. Parsons was a Swiss Army knife for the Cowboys, playing snaps at all three levels of the defense and being good at every one. He finished the season with thirteen sacks which sixth in the league, along with three forced fumbles, sixty-four solo tackles, and three passes defended. Parsons’ rookie season isn’t just elite for a first year player, but he had one of the best seasons in the league regardless of tenure. He will most likely end up in the top three in the Defensive Player of the Year voting.


Offensive Player of the Year:

My 2021 Offensive Player of the Year goes to Cooper Kupp, wide receiver for the Los Angeles Rams. The only other player considered for this award was Jonathan Taylor, running back for the Indianapolis Colts. Kupp was the most polarizing player in the league this season. No one argues with what Cooper Kupp did this season, it’s how he did it is what people seem to question. Kupp completed the triple crown of receivers, leading the league in receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns. He is the first player to do this since 2005 and only the fourth player since 1970 to accomplish this feat. Kupp finished the season with the second most receiving yards in a season all time with nineteen hundred and forty-seven, only seventeen yards behind record holder Calvin Johsnon. Kupp’s one hundred and forty five catches is only four off Michael Thomas’ single season record of one hundred and forty nine. Kupp only had one game under ninety receiving yards and six games under one hundred. He had at least one touchdown in eleven games along with no games under five receptions. Kupp’s season was nothing short of historic. 


Defensive Player of the Year:

Speaking of historic seasons, my 2021 Defensive Player of the Year is T. J. Watt, outside linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Watt, who many people think was snubbed of this award last year, won’t be this year. In only fifteen games, Watt tied Michael Strahan’s record for most sacks in one season with twenty-two and one half. The dialogue for a good amount of time is going to be what if Watt did not miss any games, but here we are, he missed two games and still tied the record. Along with his record amount of sacks, Watt also had five forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries, along with eight passes defended. The race for this award was close for most of the season until Watt’s four sack performance against the Browns in a win. Watt pulled away from Browns edge rusher Myles Garrett, seemingly biggest competition for the award, who only had two sacks over the final five weeks of the season.


Comeback Player of the Year:

This is probably the most contested award. The three major players for this award are Nick Bosa, Dak Prescott, and Joe Burrow. And for myself, I’m going to rank them in that order, so my 2021 Comeback Player of the Year is Nick Bosa, defensive end for the San Francisco 49ers. Last season, Bosa tore his ACL in the second week of the season. This season, coming back after this major hurdle, Bosa was spectacular. He finished the season fourth in the league in sacks with fifteen and a half along with four forced fumbles. Bosa came out of the gates hot with a two sack and one forced fumble performance against the Eagles in the 49ers second game of the season. This is my most outside of the box pick because the easy choice would have been one of the two quarterbacks I named above, but Bosa’s return really turned around the 49ers pass rush as last season they ranked twenty second in total sacks, while this season they ranked fifth.


Coach of the Year:

My 2021 Coach of the Year is Mike Vrabel, head coach of the Tennessee Titans. I decided between Vrabel and Packers head coach Matt LaFleur but ultimately went with Vrabel. The Titans are the top seed in the AFC and have a first round bye entering the postseason, and at one point in the season this seemed virtually impossible to attain. At one point in the season, the Titans were without their three best options on offense in running back Derrick Henry and wide receivers A.J. Brown and Julio Jones. Without these three on the field, the Titans offense had very very little talent, even though Brown and Jones returned for a few games after Henry went down for the season, winning twelve games with thin talent on offense is remarkable. Their defense was spotty at times and quarterback Ryan Tannehill had an up and down year, taking a step back from 2020. So a lot of the Titans success this season comes from the coaching staff, led by Mike Vrabel.


Most Valuable Player:

Here we go. The moment we all have been waiting for. The Most Valuable Player. It comes down to Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers in my opinion. With that, my 2021 Most Valuable Player goes to Aaron Rodgers, quarterback for the Green Bay Packers. This being Rodgers second year in a row winning this award and his fourth time overall. Rodgers has a strong case for the award, leading Green Bay to a first round bye in the NFC. Along with this, Rodgers had the best passer rating of one hundred eleven point nine, as well as a quarterback rating sixty-six point eight, which also ranks first in the league. He also had a ratio of thirty-seven passing touchdowns to four interceptions. What really showed me that Rodgers deserved the Most Valuable Player was the Packers week nine game against the Chiefs in which Rodger did not play in. The Packers got nothing going on offense all day and only scored seven points in the game. The difference between the Packers with Rodgers and the Packers without Rodgers is drastic.


Now that all of the awards are given out and the regular season is behind us, we can look back at what was one of the most interesting seasons in recent memory with the addition of the eighteenth week and seventeenth game. With the playoffs here, us fans can expect more of what we got in the regular season, chaos.