The Official Read Optional End-Of-Season Awards
It’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for. Yes the 2016 NFL season has been over for more than a week but we needed that time to get our debate juices flowing. Plus, outside of the Packers vs. Giants game, Wild-Card Weekend was so dull and predictable that I’m treating it as Week 17.5. Thus the NFL season just ended and now is the perfect time to start wildly predicting awards.
As this is officially the official Read Optional End-of-Season Awards, we couldn’t just hand out lame duck awards like MVP, Offensive Rookie of the Year, etc. We (meaning myself and my esteemed colleague Paddi Cooper) will be giving our predictions for those awards — as some people deem them “important” — but we’ve constructed true awards to hand out to players; ones that a professional player should actually be honored to win.
With that, onto the ceremony!
Most Valuable Player
Paddi Cooper: Matt Ryan, Quarterback, Atlanta Falcons
Pete Rogers: Matt Ryan
I really, really wanted to put Tom Brady here but Paddi’s right. Matt Ryan’s season has been amazing and I’m still slightly playing the homer card as Ryan did go to Boston College.
Offensive Player Of The Year
PC: Ezekiel Elliott, Running Back, Dallas Cowboys
PR: David Johnson, Running Back, Arizona Cardinals
Anyone who follows me on Twitter or has listened to my podcast The Butt-Fumble knows my love for Ezekiel Elliott. However, Johnson was hands down the only offensive weapon on the Cardinals this season and still teams couldn’t stop him.
Defensive Player Of The Year
PC: Landon Collins, Safety, New York Giants
PR: Landon Collins
Clearly my pick. I wrote a whole article about how he was an MVP candidate mid-way through the season.
Offensive Rookie Of The Year
PC: Ezekiel Elliott, Running Back, Dallas Cowboys
PR: Ezekiel Elliott
Defensive Rookie Of The Year
PC: Joey Bosa, Defensive End, San Diego Chargers
PR: Joey Bosa
I hate to keep agreeing with Paddi but he’s been spot on so far (outside of that OPOY choice). Bosa was an instant stud on the Chargers defensive line and is quickly developing into one of the top 3–4 ends in the league.
Coach of the Year
PC: Jason Garrett, Dallas Cowboys
PR: Bill Belichick, New England Patriots
Now some disagreement. Belichick will never get this award because the NFL hates him but the guy went 3–1 with Jimmy Garoppolo — soon to be the starting quarterback for the 49ers — and rookie Jacoby Brissett. Remember how the Raiders just fell apart without Derek Carr and couldn’t beat the Texans? Yea, Belichick did that easily, with Brissett.
Comeback Player Of The Year
PC: Jordy Nelson, Wide Receiver, Green Bay Packers
PR: Jordy Nelson
Back to agreeing. Can’t argue with this pick as Jordy came back from an ACL tear to lead the league in receiving touchdowns.
NOW TO THE VERY PRESTIGIOUS READ OPTIONAL AWARDS
The Better Dressed Than Cam Newton Award for Best Interview Attire Without Getting Benched: Steve Smith, Baltimore Ravens
PR: Cam Newton has of course made the postgame attire an artform yet he at times plays the game a little too wild and loose, which as we know now, can lead to embarrassing moments (see: Most Embarrassing Moments Award).
Steve Smith, master of the catch-phrase, only furthered his postgame game in his final season, appearing for the media both as beloved Jedi master Yoda and an elf. Who else in the league can pull off this level of attire and still play the next week? Exactly, only this man:
Best Third String Quarterback: Tom Brady, New England Patriots
PC: OK it’s a massive cheat to claim Brady as a third stringer, but only four true third string quarterbacks saw the field in 2016 and those guys went a paltry 1–15 in 2016, with the only win coming from Matt Barkley as the Bears beat the 49ers in week 13.
Brady as we all know, missed the first four games of the season through suspension, coming in after Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett each started two games. He promptly had one of the best seasons of his career at age 39 as he broke the NFL record for the best touchdown to interception record with a 28–2 stat line and led the Patriots to 11 wins in 12 games as they achieved the one seed in the AFC and another first round bye.
Best Free Agent Signing: LeGarrette Blount, New England Patriots
PR: The Patriots signed Blount to a one-year deal worth a million dollars. One. Million. Dollars. That’s it.
Blount repaid the Patriots by giving them the best season by a New England running back ever. He led the league in rushing touchdowns with 18 and finally brought a legit running game to the Patriots’ once-pass-heavy offense. Not bad for a guy making less money than Kellen Clemens.
Worst Free Agent Signing: Brock Osweiler, Houston Texans
PC: This award wasn’t even close. On review of NFL.com’s top 50 Free Agents heading into the 2016 season, bar a couple of under performances from some high profile pickups in Jacksonville, Osweiler dominated this award.
The $72m dollar man (or more accurately $37m over two years man), Osweiler finished as the 34th rated quarterback per the Read Optional’s ROPE Index, the worst of any quarterback to start at least 10 games. His yards per attempt (5.8) and yards per completion (9.8), were the worst in the league and Osweiler was one of just two quarterbacks to start at least 10 games and finish the season with a negative touchdown to interception ratio at 15:16 (Ryan Fitzpatrick 12:17). He was benched in week 15 for his backup Tom Savage and if were not for a concussion suffered by Savage in week 17, Osweiler would not have started the playoff game against the Raiders.
Osweiler will likely head into 2017 as part of a quarterback competition but from the definitive starter.
Biggest, Most Inflated Balls This Season: Jack Del Rio going for 2
PR: Way, way back in Week 1, just in the birth of the new season, Jack Del Rio gave us all a hint at what this Raiders team would be during the season. After scoring the tying touchdown against the Saints with 40 seconds left on the clock, Del Rio decided that instead of kicking the extra point and playing for overtime, he’d go for the win.
Well it worked. And with it the 2016 Raiders were off and running. Had it not been for a broken leg, we’d still be talking about this Raiders season and if they’d be able to take down the New England Patriots. Sadly injuries derailed the season but this still will shine as the biggest, ballsiest moment of the 2016 NFL season.
Most Embarrassing Moment of the Year, Sponsored by the Butt Fumble Podcast: Chris Boswell’s failed rabona onside kick against the Ravens
PC: Your team pulls within a score with 48 seconds left and you have go for the onside kick, a low percentage play at the best of times. Your kicker tries to relive his past College glories and pull off a trick play to get the ball back. Only his technique is off, the ball barely comes off the tee and your team losers to their biggest rivals. Luckily it didn’t impact the Steelers’ season but will forever live on the NFL blooper wheel.
Honorable mentions: Odell Beckham Jr and the kicking net, Cam Newton’s benching for not wearing a tie