Wednesday 13 December 2017 / 12:54 AM

Airing it Out 2014 NFL Awards

Pete Carroll can’t have a “do over”, but I can.

I don’t like what I did with 2013’s Airing it Out Awards column. This time around I’m going to rectify my mistake.

Last year I basically took a look at the “real” winners, agreed with some, disagreed with others, peppered in a few jokes here and there and called it a wrap. It was complete crap. Hardly worth reading. It’s a miracle of modern science that I wasn’t abruptly fired like Rex Ryan.

Publishing the piece was akin to all those no talent ass clowns out there who post a smattering of pretentious bullshit links on Facebook and call themselves artists or intellectuals.

So this year I’m going off the rails. Without my editor’s pre-approval, I might add.

I’m going to reach into the deepest innards of my brain and come up with a list of end-of-season awards that you’ve never heard of. From the ridiculous to the absurd, to a few recognitions that ought to exist, it will all be in there.

But first – let’s take a peek at who really did take home this year’s most prestigious honors. I’ll add my two cents for good measure.

Most Valuable Player: Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers

No shocker here.

Rodgers racked up 38 touchdowns to just 5 interceptions, threw for 4,381 yards with a 112.2 RTG, won the NFC North title, and while it doesn’t “count” in the voting, he nearly upset the Seahawks in Seattle before his defense and special teams gave away the NFC Championship.

For as long as #12 plays in Green Bay, Packer fans can R-E-L-A-X.

Offensive Player of the Year: DeMarco Murray, RB, Dallas Cowboys

I’m not even going to waste a single second loading up Murray’s exact stats on the season. He rushed for more yards this year than Emmitt Smith ever did in a Cowboys uniform. Enough said. Give that man his trophy.

Defensive Player of the Year: J.J. Watt, DE, Houston Texans

Guess who voted for Watt as the Defensive Player of the Year?

Everybody.

 J.J. Watt has now won the award twice over the last three seasons. His next feat will be to challenge for the MVP.

Offensive Rookie of the Year: Odell Beckham Jr., WR, New York Giants

Hard to believe this guy led many Fantasy Football owners to championship glory as a waiver wire pick-up.

Nobody saw this guy coming.

He racked up 1,305 yards on the season but these 46 were the icing on the cake.

Defensive Rookie of the Year: Aaron Donald, DT, St. Louis Rams

Aaron Donald’s 17 tackles for a loss were the most by a defensive tackle in NFL history.

If the Rams can get their quarterback situation sorted they could be a force to reckon with sooner rather than later. It’s truly unfortunate that they play in the same division as Seattle, Arizona and San Francisco.

 

Coach of the Year: Bruce Arians, Arizona Cardinals

Cardinals fans will always remember the historic collapse that started with a (9-1) record and finished with an ugly loss at Carolina in the Wild Card round, but how many coaches can hold a team together that’s lost not one, but two starting quarterbacks?

Still…we do have to wonder a little bit if Arians had this award wrapped up by Week 11 and voters were just too nice to take it away from him after the Cards’ season turned to shambles?

Comeback Player of the Year: Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots

Gronk brushed off his arm injury to become the most dominant tight end in the game and the driving force of the Patriots offense.

His quest to shed his party-boy image, however, isn’t going so well.

Then again, dude just won the Super Bowl. I’ve drank until my clothes ripped for far less admirable reasons.

Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year: Thomas Davis, LB, Carolina Panthers

Amid a number of scandals this season, including Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson, the NFL could really use a lot more players like Thomas Davis.

Read here to see why Davis was an obvious choice for Man of the Year.

Hall of Fame Inductees:

Junior Seau, LB; Tim Brown, WR; Jerome Bettis, RB; Charles Haley, DE/LB; Will Shields, G; Bill Polian, contributor; Ron Wolf, contributor; Mick Tingelhoff, C

***

And now on to some awards that aren’t so real…

NFL Darwin Award: Josh Gordon, WR, Cleveland Browns

You know the Darwin Awards, right? Where we recognize those very special humans who work against the laws of evolution and earn death by result of their own stupidity?

Well, in the NFL we’ve got players that destroy their own million-dollar careers via boneheaded off-field mistakes that have nothing to do with their ability to run, pass, catch, punt or kick.

Enter Josh Gordon.

Just a few short months after having his one-year suspension cut to 10 games, rescuing him from a life of selling cars in Cleveland, the Browns star receiver sent himself back to the dog house after throwing back drinks mid-flight on his way to Vegas.

Gordon will miss the entire 2015 season as a result of breaking the terms of his reinstatement, and before you jump in to defend the man who “just had a few drinks on the plane”, don’t forget that the dude signed a paper saying that he wouldn’t. Right or wrong to not allow the repeat offender to enjoy a brewski, he’s an idiot.

Runner up goes to Warren Sapp, who is ineligible to win as he’s no longer an active player.

Biggest Disappointment: Jay Cutler, QB, Chicago Bears

Teammate Brandon Marshall claimed before the season began that Cutler was primed for an MVP campaign. Fast forward four months and the (5-11) Bears wound up in last place in the NFC North with Cutler putting up these “super sweet” numbers: 28 TDs, 18 INTs.

Well, OK, perhaps those statistics don’t do justice to how poopy Cutler looked on the field in 2014.

Sure, he played better than Charlie Whitehurst or Ryan Fitzpatrick, but those dudes aren’t signed to a $100 million contract with the expectation of being a franchise quarterback.

Best NFL YouTube Video

Men are pigs.

Worst Move by the League Office

Every season the No Fun League tweaks the rules to take a little more enjoyment out of the games. We started the season off by disallowing goal post dunks a la Jimmy Graham, but at least that makes some sense as resetting the posts can actually cause a delay to the game.

But calling Marshawn Lynch’s celebratory testicle adjustment an “obscene gesture”? Get outta here.

What’s next? Asking for a high five is sexual harassment?

Shame on you Roger Goodell.

What Hype? Award

Johnny Manziel entered the Browns headquarters as Johnny Football and left to join a substance-abuse treatment program.

Mr. Manziel might have sold a boatload of jerseys but the college star completed just 18 passes for Cleveland and his first NFL start was just about as bad as it gets (10-18 passing, 80 yards, 0 TD, 2 INT).

#2 will look to be 2015’s Comeback Player of the Year but I just don’t see it happening. The Browns brass made a big mistake drafting Manziel even if they’ve not yet openly admitted it.

Stay in School Kids Award

OK, sure, this dude’s not quite as stupid as the other morons out there with “Super Bowl Champs” tatts for teams that didn’t even make it to the big game.

I mean, at least he waited until his club was one win away before inking the ultimate prediction, but some fans do take their team loyalty one step too far.

And with this Vine we’ll close out the 2014 NFL season. It was a wild ride the whole way through, with an ending that reminds us why we love football the way we do.

Any team can win on any given Sunday, so if you’re old enough to grow a beard you’re old enough to know better than to tattoo the game results prior to the clock ticking down to double zero.

 

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Michael Airhart

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