The NFL’s Best

 The NFL season came to an end, and the NFL has awarded its most impactful players this year with their respective awards. The idea is to bring recognition to those special players who made their names known in an impactful way this season. First up is MVP, for the majority of the season it was a tight race between Josh Allen, Patrick Mahomes, Jalen Hurts, Joe Burrow, Justin Jefferson, and Nick Bosa. Tua Tagoviloa was in the race during the early and midseason, however, after his two concussions, he was for all intents and purposes eliminated from conversation. By the end of the season, the only two players who remained were Jalen Hurts the QB for the Eagles, and Patrick Mahomes the QB for the Chiefs. Mahomes was named league MVP the day before the Superbowl and was subsequently crowned Super Bowl MVP on top of that upon the conclusion of their Superbowl win. Mahomes is now the first player in NFL history to win multiple MVPs and Superbowls in his first six seasons. 

Next OPOY (Offensive Player of the Year). This one wasn’t much of a contest, and a given, halfway through the season; Justin Jefferson, a WR for the Vikings, claims this award. Touting 128 receptions, and an 1809-yard season, he becomes just one of now seven players to ever surpass 1800 receiving yards in a single season. He also is responsible for the best catch of the season, a one-handed catch to convert a fourth and eighteen in a comeback win against the Bills. Jefferson beat multiple Viking team records which he now comfortably holds in just his second season in the league. 

On the other side of the ball, we have DPOY (Defensive Player of the Year). Nick Bosa, who has been arguably one of the best defensive players in the last few years and has been constantly in the conversation for DPOY, was finally recognized this year after having another statement season tallying a league and career high with 18.5 sacks through the season along with 51 tackles, two forced fumbles and the third most QB pressures with 58. Bosa led the 49ers on the defensive side of the ball, alongside Fred Warner, to the NFC Championship game where they fell short to the Eagles.

OROY (Offensive Rookie of the Year) Garret Wilson, the New York Jet’s tenth overall pick in the 2022 draft, brings home this award to begin what appears to be a prosperous career to come. Wilson finished the season with 83 receptions and became the first Jets rookie, and the 23rd rookie in history to have a 1000-yard season in their rookie year (1103 yards). He did all of that while being a sub-par Jets offense with bad QB play throughout the majority of the season. He led all rookies in receptions and yards showing why he, like Jefferson, could be the future of the league and the next generation of all-time great WRs. 

DROY (Defensive Rookie of the Year) is Sauce Gardner, another Jet, this time on the other side of the ball from Garret Wilson. Gardner had three goals for his rookie season, all of which he accomplished. He wanted to be a first-team All-Pro, make the Pro Bowl, and win DROY. Gardner outperformed almost every veteran at his position; he was an airtight corner from week 1. His stats for the year read as two interceptions, a league-high 20 passes defended, and less than a 50% completion percentage allowed (48.1%). Gardner showed why he is going to be one of the most dominant defensive players for years to come. With a statement year that put the entire league on notice, it’s clear he is not someone you want your QB to throw towards. 

CPOY (Comeback Player of the Year) when the Seahawks traded Russell Wilson to the Broncos over the offseason, many questioned who would fill in under center for the Hawks. The answer was provided soon after when Geno Smith, who had been a backup for the seven seasons prior, stepped in to fill the role. After he beat Drew Lock out of the job, he was named the starter and was quoted saying, “They wrote me off, but I didn’t write back.” He was one of the more consistent QBs this season and showed why he can still play at a competitive level in today’s league. Geno led the league in completion rate and beat Wilson’s franchise records for completions in a season with 399, yards (4282) and a completion rate of 69.8%. Despite this, he has yet to sign a new contract with the Hawks as he’s slated to become a free agent in March. 

This one is not a player but instead, a coach, Brian Daboll, the New York Giants’ first-year head coach. He joins the team after a stint with the Buffalo Bills, he chose to go to a fellow New York team where he did a complete overhaul of the team’s mentality and lead them to the best season they’ve had since 2016. The Giants finished 9-7-1, 1.5 games above 500. The Giants eked out a playoff spot and a win against the Minnesota Vikings before falling short to the Eagles, a division rival. Daboll has single-handedly managed to revive the Giants’ franchise and give its fans hope that they will again make a playoff appearance in the 2023 season.

With those awards, the final act in the 2022 season has come to an end, and we are onto the offseason awaiting the draft to reignite the spark for the 2023 season. A season full of broken records, surprises, new standout rookies, and upsets has ended. We must now wait until September 7th to see which players are going to begin making their case for these awards.

Justin Vincent, Staff Writer

Senior Justin Vincent is a staff writer for the 2022-2023 Colonel Newsmagazine. He enjoys watching football, playing soccer, movies, and dogs.

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