OFFENSIVE MVP: Shaun Alexander, Seahawks. If the Seahawks hadn't wrapped up the NFC's home field advantage...Alexander may have realistically reached 30 TDs [he has 27] and 2,000 scrimmage yards [he has 1,885]. When Seattle has a 3rd-and-1....run Shaun...he's gotten that yard 14 out of 14 times. He's tied the NFL record for TDs and has carried Seattle to the top of the NFC.
COACH OF THE YEAR: Lovie Smith, Bears. Usually, this award goes to the coach of a team that stunk last year that surprisingly has success the next year. That's Chicago...and Lovie Smith. Chicago had one of the worst records this year...and lost their starting QB in preseason and had to deal with the holdout of their first round pick. However, he took another rookie, QB Kyle Orton, and Thomas Jones to run [not greatly] the offense. But the team won with the defense...which has been #1 in the NFL most of the year...and Smith is from a defensive background. Take that with the fact that Chicago started out 1-3....then won 10 of their next 11 games.
DEFENSIVE MVP. Brian Urlacher, Bears. Sometimes a quarterback wins the MVP due to the successes of the entire offense. Well, Urlacher has QB'd the best defense in the NFL.
OFFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Cadillac Williams, Buccaneers. Sure, his numbers have calmed down from his blistering start....but he is still very impressive and still has better stats than any other rookie back. And Tampa may end up winning the NFC South on his back.
DEFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR. Shawne Merriman, Chargers. What a year for rookie linebackers....and what a year Merriman has had! Nine sacks to become the San Diego pash rusher that disrupts the timing of offenses which makes the entire defense better....ahhh...he's a great player!
QUARTERBACK OF THE YEAR: Peyton Manning, Colts. Yeah, he had a tough start...but he still produced great stats for a team who's culture changed from last year. They are more of a running team that plays great defense. And what other QB has the control of his offense like Manning??
RUNNING BACK OF THE YEAR: Shaun Alexander, Seahawks
RECEIVER OF THE YEAR: Steve Smith, Panthers. He leads the NFL in receiving yards....4th in receptions and 2nd in TD catches. He has pretty much BEEN the Panthers passing attack.
TIGHT END OF THE YEAR: Antonio Gates, Chargers. Dude is near the top in yards and TDs and is the best cog in the Bolts passing game.
OFFENSIVE LINEMAN OF THE YEAR: Willie Roaf, Chiefs. Dude anchors a line that let Priest Holmes go off....THEN Larry Johnson go off.
DEFENSIVE LINEMAN OF THE YEAR: Osi Umenyiora, Giants. He is 2nd in the NFL in sacks, yet is still doing great against the run.
LINEBACKER OF THE YEAR: Brian Urlacher, Bears
DEFENSIVE BACK OF THE YEAR: Deltha O'Neal, Bengals. I want to put Darren Sharper here...but if it wasn't for what O'Neal has been doing, Cincy's defense wouldn't be what it is...and that's still an average defense. But they are one of the best in the league in takeaways.
KICKER OF THE YEAR: Neil Rackers, Cardinals. Hey, he benefits from an offense that sucks in the red zone.
BIGGEST SURPRISE: Chicago Bears. Yeah, I thought they'd be worse than last year.
BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT: Philadelphia Eagles. This team essentially had everyone's red carpet rolled out to Super Bowl XL. They were eliminated weeks ago.
More to come...