With the NFL season at the halfway point, here is a look at some midseason awards.
Peyton Manning – Indianapolis Colts
This is a tough call between Manning and Drew Brees, but having led his team to an 8-0 record under rookie head coach Jim Caldwell, Peyton has shown the leadership needed to be named league MVP. Manning has an outstanding 70.6 completion percentage, 16 touchdowns and a 105.2 quarterback rating.
Drew Brees – New Orleans Saints
As the leader of one of the most prolific scoring offenses in NFL history, Brees gets the nod here. He is tied for the league lead in passing touchdowns with 17, and has the best quarterback rating at 106.1.
Jared Allen – Minnesota Vikings
Allen is tied for the league lead with 10.5 sacks in addition to 3 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries, and 1 defensive touchdown. Who can forget his two games against the hated Green Bay Packers where he tallied 12 tackles, 7.5 sacks, 1 forced fumble, and a safety.
Offensive Rookie of the Year:
Percy Harvin – Minnesota Vikings
Harvin has electrified Minnesota’s offense, and most noticeably their special teams. He has transitioned well from his WR/RB position with the Florida Gators to one of Brett Favre’s favorite targets. He has totaled 369 yards and 3 touchdowns receiving, and 860 yards and 2 touchdowns returning kicks. He is having a rookie season similar to that of Devin Hester except he can be relied on in the teams passing game in addition to returning kicks.
Defensive Rookie of the Year:
Brian Cushing – Houston Texans
Overshadowed by Rey Maualuga for his entire career at USC, Cushing has shown the most promise up to this point in the season. He leads all rookies with 78 tackles, and has also accumulated 1.5 sacks, 2 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles, and one safety. He is a main contributor to the Houston Texans who are no longer sitting at the bottom of the AFC South.
Coach of the Year:
Marvin Lewis – Cincinnati Bengals
Who would have thought that at the halfway point in the season the Cincinnati Bengals would be sitting at the top of the AFC North, ahead of the Steelers and Ravens? Lewis was left for dead with this team but has shown great resolve thus far and is leading them to their first playoff birth since 2005. And let’s not forget his management of personalities like Chad Ochocinco.
Carson Palmer – Cincinnati Bengals
A year removed from only playing in 4 games due to injuries, Palmer has the Bengals in first place in the AFC North and ranks towards the top of the league in all statistical categories for quarterbacks. If he can lead Cincinnati to the playoffs, there is no doubt that he should be a candidate for MVP.
New Orleans Saints
I don’t think there is a scarier team in the NFL right now. Week after week, the Saints have shown that they can score points with no difficulty. Not only do you need to prepare for their offense, New Orleans now has a defense to be reckoned with led by veteran Darren Sharper. If this team clinches home field advantage throughout the playoffs, it will be an uphill fight for any team as they will go against the toughest “12th man” in the league.