January 28, 2023

National Football League mid-season awards

 Football fans, unfortunately, we are halfway through another great year of NFL football. Times fly throughout the season, and it’s crazy to think that we are past week ten and getting into the second half of the season. Now it’s a good time to reflect on the season. This year has been wild for NFL fans, with underdog teams rising to prominence, players returning from significant injuries to find success this year, and new teams emerging as conference contenders. Much is happening and now it’s time to give out some mid-season awards. Who is the favorite to win Comeback Player of the Year, Coach of the Year, and MVP?

Comeback Player of the Year is a tough one to decide. You could go in a lot of different directions with this award. You could go to Geno Smith, who, after years of being a backup quarterback, has the Seattle Seahawks fighting for the division while putting up terrific numbers. However, the Comeback Player of the Year award is given to players who suffered significant season-ending injuries and returned the following season, while still performing at a high level.

This award goes to Saqoun Barkley: a beast of a running back with 931 yards rushing and six touchdowns on the season while averaging 4.7 yards per carry. Barkley has led the Giants to their first winning record midway through the season since 2016. Saquon’s story is unique, considering what the man has been through. 

Barkley tore his ACL in September 2020, sidelining him for the rest of the season. Then in 2021, Barkley was out for most of the season with an ankle injury. Critics thought Barkley wouldn’t be able to stay healthy for the 2022 season, but if he is, he is a unique talent who belongs on the field. So far this season, Barkley has been healthy and has proven his talent by leading the Giants to a 6-2 record while serving as the offense’s focal point. Barkley’s season has brought the city the most excitement in over five years and deserves to take this award home.

Coach of the Year is a tough one to decide. While Mike Verbal, Pete Carrol, Arthur Smith, Brian Daboll and Kevin O’Connell all deserve credit for their teams’ performances thus far, Nick Sirianni of the Philadelphia Eagles takes home this award. 

Sirianni and the Eagles are the hottest team in the NFL right now, with an 8-0 record to begin the season. The Coach of the Year award is usually given to the team which has made the most progress from the previous season or has the best record in the league. The Eagles have done both after a lackluster performance in last year’s playoffs. According to ESPN, the Eagle’s offense ranks third in the league, averaging 28 points per game. Philadelphia also benefits from one of the league’s easiest schedules, and since the team is already 8-0 this could be a huge season for the Philadelphia Eagles. Sirianni’s offense looks electric in the electric city, and the Coach of the Year is his to win if the team can stay healthy and take care of their opponents. The Most Valuable Player award is the league’s most coveted award. This award is usually given to a quarterback who has elevated the team into becoming Super Bowl contenders while putting up impressive numbers along the way. This season we’ve seen a new quarterback hierarchy within the NFL. 

For years, Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers were forever considered as top five quarterbacks in the league. Now, both are struggling to keep their teams in the playoffs, and the Packers might even sideline Rodgers to see what Utah State alum and third-year quarterback Jordan Love has to offer. 

This season is different, but three quarterbacks stand out as the favorites to win the award Josh Allen, Jalen Hurts and Patrick Mahomes. All three have fantastic years, and each has made their team into contention as early super bowl favorites. This award could be either of the three, but Mahomes takes the award so far. 

Mahomes leads the league in yards and passing touchdowns while having a 66% completion percentage so far this season. He has the Chiefs second in the American conference with a 7-2 record. He has done all this without superstar receiver Tyreek Hill who was traded away to Miami this past offseason. 

Mahomes, Allen and Hurts have all been remarkable this year. However, Allen already has eight interceptions this year. Hurts, on the other hand, could sneak away the award if the Eagles can finish with an incredible record, and considering their schedule, it’s possible. For now, the MVP belongs to the quarterback who has the best stats while leading the team to an impressive 7-2 record, and that QB is Mahomes. 

Being at the midway point is sad for fans. However, there are still 8 weeks of exciting NFL football this year. This is, after all, only the mid-season awards, and there is still time to decide who wins these individual awards. My mid-season winners of these awards face competition, and given how unpredictable the year has been for many teams, each award is still up for grabs. Expect the unexpected this year in the NFL football fan. 

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