Salem, OR — In an often-frustrating, injury-riddled season, we were still blessed with great players and great plays. We ended up with spectacular drama at the end of the season, when Jay Cutler unexpectedly became a blessed idol in Music City by throwing the Tennessee Titans into the playoffs from 910 miles away. The delightful return of the long-suffering Titans into the postseason came at the expense of the Buffalo Bills, who had a shot of making the playoffs heading into the day, and needed two things to go their way. Only one went their way, Titans lost, but the Bills didn’t.
So, with that said let’s get right into the first ever 2K OLF Honors recipients. The following awards are for the players and coach of the year.
LEAGUE MVP: Brandon Graham
Philadelphia Eagles LE Brandon Graham gets this years MVP award. Graham had 54 tackles for the Eagles, 3 forced fumbles and tied Ndamukong Suh‘s league record of 25 sacks in a season. Graham’s outstanding play helped the Eagles win the NFC East for the first time in nine seasons.
COACH OF THE YEAR: Max Farias
The Oakland Raiders motto has been “Commitment to excellence” and that is exactly what their veteran coach Max Farias has delivered. Now in his 9th season as head coach, Farias has been one of the most dominant coaches in the league. This season was no exception. For a second straight season coach Farias got his team into a playoff bye with a record of 13-3. Which is more impressive when you consider the many injuries his team suffered, like the loss of star OLB Aldon Smith for the season or losing both his starting quarterback Derek Carr and running back Marshawn Lynch. Farias was able to get every player on his team to step up when needed the most, which is why he is this season’s coach of the year.
AFC OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Tom Brady
It should come as no surprise who gets this award. Tom Brady may not have had the yards we’re used to seeing from him, but this award isn’t just based on yards. The 40 year old Brady led his team to another AFC East title, got them a first round bye and was clutch in many of the 13 wins his New England Patriots had this season. Brady had 26 touchdowns, threw just 5 interceptions, finished 14th in passing yards with 2,993 and a quarterback rating of 140.5.
AFC DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Khalil Mack
Oakland Raiders LOLB Khalil Mack had an outstanding season for his team. He lead the team in sacks with 16, was also first in forced fumbles with 3, had two interceptions, scored a touchdown and finished second on the team in tackles with 39. Thanks to Mack’s standout season the Raiders were able to win the AFC West for a third straight season.
AFC OFFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Deshaun Watson
Houston Texans QB Deshaun Watson gets the offensive rookie of the year award for his outstanding first season play. Watson had 17 touchdowns, 16 interceptions, threw for 3,298 yards and finished with a quarterback rating of 74.4. Watson led all rookie quarterbacks in passes attempted with 499 and passes completed, 280. Watson’s career is just getting started, expect him to continue to climb up as he gains more experience next season.
AFC DEFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Tyus Bowser
After finishing 8-8 last season and missing the playoffs for a second straight year, the Baltimore Ravens knew they had to get help starting on defense. That help came in the form of second round pick Tyus Bowser. Bowser played in all 16 games for the Ravens this season, finished 4th in tackles(54), 3rd in passes defended(7) and had 6 and a half sacks, third best in the team. With his help the Ravens finished first in the AFC North with a record of 10-6 and are back in the playoffs for the first time since season 7.
NFC OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Matthew Stafford
Of the top three quarterbacks in the league this season Matthew Stafford had the best all around season. He had threw 28 touchdowns, second only to Matt Ryan(31), of all the starting QB’s he had the least amount of interceptions with just 3, he was third in passing yards with 3,349 and of the top five quarterbacks in the league he had the best quarterback rating this season 117.9.
NFC DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Brandon Graham
No surprise here. Graham MVP award was earned as he also earned the NFC defensive player of the year award. He is the first player in league history to earn both awards.
NFC OFFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Mitchell Trubisky
The Chicago Bears didn’t have much to celebrate this season, not when you finish with a record of 4-12 and have the most injuries of any team in the league. But, through all that there was a bright spot, their rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. Trubisky had 16 touchdowns, 21 interceptions a quarterback rating of 79.5 and finished with 2,989 passing yards, second to the AFC’s OROY. Trubisky finished the season 3-0 before suffering a dislocated elbow in the second to last game of the season. He should be ready to go next season and if those three games are any indication, Bears fans should be looking forward to his upcoming second season.
NFC DEFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Jarrad Davis
After finishing 5-11 last season and 8-8 the previous season, the Detroit Lions finally got back to the playoffs this year. A big part of that success came thanks to their star defensive rookie Jarrad Davis. Davis was second in the team in tackles with 71, he had 2 sacks, 2 interceptions and led the team in pass deflections with 16.
So that’s it for the players and coach of the year honors. Comeback again during the divisional round to checkout the 2K OLF Honors: Best Awards, where we’ll hand out the award for the best players in their respective category; Best QB, Best RB, Best WR….etc.