From blunders to wonders: the 2022-23 NFL end-of-season awards

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The weeks starring up to nan Super Bowl person ever marked nan cleanable clip to look backmost astatine nan play that was. So pinch nan last crippled of nan NFL play accelerated approaching, it’s clip to manus retired a fewer highly unofficial awards to deserving candidates. These awards are based connected what happened successful nan regular play alone; nan postseason has already wished its winners and losers successful a acold little subjective manner.


Patrick Mahomes, QB, Kansas City Chiefs. Of people nan MVP is going to beryllium a backmost – that’s conscionable nan reality of nan modern NFL. With that successful mind, we person to manus it to Mahomes, who led nan league successful passing yards (5,250) and passing touchdowns (41). Again, this is conscionable successful nan regular season, truthful we’re not moreover including nan truth that he conscionable carried nan Chiefs to nan Super Bowl on 1 leg. Now, had nan Philadelphia Eagles’ Jalen Hurts not missed 2 games down nan agelong owed to injury, he whitethorn person put together a stronger situation to Mahomes, who started each 17 contests.


Russell Wilson, QB, Denver Broncos. This is little astir Wilson’s on-field performance, though that was bad enough, and much astir nan truth that nan Broncos mortgaged their early to bring him into nan fold. First, they traded a package including 2 first-round picks to nan Seattle Seahawks for his services and past signed him to a five-year, $242m contract ($161m guaranteed) that will hamper their spending for years to come.

The Broncos hoped that upgrading astatine backmost would output instant benefits. Instead, Wilson put together the worst twelvemonth of his career and nan Broncos went 5-12. This week nan Broncos burned different draught prime (which they had gained by trading Bradley Chubb to nan Miami Dolphins) successful bid hire caput coach Sean Payton successful nan hopeless dream that he tin hole Wilson.

Offensive Player of nan Year

Justin Jefferson, WR, Minnesota Vikings. This grant is fundamentally group speech for “best violative subordinate who is not a quarterback” owed to QBs’ monopoly of nan MVP award. So, going on pinch tradition, this feels for illustration a due class to grant Jefferson aft a play successful which he led nan convention in receiving yards (1,809) and receptions (128). He moreover collapsed nan single-season Vikings grounds erstwhile held by Randy Moss 2 weeks earlier nan extremity of nan season, conscionable to debar immoderate asterisk talk fixed nan expanded 17-game schedule.

Defensive Player of nan Year

Nick Bosa, DE, San Francisco 49ers. OK, yes, it’s easy to prime nan champion subordinate connected nan league’s champion defense. Still, Bosa isn’t conscionable present arsenic a stand-in for his teammates, he had his stock of individual accomplishments to observe this season. Bosa led nan convention successful sacks pinch 18.5 and notched 51 tackles (41 of them solo efforts).

Coach of nan Year

Doug Pederson and Trevor Lawrence helped nan Jaguars to nan playoffs this season
Doug Pederson and Trevor Lawrence helped nan Jaguars to nan playoffs this season. Photograph: Mark J Rebilas/USA Today Sports

Doug Pederson, Jacksonville Jaguars. One suspects that nan Jaguars would person improved this play moreover if each Pederson did was “not beryllium Urban Meyer.” However, cipher expected Pederson to move nan squad pinch nan worst grounds successful nan convention past play into a morganatic playoff contender successful 2022. Yes, a batch of that is because Trevor Lawrence took a second-year leap, but Pederson deserves plaudits for putting his young backmost successful a position to succeed.

Speaking of coaches getting nan champion from their signal-callers, let’s springiness nan 49ers’ Kyle Shanahan immoderate emotion arsenic a runner-up. Shanahan deserves a badge simply for guiding a squad that went done 3 starting quarterbacks to a 13-4 regular-season record. It’s a grounds to his activity that it ne'er moreover felt arsenic if nan 49ers were undergoing adversity until they ran retired of QBs successful their postseason nonaccomplishment to nan Eagles.

Comeback Player of nan Year

Geno Smith, QB, Seattle Seahawks. You didn’t deliberation Smith had this benignant of twelvemonth successful him either, did you? After his tumultuous clip pinch nan New York Jets ended pinch an ACL injury, Smith bounced from nan New York Giants to nan Los Angeles Chargers earlier landing pinch nan Seahawks. Smith won nan starting occupation successful Seattle aft nan squad traded Wilson to nan Broncos, but cipher thought overmuch of it astatine nan time.

Then Seattle, for illustration Jacksonville, went 9-8 and earned a playoff appearance. Smith was location for each of it: he played every violative snap while compiling an awesome 69.8% completion percentage. It’s adjacent to opportunity that Smith will beryllium sticking astir nan convention for a small while longer.

Defensive Rookie of nan Year

Sauce Gardner, CB, New York Jets. More than a man pinch an undeniably cool nickname, Gardner showed himself to beryllium a gamechanger correct retired of nan gross arsenic a cardinal portion of nan Jets’ impressive protect turnaround. In his first twelvemonth successful nan NFL, Gardner had 75 tackles and 20 passes defended, playing for illustration a man who had been successful nan convention for years.

Offensive rookie of nan year

Brock Purdy, QB, San Francisco 49ers. Purdy’s candidacy is based connected whether nan 5-0 tally he went connected to prevention nan Niners’ play aft Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo were injured is simply a nosy capable communicative to dress up for nan truth that this is simply a alternatively mini sample size to reward. This writer is erring connected nan heartwarming broadside of nan Purdy narrative, but if you want to reason that nan grant should spell to New York Jets wide receiver Garrett Wilson (1,103 receiving yards successful his rookie season) instead, location is simply a very coagulated lawsuit successful his favor.

Off-field blunder of nan year

The Indianapolis Colts hiring Jeff Saturday arsenic interim caput coach. Sometimes, it’s not conscionable hindsight that’s 20/20. When reports first emerged that nan Colts were going to fto personification pinch nary important coaching acquisition lead nan team, just astir everybody said that it would beryllium a disaster. And conscionable astir everybody was right.

How bad was it? Not only did nan Colts spell 1-7 nether Saturday, that tally included a crippled against nan Minnesota Vikings successful which his squad group an NFL grounds for nan largest blown lead (that would beryllium 33 points). Somehow this was capable to guarantee that Saturday’s sanction remained successful nan operation for nan occupation adjacent season, though Colts fans are circulating an online petition urging nan squad not to rehire him.

On-field blunder of nan year

There were a batch of memorable endings to games this season, but thing rather for illustration what happened betwixt nan New England Patriots and nan Las Vegas Raiders. Instead of playing conservatively and hoping to triumph successful overtime, nan Patriots discourtesy improvised a last play consisting wholly of ill-advised decisions that resulted successful a game-losing turnover.

It wasn’t conscionable a profoundly silly measurement to suffer a ballgame. It confirmed that Bill Belichick’s Pats person agelong lost their aerial of invulnerability. In a wider sense, it was yet different reminder that nan NFL ever fulfils its committedness to show you things you’ve ne'er seen before.

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