JOSHUA KABAT – As the saying goes, “All good things must come to an end”. Yet, football for me is the only sport that I miss from the last play of the Super Bowl till the NFL Draft, till training camp opens, till ultimately the NFL regular season starts again. From Drew Brees breaking the record for most consecutive games with a TD pass to Calvin Johnson breaking the record for most receiving yards in a single season, this NFL season was indeed exciting. So, it is time to award the Most Valuable Player and Comeback Player of the Year awards for 2012. I have lumped these 2 awards in the same article because of the 3 players I have considered; only Tom Brady is not a consideration for Comeback player of the year.
Peyton Manning, QB – Denver Broncos. The Numbers: 68% completion percentage (2nd in NFL) for 4,659 yards (6th in NFL) with 37 touchdowns (3rd in NFL) vs. 11 interceptions. Peyton finished with a QB rating of 105.8 (2nd in NFL). That is pretty good for a man that has had 4 surgeries on his neck and missed the entire 2011 season. When the Colts decided not to give Manning a long term contract, he became the most sought after free-agent in NFL history. He landed in Denver and as soon as he arrived, you never heard Tebow’s name again! Nevertheless, Peyton led his new team to the division crown by ending the season with an 11 game win streak, good enough for a #1 seed in the AFC playoffs.
Adrian Petersen, RB – Minnesota Vikings. The Numbers: 348 rushing attempts for 2,097 yards (1st in NFL) with 12 touchdowns. Adrian Petersen is the best running back in the NFL. He proved that on the 1 year anniversary of his injury (tearing his ACL & MCL), against the Green Bay Packers in the finale by rushing for 199 yards. With that output he became the 7th player to run for over 2,000 yards in a single season, 9 yards short of the record (Eric Dickerson – 2,105). Pretty impressive since no one thought he would be ready to play this season, let alone all of it! He had 1,019 yards after contact and tied Earl Campbell for the most games with 150+ rushing yards in a season with 7. He single handedly lead his team to a 10-6 record and a berth into the playoffs as a wildcard team in the NFC.
Tom Brady, QB – New England Patriots. The Numbers: 63% completion percentage for 4,827 yards (4th in NFL) and 34 touchdowns (4th in NFL) vs. only 8 interceptions. Add another 4 rushing TD’s and Tom finished with a QB rating of 89.7 (6th in NFL). It was just another great season for Tom Terrific. The general on this team led the Patriots to an NFL average 34.8 points per game, tops by a touchdown (not including the extra point) over the Saints. Does not matter who is on the field with him, he will find you. He threw more passes this year (637) than any other year in his career. He shows no sign of decline either, leading the Patriots to another AFC East title and the #2 seed in the AFC playoffs.
To me this was a no-brainer. The TACD NFL MVP and Comeback player of the year is Adrian Petersen. In a league that is pass happy, rushing for 9 yards short of a record is the most impressive season by a RB I have ever seen. Adrian was the only weapon on his team and opposing defenses routinely put 8 in the box to stop him. Didn’t work because he still averaged 6 yards a rush!
Bottom line: Adrian Petersen took his team on his back and took them from the 3rd worst team in the NFL last season to the playoffs this year.