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NFL HONORS SNUBS: WINNERS AND LOSERS FROM THE BIG NIGHT

Which players and coaches didn’t get the recognition that they deserve?
Lamar Jackson won the Most Valuable Player award for the 2023 season.
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Lamar Jackson won the Most Valuable Player award for the 2023 season.

On Thursday, February 8th, Lamar Jackson won his 2nd MVP award. The annual NFL Honors also saw running back Christian McCaffery win Offensive Player of the Year. Here are all of the winners of NFL Honors for the 2023 NFL season:

  • Lamar Jackson – MVP
  • Christian McCaffrey – OPOY
  • Myles Garrett – DPOY
  • C.J. Stroud – OROY
  • Will Anderson Jr. – DROY
  • Kevin Stefanski – COY

These players were fantastic in their respective positions; but so were others. So what makes these players better than the others competing for these prestigious awards? In some cases, they may not be. The NFL Honors always recognize excellent players, but often overlook players who had just as good or even better seasons. This article will be looking at some of these players who were potentially snubbed of an NFL honor.

Offensive Player Of  Year (OPOY) snub: Tyreek Hill. Tyreek Hill had one of the greatest seasons for a wide receiver of all time. His astounding 1,799 receiving yards are the 7th most in NFL history. He averaged 105 yards per game this season, the most among wide receivers in the league. He had 15.1 yards per catch and 124 receptions. 

His season was simply spectacular and was one of the best of all time. His ability to create separation and his incredible catch radius make him the most effective deep threat and the best receiver in the NFL right now (though one could argue for CeeDee Lamb). Many thought that his historic season would earn him the Offensive Player Of the Year award, but the panel of 50 media members decided that the honor should go to McCaffery.

McCaffery had an excellent and historic season also. In almost any other year, Tyreek would have won OPOY, but apparently, McCaffery outshined him. There have been wide receivers that have had fewer receiving yards than Tyreek did and have won the OPOY award, such as Michael Thomas in 2019

Tyreek is the most obvious snub out of the finalists for Offensive Player of the Year, but CeeDee Lamb also had a spectacular year. With 144 receptions, CeeDee had the most in the league. He also finished 2nd in receiving yards for the season (with only 50 less than Tyreek) and finished 9th all-time for single-season receiving yards. Again, in almost any other year, this would lead to an OPOY victory.

Most Valuable Player Snub: Now, moving on to the most talked about snub for the Most Valuable Player award: Brock Purdy. Brock Purdy also had a spectacular second season with the San Francisco 49ers, finishing the season with the highest passer rating among QBs. He proved himself as more than just a game-manager and led his team to the 1 seed in the NFC. He has a 116.9 passer rating in the regular season, almost 10 points above the 2nd highest (Dak Prescott).

Purdy had 3761 passing yards in the regular season. He threw for 31 touchdown passes and only had 11 interceptions on the year. 4 of these interceptions came in one game though, against the Ravens on Christmas day. This was Purdy’s only “bad game”, unless the game against the Browns on October 15th is considered bad. 

Brock Purdy has stepped up to the role of quarterback with great success, but Lamar Jackson was able to steal away that MVP award from him. The deciding factor may have been when the two quarterbacks faced off in that Christmas game. Jackson played well, and Purdy didn’t. When faced with one of his biggest challenges of the year (the Ravens defense), Purdy started to look like a young quarterback with little experience. He has turned it around though, and has been playing very well. But the game against the Ravens is what most likely lost him the award.

Offensive Rookie Of the Year Snub: Moving on to the Offensive Rookie Of the Year snub: Puka Nacua.

Puka Nacua had the best rookie season for an NFL receiver ever.

He had the most rookie receiving yards in a season and 105 receptions, which is also an NFL record for a rookie. Nacua set record after record, accomplishing almost everything there is to accomplish (individually) as a rookie. 

It still wasn’t enough. C.J. Stroud also had a great rookie season. He (and DeMeco Ryans) turned the franchise around and made the Texans into a winning team. Previously, the Texans had only 11 wins in their last 3 seasons combined; Stroud was able to get 10 just in his first season. What C.J. managed to do with the Texans was impressive, but was it more impressive than re-writing the history books of the NFL?

Puka Nacua may be the biggest NFL honors snub of the 2023 NFL season, but then again, there would have been an uproar (specifically in Houston) if C.J. Stroud didn’t win. It was a lose-lose situation for the voting committee, but Puka Nacua deserves the award just as much as C.J. Stroud.

Coach Of the Year Snub: Moving away from players, who is the biggest snub for Coach Of the Year (COY)? The answer is certainly Dan Campbell. Dan Campbell is the definition of a players’ coach. As a former player, he knows what it’s like to be in the mind of a player, and can connect and coach players better because of it. He is one of the main reasons for the Lions’ success this year, and their journey to success last year. Campbell, like Stroud, was able to turn the franchise in the opposite direction. He turned the Lions into winners. 

Dan Campbell’s impact on the Lions organization cannot be overstated; he is willing to go to great lengths to help his players become successful. One of Campbell’s players, Frank Ragnow even said about Campbell, “He’s the best leader I’ve ever been around by far”. Campbell knows just how to motivate his players, and is one of the best coaches in the NFL.

Kevin Stefanski, the Browns coach, won the honor of Coach Of the Year. He also has turned his franchise around. He knows what it takes to be a leader also, and has extensive football knowledge. He is deserving of the award, but Dan Campbell may be more so. 

In the end, there were some players and a coach who may not have gotten the recognition they deserved, but they are sure to have success in the future. All of these honors snubs aren’t going away anytime soon and will hope to achieve the honors that they may have been robbed of earlier (except for Puka Nacua, as he’s only a rookie once). These “snubbed” players are still some of the NFL’s best, and the players (especially Nacua) will hope to earn those honors in the future.

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"Sports is life" -Sam