All season long, we’ve been giving you our award winners “if the season ended today.” Well, it ended two days ago, so here’s our official ballot. We’ve sent it to the AP, even though we’ve yet to hear if they’ve granted us a vote.
MVP: Aaron Rodgers, Packers – I’ve made this case dozens of times, so feel free to skip this part of you’re a regular reader. Rodgers quarterbacked a team to a 15-1 record and the top seed in the NFC despite the fact it had the worst defense in the NFL in terms of yardage allowed. He should be a unanimous MVP.
Offensive player of the year: Rodgers – And although Drew Brees accumulated better yardage numbers, Rodgers’ yard-per-attempt average was much higher (9.2 to 8.3) and he had a much better touchdown-to-interception ratio (45-to-6 to 46-to-14) and passer rating (122.5 to 110.6). That 122.5 number is the highest in NFL history. This isn’t much of a debate either.
Defensive player of the year: Justin Smith, 49ers – Numbers don’t do his season justice at all, which is often the case with three-tech linemen. That’s probably why Terrell Suggs will win this thing, which is fine, but no one impacted a defense like Smith did in San Francisco.
Offensive rookie of the year: Cam Newton, Panthers – Remember when this was a debate back in, like, October? Who would’ve guessed that Philip Rivers and Josh Freeman would throw more picks than Newton? Or that Michael Vick would have fewer passing yards? Or that Jay Cutler and Kevin Kolb would have lower completion percentages? Or that only four quarterbacks would score more touchdowns when you include rushing TDs? A rookie season for the ages.
Defensive rookie of the year: Aldon Smith, 49ers – He fell half a sack short of the rookie record, and Von Miller might have been more complete and consistent, but Smith still edges out Miller thanks to a 2.5-sack lead in that category. That said, I get the feeling Miller will win this in a close decision.
Comeback player of the year: Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks – Over 1,200 yards and 13 touchdowns. He exploded after struggling for much of the last three seasons. D’Qwell Jackson, Willis McGahee, Reggie Bush, Carlos Rogers and Alex Smith might get some votes, too.
Coach of the year: Jim Harbaugh, 49ers – Back in the playoffs for the first time since 2002, and they haven’t been seeded this high since 1997. I still can’t believe they finished 13-3 despite such low preseason expectations.
Executive of the year: Trent Baalke, 49ers – That’s because Baalke had us all fooled after they lost four defensive starters in free agency and failed to spend money to replace them with popular players. It seems like every move he made in the offseason paid off.
GLS All-Pro Team
QB: Aaron Rodgers, Packers — I think I explained myself in the awards section.
RB: LeSean McCoy, Eagles — Higher touchdown totals keep him ahead of Ray Rice.
FB: Vonta Leach, Ravens — Best fullback in the league for two years running.
WR: Calvin Johnson, Lions — No WR had more yards, more TDs or more first down catches.
WR: Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals — Fitzgerald edges out Wes Welker. Look at their circumstances.
TE: Jimmy Graham, Saints — It’s a toss-up between Graham and Rob Gronkowski.
LT: Jason Peters, Eagles — Deserves it for once.
LG: Evan Mathis, Eagles — Can’t believe two Eagles offensive linemen are on this team.
C: Nick Mangold, Jets — Did you see the Jets without Mangold?
RG: Marshal Yanda, Ravens — Mr. Versatility lived up to his big contract.
RT: Duane Brown, Texans — Represents arguably the best offensive line in football.
DE: Jared Allen, Vikings — Can’t deny 22 sacks.
DT: Justin Smith, 49ers — I think I explained myself in the awards section.
DT: Haloti Ngata, Ravens — Faded a bit down the stretch, but still the scariest run stuffer in football.
DE: Jason Pierre-Paul, Giants — He can do everything. Seriously, everything.
OLB: DeMarcus Ware, Cowboys — Can’t deny 19.5 sacks.
ILB: Patrick Willis, 49ers — Once again the best non-pass-rushing LB in the league.
ILB: Brian Cushing, Texans — Barely edges out NaVorro Bowman.
OLB: Terrell Suggs, Ravens — Made big play after big play. Fourteen sacks, 7 forced fumbles, 2 picks.
CB: Joe Haden, Browns — Can’t believe he didn’t make the Pro Bowl. Shut down pretty much everyone.
S: Troy Polamalu, Steelers — Same old, same old.
S: Eric Weddle, Chargers — Sudden ability to make picks made him the best safety in the league this year.
CB: Johnathan Joseph, Texans — Nice move, Rick Smith. Completely changed the Houston defense.
PK: Sebastian Janikowski, Raiders — Not even a debate. Clutch and more powerful than any kicker in football.
P: Andy Lee, 49ers — Best net average and overall average in football.
KR: Patrick Peterson, Cardinals — Four punt return scores, two in the extreme clutch.