2013 Football Outsiders Awards
comments by Aaron Schatz
Welcome to the results of the 11th annual Football Outsiders Awards -- the best and worst players of the year, as voted on by you, our readers. For those curious about the FO Award winners in past years, you will find links to each of the previous FO Awards articles on this page.
Who is your choice as Offensive MVP for 2013? (Last year's winner: Adrian Peterson)
|76.4% Peyton Manning
11.2% Philip Rivers
3.3% Jamaal Charles
3.3% LeSean McCoy
2.2% Josh Gordon
1.6% Russell Wilson
1.4% Drew Brees
0.6% Calvin Johnson
Yeah, not a hard one this year. This is where I get to comment on the fact that Sirius/XM analyst and former Bears quarterback Jim Miller voted for Tom Brady instead of Manning, which is why Manning did not win the AP's award unanimously. Jim Miller is nuts. Yes, Manning has much better receiving weapons than Brady right now. The Patriots happen to have a better offensive line than the Broncos, except at right guard. And while it is true that the Broncos had a better defense than the Patriots, it wasn't that much better, especially over the course of the entire year, because a lot of people forget how good the Patriots' defense was early before everyone got injured. Better than Josh Miller voting for Brady is the fact that Tom Curran got talked out of voting for Brady... by Brady himself, who told him to vote for Manning.
Or, if you want someone who really dragged his team into the playoffs despite a terrible defense, you could have been like 11.2 percent of FO readers and voted for Philip Rivers.
Who is your choice as Defensive MVP for 2013? (Last year's winner: J.J. Watt)
|24.0% Luke Kuechly
21.9% Earl Thomas
12.1% J.J. Watt
11.3% Robert Mathis
10.0% NaVorro Bowman
|9.9% Robert Quinn
4.6% Lavonte David
2.2% Patrick Peterson
2.1% Justin Houston
1.9% Vontaze Burfict
In a year filled with strong Defensive MVP candidates, the FO readers went with the AP, which named Kuechly as Defensive Player of the Year, instead of the PFWA, which named Robert Quinn. Earl Thomas finished second; as a reminder, we did an informal poll a couple weeks ago to decide on nominating only Thomas or Richard Sherman, not both, so as to not split votes from Seahawks fans or people who just wanted to vote for someone from the Seahawks' historically strong defense. J.J. Watt was third, which shows that FO readers are smart; he was really good this year, despite not getting anywhere near the press he got last year because his teammates -- especially the offensive ones -- were awful. I was a bit surprised to see Lavonte David and his 49 Defeats (second only to Watt's record-setting 2012) finish seventh. But like I said, great year for strong Defensive MVP candidates.
Who is your choice as NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year for 2013? (Last year's winner: Russell Wilson)
|65.6% Keenan Allen
16.9% Eddie Lacy
5.7% Giovani Bernard
|5.0% Kyle Long
4.1% Larry Warford
2.7% Mike Glennon
Highest receiving DYAR by a rookie wide receiver, 1989-2013:
Randy Moss, 1998 MIN: 428 DYAR
Michael Clayton, 2004 TB: 389 DYAR
Keenan Allen, 2013 SD: 342 DYAR
A.J. Green, 2011 CIN: 288 DYAR
Lee Evans, 2004 BUF: 284 DYAR
Marques Colston, 2006 NO: 258 DYAR
Who is your choice as NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year for 2013? (Last year's winner: Bobby Wagner)
|36.0% Sheldon Richardson
18.3% Kiko Alonso
14.5% Star Lotulelei
13.9% Tyrann Mathieu
|7.1% Eric Reid
4.5% Kenny Vaccaro
3.1% Desmond Trufant
2.6% Alec Ogletree
Just like it was a good year for Defensive MVP candidates, it was also a good year for Defensive Rookie of the Year candidates. In fact, it was really a great year for standout defensive performances overall, which is a bit strange since offensive levels have never been higher. Maybe the better defenders just stand out more because defense as a whole seems so historically mediocre.
Who was the best offensive lineman of 2013? (open question, two votes per ballot, top 14 listed) (Last year's winner: Joe Staley)
|16.1% Joe Thomas
10.1% Louis Vasquez
8.9% Evan Mathis
8.0% Joe Staley
7.6% Tyron Smith
5.9% Logan Mankins
4.9% Jason Peters
|3.6% Andrew Whitworth
2.5% Mike Iupati
2.5% Trent Williams
2.3% Branden Albert
2.1% D.J. Fluker
2.1% Ryan Kalil
2.1% Josh Sitton
Getting out of San Diego really raised Vasquez's profile, as he wasn't among our top 14 votegetters a year ago and finishes second this year. Tyron Smith definitely had a breakout year for the Cowboys and is definitely in the conversation as the best left tackle in the league. I have to admit to being surprised to see D.J. Fluker get enough votes to be listed here, more than more established players such as Jahri Evans and Nate Solder and more than the two best rookie linemen this year, Kyle Long and Larry Warford. Honestly, Fluker isn't even the best player on his own line. Nick Hardwick is.
Who is your choice for NFL Coach of the Year in 2013? (Last year's winner: Jim Harbaugh)
|23.7% Bill Belichick
16.0% Chip Kelly
16.0% Andy Reid
13.2% Ron Rivera
10.5% Mike McCoy
|10.0% Pete Carroll
8.6% Bruce Arians
0.8% Jim Harbaugh
0.6% Sean Payton
0.5% John Fox
Surprise! This result really stunned me, but a lot of FO readers seem to value holding a team together despite numerous injuries (and one murder arrest) over improving a team in your first year as head coach. I honestly thought Ron Rivera would be chosen by our readers, since he got religion on fourth downs this season. I even went to check if this was some sort of ballot-box stuffing by Patriots fans who voted for a lot of other various Patriots players, but it wasn't. The next award is an example of that.
Who is your choice for the Bill Arnsparger Award for Coordinator of the Year in 2013? (Last year's winner: Greg Roman)
|27.7% Ken Whisenhunt, SD offense
19.1% Dan Quinn, SEA defense
12.2% Todd Bowles, ARI defense
10.0% Mike Zimmer, CIN defense
7.2% Adam Gase, DEN offense
|6.8% Mike Pettine, BUF defense
6.2% Sean McDermott, CAR defense
4.3% Dave Toub, KC special teams
3.5% Aaron Kromer, CHI offense
3.0% Josh McDaniels, NE offense
Whisenhunt did an excellent job getting the huge comeback year from Philip Rivers and coaxing a strong performance out of a somewhat makeshift offensive line. Whisenhunt, Zimmer, and Pettine were all hired for head coaching jobs after the season.
Who is your choice for the Keep Choppin' Wood Award for 2013 (player who most hurt his team, on or off the field)? (Last year's winner: Mark Sanchez)
|44.4% Richie Incognito
21.4% Trent Richardson
14.3% Matt Schaub
|10.0% Derek Cox
8.6% Brandon Weeden
1.5% other candidates
Incognito hurt his team off the field, and then hurt his team on the field because he had to come off the field. The Miami offensive line was a mess this year, and it wasn't a help when they lost their longtime starting guard. Incognito takes the KCW Award from Trent Richardson, who played badly for not one but two teams.
Who is your choice for the Keep Choppin' Game Film Award for the worst coach of 2013? (Last year's winner: Tony Sparano)
|34.8% Greg Schiano, TB head coach
24.0% Mike Shanahan, WAS head coach
20.8% Monte Kiffin, DAL defensive coordinator
|9.1% Jim Caldwell, BAL offense
8.3% Greg Kubiak, HOU head coach
3.0% Mel Tucker, CHI defense
Just remember, Ron Rivera was one of the candidates for this award last year. So was Todd Bowles, who ran the Arizona defense that ranked second in DVOA this season. So you too can turn things around, Greg Schiano! But I don't think you will.
Who is your choice for the Art Rooney Jr. Award for Executive(s) of the Year? (Last year's winner: John Schneider)
|49.2% John Schneider, SEA
23.8% John Elway, DEN
9.5% John Dorsey, KC
|8.4% Steve Keim, ARI
5.0% Howie Roseman, PHI
4.2% Trent Baalke, SF
2013 was the second straight season that Seattle led the league in DVOA with Denver second, and it is also the second straight season where FO readers gave the Art Rooney Jr. Award to John Schneider with John Elway finishing second. I trust that Elway will eventually win this award, but he probably has to hire Terrell Davis as assistant general manager first. Speaking of Mr. Elway...
Who is your choice for the John Elway Award for disappointing highly-drafted rookie who turns things around with an impressive sophomore season? (Last year's winner: Kyle Rudolph)
|78.4% Alshon Jeffery
7.3% Michael Floyd
6.0% Ryan Tannehill
|4.2% Quinton Coples
3.9% Riley Reiff
0.2% Rueben Randle
Pretty obvious one this year.
Who is your pick for the Kurt Warner Award, for a low-drafted (or undrafted) backup who finally has a breakout year as a starter? (Last year's winner: Alex Boone)
|35.2% Julian Edelman
29.6% Josh McCown
16.2% Junior Galette
|9.0% George Selvie
8.7% Rashad Jennings
1.3% Jeff Cumberland
Some really nice breakout players this year. I'm guessing most of our readers have no idea that Jeff Cumberland finished second in DVOA among tight ends with at least 25 pass targets.
A few people asked why I didn't list Julius Thomas among the nominees for this award. Thomas wasn't really a long-time backup; he was a fourth-round pick in only his third season, and it was always known he was a project who wouldn't produce for his first year or two.
Who was the least deserving pick for the Pro Bowl? (Last year's winner: Jeff Saturday)
|29.9% Frank Gore
19.6% Marshal Yanda
12.0% Max Unger
10.0% Brandon Flowers
|8.1% Brent Grimes
7.6% Ahmad Brooks
7.6% Aqib Talib
5.2% Ben Grubbs
Football Outsiders readers were not big fans of Frank Gore this year, as he ranked just 20th in rushing DYAR and 24th in DVOA. I don't think the problem is really Gore, as the Adjusted Line Yards stats suggest that he did his share this year while his blocking declined. The problem was choosing Gore ahead of Eddie Lacy and DeMarco Murray. As for the other choices here, Yanda didn't suddenly become a bad player, but it does seem odd to pick anyone from this year's Baltimore offensive line given how bad it was overall. Yanda was named to the Pro Bowl ahead of Evan Mathis and Andrew Whitworth (who did play guard half the year) as well as stud rookies Long and Warford. Max Unger struggled with injury and wasn't as good as he was in 2012; I would have given his spot to Nick Hardwick. We'll get to this when we run cornerback charting stats soon, but Flowers and Grimes had charting stats that didn't match their reputations or what they put up in past years.
The most deserving offensive player left off the original Pro Bowl roster is: (open question, top 10 listed) (Last year's winner: Russell Wilson)
|20.0% Alshon Jeffery
9.6% Evan Mathis
8.1% Nick Foles
7.8% Keenan Allen
5.9% Jordy Nelson
|5.6% Ryan Mathews
4.4% Andrew Luck
3.0% Anquan Boldin
2.2% Tony Romo
1.9% DeMarco Murray
This is really a problem of numbers: Who should have been left off the original Pro Bowl roster to make room for Jeffery, Allen, or Nelson? There's probably a good argument that Andre Johnson was not at his best this year, but really, high passing numbers around the league make for a lot of standout receivers, and there isn't room for all of them.
The most deserving defensive player left off the original Pro Bowl roster is: (open question, top 10 listed) (Last year's winner: Richard Sherman)
|40.2% Lavonte David
7.8% Muhammad Wilkerson
5.3% Michael Bennett
3.3% Calais Campbell
2.0% Kiko Alonso
|2.0% Karlos Dansby
2.0% Thomas Davis
2.0% Devin McCourty
1.6% Donald Butler
1.6% Bobby Wagner
Like a year ago, when 47.4 percent of readers voted for Richard Sherman, this one was easy. The next three players are defensive ends, and I'm not sure which of the defensive ends who were chosen should have stayed home for Wilkerson or Campbell. (No offense to Bennett, but I would not have put him in the Pro Bowl over Wilkerson or Campbell.) Cameron Jordan, maybe?
The most underrated special teams player in the NFL is: (open question, top 10 listed) (Last year's winner: Justin Tucker)
|14.6% Cordarrelle Patterson
12.4% Stephen Gostkowski
11.4% Darrell Stuckey
9.7% Jeremy Lane
5.9% Andy Lee
|5.4% Mike Scifres
3.8% Nick Folk
3.2% Steven Hauschka
3.2% Kassim Osgood
2.7% Dan Bailey
Patterson was a casualty of the decision to remove kickoffs from the Pro Bowl, since Marcus Sherels returned punts for the Vikings. Patterson eventually was chosen as a "replacement" because Antonio Brown had been chosen as both a wide receiver and punt returner. I'm really blown away to see this many votes for San Diego gunner Darrell Stuckey, who didn't even come close to leading the league in special teams tackles this year. He had 12; the leader was Marcus Easley of the Bills with 23 followed by Justin Bethel of the Cardinals, who did make the Pro Bowl, with 21.
Which is your choice for Game of the Year in 2013? (Last year's choice: Baltimore 38, Denver 35 (2 OT) in the Divisional Round)
|27.0% AFC Wild Card: Kansas City 44 at Indianapolis 45
21.6% NFC Championship: San Francisco 17 at Seattle 23
15.1% Week 5: Denver 51 at Dallas 48
13.2% Week 12: San Diego 41 at Kansas City 38
11.0% Week 12: Denver 31 at New England 34 (OT)
|7.2% Week 14: Minnesota 26 at Baltimore 29
2.4% Week 8: Dallas 30 at Detriot 31
1.4% Week 7: Denver 33 at Indianapolis 39
0.6% Week 6: New Orleans 27 at New England 30
0.5%: Week 15: Baltimore 18 at Detroit 16
Player most likely to breakout in 2014 (open question, top 12 listed): (Last year's winner: LaMichael James)
|7.5% Cordarrelle Patterson
4.8% Tavon Austin
4.5% Giovani Bernard
4.2% Ladarius Green
3.6% Marcus Lattimore
3.3% Montee Ball
|2.7% EJ Manuel
2.7% Ryan Tannehill
2.4% Manti Te'o
2.1% Le'Veon Bell
2.1% Jamie Collins
2.1% DeAndre Hopkins
The good news for Cordarrelle Patterson is that he has tons of natural athletic talent. The bad news is that FO readers seem to be really bad at this one. Last year, the readers chose LaMichael James. The year before, they chose Matt Flynn.
Player most likely to significantly decline in 2014 (open question, top 13 listed): (Last year's winner: Robert Griffin)
|17.9% Peyton Manning
14.1% Frank Gore
10.0% Tom Brady
7.6% Nick Foles
3.5% Philip Rivers
2.9% Josh Gordon
2.9% Adrian Peterson
|2.4% Jamaal Charles
2.1% Drew Brees
1.8% Julian Edelman
1.8% Marshawn Lynch
1.8% LeSean McCoy
1.8% Knowshon Moreno
This one is called "math." When nobody else had thrown more than 50 touchdowns in a season before, it's not likely that Peyton Manning can do it twice in a row. However, I'm not sure why so many people expect Tom Brady to decline next year. He already declined plenty this year, he rebounded a bit after midseason, and it's likely he'll have better weapons in 2014. As for Frank Gore, it feels like there are so many running backs now in San Francisco just waiting to pick at his carcass, but the guy's been remarkably resiliant.
Which of the following teams is most likely next year's surprise Super Bowl contender? (Last year's choice: Carolina)
|22.1% Tampa Bay
18.0% St. Louis
FO readers chose Carolina for this question two years in a row, and the second time was the charm! So why not go back to the NFC South well, where it seems like teams are constantly churning and climbing out of last place to go to the playoffs. Atlanta probably would have won this if I had included them; I didn't because let's be honest, an Atlanta rebound wouldn't be a very big surprise. Unlike Houston, they'll be going to battle in 2014 with the same quarterback and head coach who took them to the playoffs the last couple years.
Which playoff team is most likely to miss the playoffs in 2014? (Last year's choice: Minnesota)
|32.0% San Diego
22.9% Kansas City
|2.6% New England
1.8% San Francisco
1.4% Green Bay
1.3% New Orleans
Well, heck, San Diego very nearly missed the playoffs in 2013, and the NFC West should make tough opponents for both the Chargers and Chiefs next year.
The "Get Your Story Straight" Award for best commercial during NFL games this year goes to:
(Last year's choice: NFL Play 60 Cam Newton)
|18.6% Sprint James Earl Jones/Malcolm McDowell
15.7% AT&T "It's not complicated"
14.4% Dodge Durango Ron Burgandy ads
14.2% Bud Light "It's only crazy if it doesn't work"
12.4% Old Spice "Made a man out of my son"
10.6% DirectTV "Get rid of cable" campaign
9.7% Old Spice Wes Welker ads
4.4% Nike "Calvin vs. Johnson"
The "John Mellencamp Must Die" Award for most annoying commercial during NFL games this year goes to:
(Last year's choice: Pepsi Drew Brees/One Direction)
|21.6% State Farm Discount Double Check
16.4% Chevrolet Silverado "A man... a man and his truck"
11.1% Old Spice "made a man out of my son"
11.1% Papa John's Peyton Manning ads
10.1% McDonald's Joe Flacco/Colin Kaepernick "Mighty Wings"
8.6% GEICO "Pig in a blanket"
6.5% Bud Light "It's only crazy if it doesn't work"
6.3% Nissan Rogue "Race across town"
5.7% Dodge Durango Ron Burgandy
2.6% AT&T "It's not complicated"
That does it for the 2013 Football Outsiders Awards. Once again, thanks to all the readers for voting. Next stop: The offseason!