The 2018 NFL Season has been... interesting.
Some teams have exceeded expectations, while others have fallen well short. We've had Tank Bowls and potential Super Bowls over the first half of this season.
There are a few teams that look like legitimate Super Bowl contenders, and there are almost just as many teams that look like contenders for the #1 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft *cough*Raiders and Giants*cough*.
Despite that, there has been a lot of great games and storylines in the first half of the season. Some of these awards have some serious competition for who is going to win them. Other awards don't appear to be as competitive midseason, but that could change over the next week.
Instead of just doing the NFL Honors for the midseason, however, I am also going to do some more fun awards just for the sake of keeping this article interesting. We are going to run the gambit from Best Dressed to Offensive Rookie of the Year, and most of the things in-between.
To limit this article to a reasonable list, I am going to hand out twenty awards. This list is a combination of serious awards and gimmick awards, and I've done my best to make it obvious which is which.
So without further ado, here are "The 2018 NFL Midseason Awards":
MVP: Drew Brees
The Bridesmaid finally becomes the Bride.
Drew Brees has played in an era with so many great quarterbacks that it has prevented him from getting the MVP award that he deserves. This pick isn't just about giving Brees what he deserves, he honestly has earned it this year by leading the Saints to a 7-1 record that is good enough for third best record in the NFL, and that could change very easily since they are the only one-loss team that has had their bye week.
Unlike the Rams and Chiefs juggernaut teams with play-makers all over the place, Brees really just has Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara for playmakers to help. Combine that with a defense that allows the highest PPG of the three, and Brees leading the Saints to this position affirms that he is a deserving MVP.
Best Dressed: Ryan Fitzpatrick
It had to be "Fitzmagic" for this award.
Fitzpatrick's outfit, well the one he borrowed, broke the internet because of how great it was.
If Fitzpatrick holds on to the starting job for the Buccaneers, I'm going to need D-Jax to become his stylist.
Offensive Player of the Year/Best non-dominant hand pass: Patrick Mahomes
As ridiculous as that pass was by Mahomes, it epitomizes what he's done this season, make play after play after play.
The Kansas City Chiefs have one of the most talented offenses in the NFL, which is why I think Brees is more deserving of the MVP, but the stat sheets says the Mahomes is the best offensive player this year.
That lefty pass was still so impressive that it deserves it's own special mention for an unofficial award.
LVP (Least Valuable Player): Jameis Winston
Winston took over for Fitzpatrick after his suspension, and has managed to go from being below the Flacco-line (being elite) to below the Dalton-line (average QB) to being just above the Bortles-line (being competent). Meanwhile, Fitzpatrick is still a top-five QB statistically.
More importantly, he almost lost/tied the Browns. His kicker literally had to bailout the Buccaneers awful offense with a 59-yard field goal. Yes, the kicker missed one in regulation that would have won them the game then, but he should have never left it to the kicker to beat the Browns.
Winston insured his LVP status when Fitzpatrick came in during the 3rd Quarter against the Bengals, and brought the Buccaneers back to a tie game. The Bucs defense went on to waste Fitzpatrick's effort, but that isn't his fault. Maybe Winston will add value holding the clipboard, but he's currently the LVP.
Defensive Player of the Year: Aaron Donald
Aaron Donald is currently second in the league in sacks, tied for the league lead in tackles for loss, and leads the league in QB hits. For a defensive end, this would be impressive, but for a defensive tackle, this is beyond ridiculous. Donald is facing double teams every week and is still getting into the backfield to disrupt offenses week after week.
After week one, Khalil Mack looked like a lock for Defensive Player of the Year, but Aaron Donald has shot past him during Mack's injury. This is why the DPOY isn't given out after week one. It's about long-term success, not a few amazing weeks.
The Joe Flacco Award: Kirk Cousins
The Joe Flacco Award goes to the annual "elite" quarterback who manages to have above average stats on a slightly above average team that could make the playoffs. This years award goes to Kirk Cousins, who has shown his "elite" ability in leading the Vikings to a 5-3-1 record while being 12th in the league in total QBR. Perfect positing for a Flacco winner.
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Saquan Barkley
The OROY award this year feels like the last man standing competition because the five preseason contenders have not looked great this year, but Baker Mayfield and Barkley at least have excuses for their team and individual struggles. Barkley, however, has put up some overall impressive stats despite one of the worst offensive lines in the league and a quarterback who is statistically worse than Mayfield.
Seriously, the bottom-five quarterbacks in QBR (not a perfect stat, but frequently used to evaluate QBs) this year are the four rookie starters and Eli Manning. Barkley is a large part of Giants have even been able to compete in games, let alone helping them get their one win.
Worst Block: Tom Brady
Tom's doesn't play a position that blocks often because you've got to protect the most important player in the franchise. When quarterbacks do block, it's usually better than that, in the sense that they will usually try to engage the defender in order to hold them up longer and avoid a big hit. Tom decided to stand in the way of that bus known as Lorenzo Alexander and eat an unnecessary hit.
Brady gets the worst block award because it was technically an actual block since he made contact, instead of another entry later on this list, where calling it an attempt would be an insult to what Tom did here.
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Darius Leonard
While you were reading this, Darius Leonard probably got another tackle. The fact that the Colts' defense overall is trash, Leonard gets plenty of opportunities to pad his stats. Still, Leonard's stat padding has helped improve an awful Colts' defense into an average one, which makes him more than deserving of the DROY award.
Best non-catch: DeAndre Hopkins
An award that has become extremely competitive over the past few years thanks to the NFL not knowing what a catch is and handing out penalties like candy on Halloween, but Hopkins has the clear winner this year. This catch was ridiculous, especially considering the pass interference beforehand.
Comeback Player of the Year: Andrew Luck
Since most of the marketable stars in the league finished last year on IR, there is arguably a long list of candidates for this award. Andrew Luck, however, is the most deserving given that there was a time we questioned if we would ever play again, and now he is renewing his elite status while working with Darius Leonard to help make this otherwise garbage team a potential playoff contender.
The Blair Walsh Award: Zane Gonzalez
Zane Gonzalez missed four kicks in one day, which made the Browns' winless streak extend another week instead of beating what would be a two-loss Saints team. After his performance, he was cut by the Browns and hasn't been given a job opportunity. He cost his team eight points in one game, which makes him deserving of the Blair Walsh award for awful kicking.
Coach of the Year: Bill O'Brien
Welcome to the Twilight Zone, where a Bill Belichick disciple is actually a great head coach in the NFL. O'Brien has struggled in his first few years as a HC, but he currently has the Houston Texans at 6-3 and leading the AFC South. This time last year, Houston was without Deshaun Watson and struggling to win games, but now they look like an actual contender in the AFC in the midst of a six-game win streak that could get longer thanks to a once tough schedule looking a lot weaker now.
Disappointment of the Year (Player): Blake Bortles
There are a few quarterbacks that could make this list, but Bortles' incompetence took this team from a Super Bowl contender to a team that could finish last in their division. I repeat, the Jacksonville "Sacksonville" Jaguars could finish last in the AFC South. Blake Bortles was never going to be elite, but he has regressed so much that he got benched for a Browns' cast-off in Cody Kessler.
Play of the Year: Graham Gano's 63-Yard Field Goal
Normally a field goal wouldn't be a play of the year, but Gano won the game with a field goal in a year where kickers have lost more games than they have won, that 63-yard kick was even more unbelievable. There's clutch-kicking, and then there's what Gano did to beat the Giants. In the year of the anti-kicker, Gano drilled a perfect kick to continue a perfect season.
Disappointment of the Year (Team): NY Giants
Some people, I can't imagine why, thought the Giants could be a playoff team and had Pat Shurmur as a coach of the year candidate. That crow must taste fantastic to them with the Giants being so bad that they have been blown out more in more games than they have won. Granted, they have lost five games by one touchdown or less, but they're only win came by five points and pissed off a Texans team so much that they haven't lost since.
Celebration of the Year: Michael Thomas
Originally I had the Seattle Seahawks' choreographed TD celebration here, but this Michael Thomas TD celebration was special because of the levels to it. First, he recreated the amazing Joe Horn touchdown celebration, which is a classic, so Thomas gets nostalgia points. Then, the Saints signed Dez Bryant, and this celebration took on another layer, as the joke became that Thomas "called" Dez, which honestly was enough to overtake the Seahawks celebration as the best.
Hurdle of the Year: Josh Allen
Was it the cleanest hurdle? Absolutely not, but Josh Allen is 6'5'', 240 lbs and leaped over Anthony Barr, one of the better defenders in the league, like he was running hurdles in track. I might be giving Josh Allen extra credit because he is a QB, but when a another QB does that, then I will CONSIDER changing this from Josh Allen to someone else.
Assistant Coach of the Year: Vic Fangio
Vic Fangio is the Chicago Bears Defensive Coordinator, and this defense has looked amazing so far this year. They were roughly a top ten defense last year, but they look like they could be the top defense in the NFL by the end of the year. Two games against an awful Lions o-line and games against the Giants and 49ers are still on the schedule, which means the Bears could do what they did to the Bills in potentially four more games.
F*** This S*** I'm Out Award: Vontae Davis
Vontae Davis made the decision to retire from the NFL and the Buffalo Bills at halftime of a Week 2 game against the Los Angeles Chargers. Obviously this wasn't well received by the "NFL fraternity," but as an NFL outsider (i.e. not a player) this was absolutely hilarious and deserving of the inaugural NFL FTSIOA Award. The Bills are so bad, they caused a player to create an award for this situation.
While I could continue with these awards, I feel like these twenty awards are the most fitting for the NFL midseason awards. Depending on how the rest of the 2018 season goes, I might do a 2018 NFL season awards, or move on to some bigger ideas. Feel free to comment any other awards you would like to see in the future.
The first half of the 2018 NFL season has been a wild ride, and the second half of the season looks to be equally competitive, so I am looking forward to it, and I hope you are too.