2022 NFL awards finalists: Who are the biggest favorites, surprises and snubs?
The NFL announced the finalists for eight of the Associated Press awards on Wednesday, the winners of which will be announced at the 12th Annual NFL Honors Ceremony on Feb. 9. Here’s what you need to know:
Full list of NFL award finalists:
Josh Allen, Bills QB Joe Burrow, Bengals QB Jalen Hurts, Eagles QB Justin Jefferson, Vikings WR Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs QB
Nick Bosa, 49ers DE Chris Jones, Chiefs DT Micah Parsons, Cowboys LB
Tyreek Hill, Dolphins WR Jalen Hurts, Eagles QB Justin Jefferson, Vikings WR Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs QB
AP Returning Player of the Year:
Brian Daboll, Giants Sean McDermott, Bills Doug Pederson, Jaguars Kyle Shanahan, 49ers Nick Sirianni, Eagles
AP COY Assistant:
Ben Johnson, Lions OC DeMeco Ryans, 49ers DC Shane Steichen, Eagles OC
The Athletic’s instant analysis:
Deserved recognition for Jefferson
Let’s face it, it’s a quarterbacks and quarterbacks league award, and Mahomes, Allen, Burrow and Hurts are definitely MVP worthy, and one of those four will take home the award (my money’s on Mahomes). But it’s also good to see a non-quarterback (Jefferson of Minnesota) getting some recognition for his dynamic season.
Jefferson is a receiver, but the third-year pro certainly bettered QB Kirk Cousins and had a league-leading 128 catches and 1,809 receiving yards. He probably won’t win, but getting a nod is important. —Jones
Tough call for OPOY
Okay, as stated, expect a quarterback (Mahomes) to win MVP, although Burrow, Hurts and Allen are all worthy. But what about Offensive Player of the Year? Will the quarterback who lost win, or will another positional player win those honors?
Since quarterbacks usually win MVP at home, let’s go with someone like Jefferson or Hill (who also transformed his team’s offense with over 1,700 yards) for the offensive player in the league. ‘year. Jefferson topped Hill for 99 yards and a touchdown. Give him the price. —Jones
Ultimate dark horse for ROY
At the start of the season, the quarterback expected to be up for Rookie of the Year honors was Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett. But Purdy came out of nowhere to stand out as a quarterback to challenge Walker and Wilson for that award by winning five straight and helping lead the 49ers to the NFC West title. Yes, he only has part of a season to show. But the importance of his contributions to the success of his team makes him a no-brainer. —Jones
COY race crowded
The argument could be made for one of the five finalists (Shanahan, Pederson, McDermott, Daboll or Sirianni) to win Coach of the Year. Lions fans and Dolphins fans can take issue with the rebuffs of their head coaches Dan Campbell and Mike McDaniel. McDaniel cringed in the playoffs and Campbell’s team fell short. They eliminated the Packers from playoff consideration, so that should count for something. Right?
In the end, the other four coaches all put their teams into the playoffs, giving them the edge. Shanahan doing it with his third-string quarterback makes him a no-brainer. —Jones
How were the finalists selected?
The AP announced in November that it was updating its voting system for the awards. The 50 national sportswriters on the voting committee ranked their top five picks for MVP and top three picks for other awards. They will also rank their picks for first- and second-team All-Pro players at each position.
(Photo: Cary Edmondson/USA Today)