NFL X-Factors Awarded
Ryne Oshiro, Staff Writer
Whether they were established players or superstars in the making, this year’s 2020 National Football League (NFL) awards celebrated and honored its best players.
Lamar Jackson, awarded Most Valuable Player, was extraordinary this season. Jackson silenced his haters by proving that he is not just a “running quarterback.” His stat line included 36 passing touchdowns and seven rushing touchdowns.
Jackson was named the unanimous MVP after earning all 50 first-place votes, something that has not been done since Tom Brady in 2010.
According to the NFL, “Jackson rushed for 1,206 yards, breaking Michael Vick’s single-season record for a quarterback in the process and obliterating the average mark for an MVP quarterback [which is 131 yards]. He more than tripled the average mark for rushing touchdowns with his seven scores.”
Amid all the stat lines, none stood out more than the fact that he is only 22 years old. This implies that his best is yet to come.
The Offensive Rookie of the Year was Kyler Murray, who, at only 5’9, proved he truly belongs in the NFL. Murrary led all rookies in pass completions and passing yards.
On the other side of the ball, San Francisco 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa proved why he was the best rookie on the defensive side. Bosa, and his brother Joey Bosa, a defensive end for the Los Angeles Chargers, became the first set of brothers to win the same award.
According to the NFL, “Bosa compiled nine regular-season sacks, 47 tackles, two passes defended, and one interception. He added to those totals in two postseason games, gobbling up three additional sacks and another pass defended.”
Tennessee Titans quarterback, Ryan Tannehill, was named the comeback player of the year after taking over the starting role a quarter of the way through the season. Tannehill led the Titans all the way to the AFC Championship game.
According to statistics, “At season’s end, Tannehill had tallied an NFL-best 117.5 passer rating, a 70.3 completion percentage, an NFL-high 9.6 yards per attempt and 22 touchdowns (with just six interceptions) – all career-highs.”
The Titans see a bright future for Tannehill at the quarterback spot, to which he became the first-ever Titan to win this award.
The other two players rounding out the awards were the offensive and defensive players of the year. For New Orleans Saints wide receiver, Michael Thomas, receptions seemed inevitable in every game he played this season. He broke the Colts great Marvin Harrison’s single-season record of 143 receptions with 149 to his name.
The NFL had discussed, “a back-to-back receptions leader blessed with suction cups for hands, Thomas leveled up across the board with career highs in yards (107.8) and receptions (9.3) per game to go along with 11.6 yards per catch and a third season of at least nine touchdowns. His four-year cumulative production — 470 receptions, 5,512 yards — are the most by a player in his first four seasons all-time.” This season Thomas proved that you really, “can’t guard Mike”.
For the New England Patriots cornerback, Stephon Gilmore, covering defenders could not have looked easier. According to statistics in the NFL, “with Gilmore essentially eliminating one side of the field, New England finished first in total defense (yards per game allowed) at 275.9 and interceptions (25). Gilmore also finished tied for second in interceptions returned for touchdowns (two) and third in passer rating allowed (47.4, per Pro Football Focus).” As Thomas dominated one side of the field, Gilmore was on the other side to protect it.