NFL Honors provided controversial winners and a surprising Hall of Fame class

Michael Marowelli

The NFL Honors aired on Thursday, Feb. 9 and kicked off with host Kelly Clarkson in a Dallas Cowboys dress. Not being a fan of the Cowboys, this was not a great way to start, but the rest of the show made up for it.

The first award was the Offensive Player of the Year which went to wide receiver Justin Jefferson from the Minnesota Vikings. There were other big names like Tyreek Hill from the Miami Dolphins, but Jefferson had a record-breaking year with 128 catches, 1,809 receiving yards and eight touchdowns, making the award well deserved.

After Offensive Player of the Year, Clarkson presented Defensive Player of the Year to defensive end Nick Bosa from the San Francisco 49ers. 

Bosa beat out notable names like Dallas’ outside linebacker Micah Parsons, but Bosa had a stellar season where he racked up 51 total tackles and led the NFL in sacks with a whopping 18.5. Parsons had a great year as well, but it paled in comparison to Bosa.

The New York Jets completely owned the 2022 NFL draft, evidenced by cornerback Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner winning Defensive Rookie of the Year and wide receiver Garrett Wilson winning Offensive Rookie of the Year. Wilson had an impressive 83 catches, 1,103 yards and four touchdowns to boot. 

Likewise, Gardner winning Defensive Rookie of the Year solidifies how top-notch of a draft they had; I believe it was the best one out of all 32 teams.

The New York Giants also had a good day as their first-year head coach Brian Daboll took home the title Coach of the Year. Another possible contestant was San Francisco’s Kyle Shanahan, but given that the Giants doubled their number of wins compared to last season, it was difficult to argue against Daboll winning. 

The Comeback Player of the Year went to quarterback Geno Smith from the Seattle Seahawks. Smith had been viewed as a career backup until he was thrusted into Seattle’s starting quarterback position where he still received doubt from NFL fans, yet he proved them wrong by throwing for over 4,000 yards with 30 touchdowns and only 11 interceptions. 

While Smith is a worthy contender, I believe it should have gone to Saquon Barkley who had a great comeback after suffering serious injuries.

The Most Valuable Player award went to quarterback Patrick Mahomes from the Kansas City Chiefs. 

Mahomes was the undisputed winner leading the league with 5,250 passing yards and 41 touchdowns with only 12 interceptions. Mahomes had a spectacular year, winning his second MVP in only five years as a starter.

The Hall of Fame class of 2023 was introduced and quickly proved to be controversial when San Francisco linebacker Patrick Willis and Chicago Bears kick returner Devin Hester weren’t included. Willis was an absolute force at linebacker with 950 total tackles in his career, and Hester is reputed to be the man who changed the position of kick returner to a role held in high regard. 

After the Hall of Fame was announced, the final and most prestigious awards in sports was presented: the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award. This award represents the best of the NFL’s commitment to philanthropy and community impact.

This year, it was given to Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott. His cancer research tenet was inspired by Prescott’s mother who unfortunately passed away from cancer in 2013. 

Additionally, the 2020 suicide of Prescott’s brother Jace fostered an intense focus on mental health and suicide awarness. The Walter Payton Man of the Year couldn’t have gone to a more deserving person.

Aside from Geno Smith winning Comeback Player of the Year instead of Saquon Barkley, I believe the NFL Honors did a great job at presenting awards to the most commendable players.