Most Valuable Player: Aaron Rodgers
Runner up: J.J. Watt, Tony Romo, and Antonio Brown
Rodgers is the best quarterback in the league, and by the time he retires, he just might be the best quarterback ever. After starting the season 1-2, Rodgers put on a quarterback clinic to finish the season on an 11-2 run. With the division championship and a first-round bye on the line, Rodgers hobbled and wobbled past the Lions, passing for 133 yards and three scores on a strained calf. Without Rodgers, the Packers gave up 14-points unanswered—once their all-pro quarterback returned, the Packers outscored the Lions 16-6. If that’s not MVP material, I don’t know what is.
Defensive Player of the Year: J.J. Watt
Runner up: Justin Houston, Mario Williams, and Vontae Davis
J.J. Watt’s 2014 campaign was one for the ages. Watt’s 20.5 sacks was second best in the league, tying the mark set by Lawrence Taylor in his 1986 MVP season. He was a menace for all opposing offensive lines, deflecting 10 passes at the line of scrimmage and leading the league in both quarterback hits and quarterback hurries. He caused a safety, blocked a field goal, forced five fumbles, intercepted a pass, and scored three offensive touchdowns and two more on defence. There wasn’t much Watt didn’t do, and if the Texans made the playoffs he’d be square in the middle of the MVP discussion, too.
Defensive Rookie of the Year: C.J. Mosley
Runner up: Aaron Donald, Khalil Mack, and Anthony Barr
C.J. Mosley flies around the Ravens defence in a way reminiscent of his predecessor, Ray Lewis. While Aaron Donald’s rookie year was more than impressive, Mosley helped spring his team into the playoffs as the leader of the vaunted Ravens defence. He was one of only two defensive rookies to make the Pro Bowl, and the Alabama product finished the season first among rookies in all meaningful linebacker statistics.
Offensive Player of the Year: DeMarco Murray
Runner up: Le’Veon Bell, Antonio Brown, and Rob Gronkowski
Since this award can’t go to the entire Dallas Cowboys offensive line, the 2014 offensive Player of the Year award has to go to the man who runs behind the league’s top O-line. DeMarco Murray ran for 100+ yards in 12 of 16 games this season, leading the league with 1,845 yards on the ground. While the fourth-year back finished just shy of the double-century mark, he smashed Emmitt Smith’s 1995 Cowboys rushing record, and will no doubt take home the Cowboys’ first ever Offensive Player of the year award.
Offensive Rookie-of-the-Year: Odell Beckham Jr.
Runner up: Jeremy Hill, Mike Evans, and Kelvin Benjamin
2014 was the year of the rookie wide receiver, and while Mike Evans and Kelvin Benjamin were busy putting up impressive numbers, nobody wowed fans like Odell Beckham Jr. After missing the first four games of the season with a hamstring injury, Beckham Jr. busted onto the scene, averaging a league-leading 108.8 yards per game. His highlight reel catches became a weekly staple, but his Week 12, over the shoulder touchdown snag against the Cowboys will go down in history as one of the greatest catches of all time.
Coach-of-the-Year: Bill Belichick
Runner up: Bruce Arians, Jason Garrett, and Pete Carroll
Belichick is the best coach in the league and easily one of the best coaches ever. While Bruce Arians and Jason Garrett turned their mediocre squads into serious playoff threats, Bill Belichick continually turns no-names into stars. Ever heard of Jonas Gray? Probably not before his Week 11, 200-yard game. Just as quickly as Gray appeared, he was gone—giving way to LeGarrette Blount and his two-touchdown game, just one week after Belichick picked him up from the Steelers. The only reason he won’t win Coach-of-the-Year is because it’s almost become too blasé to say he’s the best coach in the league.