Jack Dempsey/AP/Press Association Images Tim Tebow has had a memorable year.
# Take a Bow
The 2nd Annual Redzone NFL Awards
With the playoffs now finalised, Steven O’Rourke takes a look back at the 2011 NFL regular season and tries his best not to mention a certain Denver quarterback. He fails.


Tom Brady

I know what you’re thinking. How can you not pick Aaron Rodgers. He has, after all, led his team to the number one spot in the NFC by throwing for 4,643 yards and 45 touchdowns.

However, Rodgers has something Brady doesn’t have, namely top quality wide receivers in Jordy Nelson, Greg Jennings and James Jones who between them had 31 touchdowns this year.

This wealth of talent gives Rodgers a deep threat that Brady doesn’t have in New England. Sure, Wes Welker is talented, but if you take him out of the game – as many teams did towards the end of the season – the Patriots just don’t have anyone to stretch the secondary.

Instead Brady, who has virtually no run support, must rely on two tight ends – admittedly two of the best in the league – on short, pinpoint accurate passes.

On top of that, he is put under pressure to outscore opponents every week thanks to the Patriots having the worst defence in the league.

All of which puts his 5,235 yards (the second most of all time) and 39 touchdowns into perspective. It’s a remarkable achievement.

Runners up: Aaron Rodgers – probably looking at another Super Bowl Ring. Drew Brees – he’s good, but he plays most of his games indoors and that taints his single-season passing record for me.

Defensive Player of the Year

Jason Pierre-Paul

(AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

If you were to look at sacks alone, Minnesota’s Jared Allen would be the clear winner with 22.

Likewise, if I was only taking tackles and interceptions into consideration, New England’s Kyle Arrington with 88 tackles and seven picks would be the clear winner.

Instead, I’ve gone for Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul because he combined his impressive 16.5 sacks with a whopping 88 tackles, 18 more than any of the other top ten sack leaders.

Runners up: London Fletcher – the Washington linebacker had 166 combined tackles this season. Jared Allen – one bright spot in an otherwise diminishing franchise.

Rookie Offensive Player of the Year

Andy Dalton

Given that he set a whole host of rookie records, including passing yardage and touchdowns, the temptation would be to give this award to Cam Newton.

However, the Panthers still ended with a losing 6-10 record whereas the Bengals Andy Dalton threw almost as many touchdowns (20) and brought his team, against all odds, to the playoffs.

Runners up: Cam Newton – It’ll be interesting to see if he suffers second-season syndrome next year. AJ Green – without the rookie receiver, it is unlikely Dalton would have won this award.

Rookie Defensive Player of the Year

Aidon Smith

Once more, there’s a massive argument to be made for Von Miller here.

However, while Miller went missing towards the end of the season, resulting in three consecutive Denver losses, Smith helped lead the number one ranked team against the run with 14 sacks and 37 tackles to the number two seed in the NFC.

Runners up: Von Miller – A forced fumble from his very first play from scrimmage set the tone but faded towards the end of the season. Patrick Peterson – The Arizona Cardinal’s cornerback returned four punts for TDs this season.

Play of the Year

Jerome Simpson’s flip

The word awesome is overused, but this is awesome:

Tim Tebow Award for the Most Overrated Tim Tebow of the Year

Tim Tebow

Five fumbles, four interceptions and just three touchdowns in his last three games, all of which Denver lost.

I assume those who gave Tebow all the credit for Denver’s remarkable mid-season run now want him dropped as quarterback?

Of course, this could also be simply called the “Look how important access to game film is” award.

Steven O’Rourke is the Offensive Co-ordinator of Tullamore Phoenix American Football Club, winners of the IAFL DV8s national title in 2010 and 2011. Tullamore are always recruiting new players so, if you’d like to play football and not just read about it, Steven would love to hear from you.

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