The New York Jets announced this week that Jets players have voted cornerback Antonio Cromartie as this season’s team MVP, an award they’ve named after Hall of Fame running back Curtis Martin.
Cromartie had perhaps his finest NFL campaign to date in 2012, in a year that was marked by the loss of his All-Pro teammate Darrelle Revis, who himself won the Curtis Martin MVP Award two of the last three years.
For the Jets, it’s the fourth consecutive season that a defensive player was voted team MVP by his peers.
“It’s a great accomplishment, and it just speaks volumes to what the guys think of me as a player and trying to be a leader of this team,” Cromartie said. “Honestly, without them, I wouldn’t be the MVP.”
Cromartie leads the Jets with three interceptions and 17 passes defensed through 15 weeks, and he’s galvanized a Jets pass defense that’s ranked second in the NFL even after losing Revis to a knee injury back in Week 3.
While Cromartie is very worthy of a Pro Bowl start and a spot on the All-Pro team, the individual awards are bittersweet for a guy who would much rather be chasing the ultimate trophy: the Lombardi.
“I’d rather have a winning record, to be honest with you, and to have a chance to make the playoffs,” Cromartie said. “We want to make sure we finish off this season the best we can.”
The Jets won’t get a chance to play for a title this season, as their offense was spectacularly ineffective despite the overall solid play of the defense. But Cromartie’s window to win doesn’t appear to be closing any time soon.