The Kansas City Chiefs are in a position to possibly come out of tonight’s 2014 NFL Honors as the evening’s biggest winners. Of the 17 honors being bestowed tonight at Radio City Musical Hall, there’s a possibility that the Chiefs take home up to five of those.
Kansas City appears to be a lock for at least a couple awards with an outside shot at a few more. Let’s break it down.
AP Coach of the Year
This is really a two-man race between Andy Reid and the Carolina Panthers‘ Ron Rivera. One would assume Reid would be the pick here, but earlier this month the Pro Football Writers of America snubbed him in favor of Rivera. Reid exceeded even the wildest expectations in his first season with the Chiefs, providing them with their best chance at winning a playoff game in the last 20 years. Rivera simply finally had a good year with a squad that’s seemed to be on the verge of putting it together for the last few years. Expect the AP to get it right here and give the recognition to Reid.
Winner: Andy Reid
NFL.com Fantasy Player of the Year
Again, this one comes down to only two men. Peyton Manning is likely the first name to pop into one’s mind here and with good reason. He led all fantasy scorers with 418 points — 58 more than second place Drew Brees — and registered over 30 in a single week on four occasions, three of those four coming over Manning’s final four games. But Jamaal Charles has a legitimate case to make here as well. The guy was a model of consistency in 2013 — he scored under nine points only once — as the NFL’s best dual-threat back. His legendary 51.5-point performance in Week 15 was undoubtedly one of the single greatest fantasy performances of all time. This one could be tough, but Charles was just a fantasy godsend this year.
Winner: Jamaal Charles
AP Comeback Player of the Year
It came as a surprise to many when Alex Smith lost his starting job as the San Francisco 49ers‘ quarterback to Colin Kaepernick after suffering a concussion midway through the 2012 season. But following an offseason move to Kansas City, Smith has seemed to find himself in Reid’s West Coast offense. Smith threw only seven interceptions — the fewest in the league — on the way to leading Chiefs to the AFC Playoffs. But San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers also had a bounce-back season after a down year in 2013. Many were calling for Rivers’ job only a year ago, but throwing for 4,478 yards and 32 touchdowns in 2014 quickly quelled those talks. Rivers helped San Diego to an improbable playoff berth, winning one game prior to being bounced by the Denver Broncos in the divisional playoffs.
Winner: Alex Smith
FedEx Ground Player of the Year
Charles was a force on the ground this year, finishing with 1,287 yards rushing to go along with 12 touchdowns. But many of Charles’ touches came by way of the pass this season which will hurt him in consideration for this award. The Philadelphia Eagles‘ LeSean McCoy is likely the favorite here, rumbling his way to the NFL rushing title this season while averaging a lofty 5.1 YPC. He played his best football of the season down the stretch, eclipsing 130 yards rushing in three of the Philadelphia’s final four contests. There’s a glimmer of hope for Charles here, but Shady has to get the nod.
Winner: LeSean McCoy
AP Offensive Player of the Year
With Peyton all but certain to leave with MVP honors, the AP Offensive Player of the Year is only slightly debatable. The only question is whether voters will reward Charles for carrying the Kansas City offense by himself. The supporting cast in Denver would have made nearly any half-capable quarterback successful while Charles succeeded in spite of a lackluster pass offense. Still, it’s unlikely Manning is denied any type of offensive honor that he qualifies for after his historic year.
Winner: Peyton Manning
So there you have it, folks. Enjoy tonight, because it’ll be the last reason aside from pure nostalgia that you’ll have a reason to reflect on the 2013 Kansas City Chiefs for a while. Though, with the NFL questionably selecting Alec Baldwin to host again, it’d be understandable if you happened to miss it.