The 2013 AP Comeback Player of the Year is……
Philip Rivers. Rivers wins the award after throwing for 4,478 yards and a career high in completion percentage. Rivers, who had broken a streak of four straight seasons with 4,000 passing yards and led his team to only seven victories in 2012, was certainly deserving of the award.
Rivers propped himself back into the elite group of quarterbacks after a couple of rough years and led his team to an improbable playoff run. He earned the award he received, but were there others more deserving? This is an argument that you will see differently depending on who your favorite NFL team is.
I personally see the league through aqua and orange glasses, and thanks to that bias (and common sense), I say Brent Grimes is the man who most deserved to be Comeback Player of the Year.
Grimes is barely 5-foot-10, one of the smallest of the Miami Dolphins‘ defensive backs. A red zone target, right? Grimes did not allow a touchdown to a receiver all year. Not one. He was tied for the team lead in interceptions and was the second ranked cornerback in the league according to PFF. He made his second Pro Bowl in 2013 after missing nearly the entire 2012 season.
Grimes directly won two games for the Dolphins with a clutch fourth quarter interception against the Indianapolis Colts, and by knocking down a last second pass attempt from the Comeback POY himself, Rivers, to seal a victory against the San Diego Chargers.
Grimes’ 2012 season was unfortunately cut short after just one game after he tore his Achilles tendon. The 29 year old was also in a contract year, which is when players look to put their best performances on the field so they can get paid the following offseason.
After the season when Grimes’ contract expired, the Atlanta Falcons, his former team, didn’t feel comfortable enough with his injury and he decided to sign with the Dolphins. The Dolphins took a chance on Grimes and signed him to a one-year deal. It was a year that reminded Miami how scarcely they had seen good cornerback play since the Patrick Surtain and Sam Madison years. Now, Dolphins’ management must be focused on re-signing the talented cornerback.
Did Rivers deserve the award? Of course, but Grimes came back from a season-ending injury and did his work with a new team. Rivers came back from down seasons and was the beneficiary of a great coaching staff with an offensive coordinator who was formerly a head coach that led his team to the Super Bowl in Ken Whisenhunt. Grimes was on an island by himself all season.
Grimes may have been snubbed for Comeback Player of the Year, but after his impressive year, he won’t be snubbed any money on his next contract.