Monday, January 07, 2008

Colts Sanders somehow wins defensive player of the year

Indianapolis Colts safety Bob Sanders has won the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year award. After hearing announcers extol his virtues almost every game, including non-Colts games this season, I thought to myself "alright, he probably deserved it." The article is curiously number light and after looking at his stats, it's pretty clear why.

Games - 15
Tackles/Solo - 97/72
PD - 6
Sack - 3.5
FF - 0
INT - 2

Those numbers weren't even good in just the AFC. Tied for 17th in tackles, 41st in sacks and tied for 35th in INTs. Sanders didn't even lead his own team in any defensive statistic. Pretty odd for a DPoY. In the article, Ed Reed's 2004 season was brought up. Reed was the last safety to win. His numbers were nuts, by the way.

Games - 16
Tackles/Solo - 78/67
PD - 17
Sack - 2
FF - 4
INT - 9

Reed also ran back those picks for 358 yards and a touchdown. There's no comparison there, but that's apples and oranges. How about others who deserved it more than Sanders? What about NFL tackle leader and rookie Patrick Willis of San Francisco with his 174 tackles, 4 sacks and 5 passes defended? Or sack leader Jared Allen of Kansas City with 15.5 sacks, 65 tackles and 3 forced fumbles. Haynesworth in Tennessee and Kerney in Seattle also deserve it more than Sanders.

Unlike (?) the MVP award, I didn't think there was any debate about "valuable" in the DPoY - just the guy with the best defensive numbers. Even so, if you take Sanders off the Colts, I am pretty sure an average safety would fill in his numbers. Maybe he wouldn't be as "smash mouth" or have as many "highlight film" plays. But I bet he would get 60-80 tackles and 1-2 INTs.

I guess awarding the "best" player on the team with the best defense is what the award is about. Change the name to Defensive MVP not Defensive Player of the Year. Or they could just give it to people who deserve it. That could work too.

No comments: