With the Superbowl right around the corner, we close out the 2015 NFL regular season awards the ‘All-Lazlo’ Team way.
To highlight and pay homage to the NFL regular season awards, John Madden would pick a roster of guys who played the game “his way” affectionately becoming known as the All-Madden Team.
Building off a similar motto, during the past few years, (check out 2014’s roster here,) I’ve selected the guys who piqued my interest over the NFL regular seasons and the hallowed All-Lazlo Team was born.
To uphold tradition, in some cases, those spotlighted on the All-Lazlo Team will be the guys who had the best year, and in other cases, not.
Without further ado, let’s see the NFL regular season awards for 2015, the All-Lazlo Team way, and find out if your favorite players earned a spot on the roster.
Tom Brady, New England Patriots: There are three guys you could go with this year, and they’re all completely deserving. Cam Newton and Carson Palmer both had great years and showed tremendous leadership but I just have to go with Brady this year. There were moments this season where he was shredding defenses with little more than chewing gum and duct tape.
Todd Gurley, St. Louis Rams: No brainer here. What a rookie season this guy had! And on an offense with literally no other options to go to. Gurley will be around for quite a while.
Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers: A repeat from last season, I believe Brown is the game’s very best wide receiver right now.
Deandre Hopkins, Houston Texans: With Hopkins, remember who’s throwing him the ball. It’s hard not to wonder what kind of numbers he’d have with Carson Palmer or Tom Brady passing to him.
Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots: The game’s most dangerous non-quarterback offensive weapon, bar none. Look at how the Pats thrived despite injuries all over the field, right up until Gronkowski went down. That’s how much he means to that offense, almost as much as Tom Brady himself.
Andrew Whitworth (OT), Cincinnati Bengals: I just love when guys who’ve been playing the game forever turn around and have career years.
Mike Iupati (OG), Arizona Cardinals: Show me a running game that works no matter who’s carrying the ball and I’ll show you a superior interior o-line.
Nick Mangold (C), New York Jets: Remember those weeks when Mangold was hurt? The Jets completely fell apart without him.
Richie Incognito (OG), Buffalo Bills: Though it’s not popular to acknowledge how well Incognito has played because he’s a douchebag, 2015 was a great year for him.
Joe Thomas (OT), Cleveland Browns: Possibly the best left tackle in football, and stuck on the Browns.
J.J. Watt (DE), Houston Texans: The “popular” pick, but his play and stats back it up.
Geno Atkins (DT), Cincinnati Bengals: A true pocket collapser, this guy wrecks offenses.
Aaron Donald (DT), St. Louis Rams: I was torn between him and Muhammad Wilkerson of the Jets, but Donald’s combination of strength and quickness was too good to pass up.
Khalil Mack, (DE), Oakland Raiders: Think Derek Carr or Amari Cooper are the reasons for the Raiders turnaround?
Von Miller (OLB), Denver Broncos: One of the big reasons the Broncos’ defense has been so good has been that Miller has been healthy.
Luke Kuechly (ILB), Carolina Panthers: The best middle linebacker in football.
Donta Hightower (OLB), New England Patriots: This is one of those guys who, if he gets hurt, the entire unit suddenly can’t play.
Justin Houston (OLB), Kansas City Chiefs: The prototype of the modern day “able to do everything” linebacker.
Josh Norman (CB), Carolina Panthers: Forget the hype, this is football’s reigning shut down corner.
Aqib Talib (CB), Denver: Pick him or teammate Chris Harris. They form the best cornerback tandem in the league.
Tyron Mathieu (S), Arizona Cardinals: I’d say the honey badger was living up to his nickname, if I had any idea what a honey badger was.
Charles Woodson (S), Oakland Raiders: I’m a sucker for retiring Hall of Famers, what can I say.
Josh Brown (K), NY Giants: It took this guy three months before he missed a field goal.
Johnny Hekker (P), St. Louis Rams: No one relies on the field position game more than St. Louis.
Darren Sproles (KR), Philadelphia Eagles: Thanks to Chip Kelly, Sproles is now the best player on the Eagles at any position.
Coach of the Year: Ron Rivera, Carolina Panthers.
This award was Todd Bowles’ for the taking, but the Jets couldn’t cross the finish line. The Panthers’ remarkable run certainly isn’t any less so for the fact that they didn’t finish 16-0.
Offensive MVP: Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers.
People talk about his passing and running and forget about his amazing leadership this season. An MVP in every sense of the word.
Defensive MVP: Luke Kuechly, LB, Carolina Panthers.
The Panthers’ amazing season wouldn’t be possible without their defense, and their defense wouldn’t be possible without Kuechly.
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Todd Gurley, RB, St. Louis Rams.
Again, a no-brainer. If he stays healthy, you’re looking at a decade-long star player.
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Marcus Peters, CB, Kansas City Chiefs.
Yeah, teams are throwing at him. And he’s making them pay by leading the league in interceptions.
Most Overrated Coach: Jay Gruden, Washington Redskins.
Since when is it good coaching when all the other teams are bad?
Most Underrated Coach: Gus Bradley, Jacksonville Jaguars.
Just because the team has a losing record doesn’t mean the coach is doing a bad job. Jaguars’ ownership’s patience will be rewarded next year when Bradley wins coach of the year.
Most Overrated Offensive Player: Dez Bryan, WR, Dallas Cowboys.
There are lots of great receivers in the league right now. Bryant, honestly, isn’t even top 5.
Most Underrated Offensive Player: Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, New York Jets.
You’re just starting to hear what a great season this guy has put together. Jets fans already know though.
Most Overrated Defensive Player: Darrelle Revis, CB, New York Jets.
He’s still a terrific player, but “Revis Island” is no longer a real place.
Most Underrated Defensive Player: Reshad Jones, S, Miami Dolphins.
Who? Exactly. If Jones played on a great defense, he’d be hailed like Kam Chancellor or Tyron Mathieu. Instead, he’s stuck on the crappy Dolphins, and no one’s ever heard of him.