PITTSBURGH - DECEMBER 12: Andrew Whitworth #77 of the Cincinnati Bengals catches a touchdown pass against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the game on December 12 2010 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
This season's Pro Bowl may be Bengal-less but that doesn't mean that it should be. Andrew Whitworth, who won the fan vote for tackle this season, was still snubbed from the game that 99 percent of NFL fans don't watch. Even though the entire team, including Whitworth, was snubbed, that doesn't mean that everybody goes home empty handed.
The Cincinnati chapter of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) honored both Whitworth and Benson with awards on Wednesday. Whitworth was named team MVP and Benson was given the "Good Guy" Award.
In Whitworth's last 35 games that he's started at left tackle, he's only given up four sacks and while he was at left guard, where he started 57 games, he only gave up six sacks.
In choosing the MVP, Whitworth’s entire body of work stood out. He has done the job against the top pass rushers in the league, he’s an excellent run blocker, and he’s clearly one of the team leaders. Terrell Owens had a great year, but in the end consistency won out.
Whitworth is the second offensive lineman in the nine years the Cincinnati PFWA has named an MVP to win the award, joining Willie Anderson in 2006. Past winners were QB Jon Kitna (2002-03), HB Rudi Johnson (2004), QB Carson Palmer (2005), WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh (2007-08) and CBs Leon Hall and Johnathan Joseph (2009).
Benson, who could have easily been named co-MVP with Hall and Joseph last season, won the "Good Guy" award this season. He was given the award for having excellent relations with local members of the media.
In a season in which it has been difficult to talk, Benson has always been available, whether on Wednesdays or after games, when he has been one of the last ones in the locker room. In a frustrating season such as this one has been for the team, it’s extremely important to us that he has set an example as a team leader to help us bring our readers the information that they so strongly desire.
To date, only Palmer, Houshmandzadeh and Anderson have been both MVP and "Good Guy" award winners.