The NFL's Comeback Player of the Year award has been around since 1972 given to players that overcome injury, a Ryan Leaf like season and some form of adversity. This year's award was given, not earned, to Chad Pennington because his only contribution for the award was playing a full season. Did he overcome injury? Obviously. But so did Palmer and Drew Brees -- each of whom had a much better season.
Let's examine this for a second. Drew Brees' overall numbers are better. He helped turn the Saints from a 3-13 team to division winners. Here's the kicker. Brees had a good 2005 season -- as did Carson Palmer -- that was cut short by a late season injury. Pennington, who completed his first full season in his seven-year career, won because injury took him out most of last season and played all 16 games this season. It's not like he had a great 2006 season though. He threw one more touchdown than interceptions. His rating is ten points lower than Brees and Palmer. His 3,352 yards passing ranks 10th in the league. If he was the winner because he played a full season, then that's a joke of an award.
|2005||Tedy Bruschi, Steve Smith|
|1995||Jim Harbaugh, Garrison Heart|
Should Palmer have won? His injury last season was the most documented. Not only did he shred his knee that had experts forecasting a recovery time of a full calendar year, but he was voted in the Pro-Bowl. Did he comeback? Hell yes he did. As did Drew Brees. These guys had question marks coming into the season finishing in the top-five in most of the major passing categories.
Chad Pennington missed most of 2005. His play in 2006 was so-so. Nothing to write home about. Am I making more than I should? Perhaps; I usually do. With a few exceptions, the award is generally not given to greats in the game. And as most of us know, Pennington is not a great in the game -- just another quarterback that manages the game.