Comeback player of the year is a debate creator.
I think Tom Brady winning it helps show it to be too much of a popularity contest among the rehabilitated. Sure, he deserves a lot of credit for his return. But too many voters just look for the biggest name coming back from a big injury and enter his name.
The easy choice is too often the choice in a situation like this.
(I link again to this recent column that runs through how the AP voting panel works and who’s on it.)
I believe Cedric Benson, who was a bust let go by the team that drafted him and resurfaced to run for 1,251 yards for Cincinnati, was a better candidate. I think Cadillac Williams, who came back from two knee injuries to run effectively for the Bucs, was better, too.
Vince Young got seven votes and finished third. To me, that’s another example of easy name recognition at work.
Like Benson, he did well to revive his career. But while Chicago jettisoned the running back, Young always had the support of Titans owner Bud Adams and was consistently touted as the future even while he bottomed out.
I was very impressed with Young. Once he was reinserted, he did far better than I expected, though questions remain. While he didn’t finish especially well, he’s grown by leaps and bounds. His performance against Arizona was spectacular.
But it’s not that long of a trip to come back from anywhere if you’ve remained a favorite of the guy who writes the checks.