2021 NFL Hipsty Awards
Updated: Feb 17, 2022
Rookie QB of the Year Nominees
Zach Wilson (Jets)
Zach Wilson won Rookie QB of the Week twice. Wilson started out rough. He was injured and made lots of mistakes. However, he showed a glimmer of hope when he beat the number one seed, Titans, in the regular season. He continued to grow and show progress at the end of the season, and he started to run more and turn the ball over less.
Justin Fields (Bears)
Justin Fields won Rookie of the Week twice. He got a few wins and took some ugly L's. However, Fields flashed all season, and I think it's clear that he is the best QB in the draft talent-wise. However, due to injury and situation, he struggled.
Davis Mills (Texans)
Davis Mills won Rookie of the Week twice. Mills was drafted in the third round as a QB that nobody expected much from this year to a team that nobody expected much from. However, he has grown from the concrete and showed himself to be one of the best rookies. He posted multiple 300 yard games and multi-touchdown affairs against good teams.
Rookie QB of the Year Mac Jones (Patriots)
Mac Jones landed in the best situation, and he took advantage. He made the playoffs in his first year. One of Mac's greatest strengths was knowing his role and playing it well. Mac struggled at the end of the year, but he had a great rookie year. Mac won Rookie of the Week four times.
Defensive Rookie of the Year Nominees
Adafe Oweh (Ravens)
Adafe Oweh had 5 sacks, 23 tackles, and 3 forced fumbles. What a steal for the Ravens. In a year where the Ravens struggled with injuries on defense, this young man came up big.
Gregory Rousseau (Bills)
Rousseau went off this year. He is one of the reasons his team's defense is one of the best in the league, if not the best. 4 sacks, 42 solo tackles, and a forced fumble.
Patrick Surtain II (Broncos)
Patrick Surtain II is only a rookie, but he played like a vet. He was locking people down this year. He held Ja'Marr Chase to 3 yards in a game. He had 4 interceptions and ran one of them back for a touchdown. He is the next great corner.
Defensive Rookie of the Year Micah Parsons (Cowboys)
Micah Parsons looks like maybe the best pick in the draft, and he has been one of the most significant parts of the Dallas defense turning things around.
Offensive Rookie of the Year Nominees
Kyle Pitts (Falcons)
Everyone predicted that Kyle Pitts would make a huge splash, and he did. Pitts had a 1,000-yard season and now joins the elite tight ends in his first year, and he is just the second rookie in the entire history of football to do so. He now joins Mike Ditka as a 1,000-yard rookie receiving tight end.
Jaylen Waddle (Dolphins)
Waddle exploded on the scene this year. He broke the rookie reception record by making over 100 catches.
Najee Harris (Steelers)
Najee Harris has stepped up and has been the leader of the Steeler offense as a rookie this year. Harris broke Franco Harris's rookie rushing record.
Offensive Rookie of the Year Ja’Marr Chase (Bengals)
Chase had 1,455 yards, 81 receptions, and 13 TDs. Chase is a young phenom, and he is everything he was supposed to be and then some. He looks like the next young generational talent. In a class of excellent rookies, he still wins by a mile, most yards by a rookie receiver in a game (266 yards). He broke the single-season franchise receiving record for the same team Chad "Ochocinco" Johnson played for.
Offensive Player of the Year Nominees
Deebo Samuel (49ers)
Deebo Samuel was one of the best offensive players this year, and he got it done in the receiving and running games. Deebo was an all-purpose back, and he is why the 49ers made the playoffs.
Ja’Marr Chase (Bengals)
Ja’Marr Chase has been playing like a vet, and he has the third-most receiving TDs this season.
Cooper Kupp (Rams)
Cooper Kupp got Matthew Stafford and never looked back. He has gone insane this season with 16 touchdowns and over 1,900 receiving yards. Kupp was the best receivers in the league this year.
Offensive Player of the Year Jonathan Taylor (Colts)
Taylor had a monster season. He had 18 touchdowns and over 1,800 yards. He was briefly in the MVP conversation, and he was the reason the Colts even sniffed the playoffs. He was the best offensive player this year.
Defensive Player of the Year Nominees
Micah Parsons (Cowboys)
Micah Parsons had 59 tackles, 3 forced fumbles, and 13 sacks. He had a truly special season and made an immediate impact.
Darius Leonard (Colts)
Darius Leonard was great this year. He kept the Colts together and led the league in forced fumbles.
Trevon Diggs (Cowboys)
Trevon Diggs had a historically great season leading players and teams with 11 interceptions, and he had 2 interception returns.
Defensive Player of the Year TJ Watt (Steelers)
TJ Watt had a fantastic year. He was the lifeblood of the Steelers defense, and he absolutely wrecked games. He is the largest reason his team made the playoffs. He tied Michael Strahan's sack record 21.5 sacks, but unofficially broke it.
Comeback Player of the Year Nominees
Cam Akers (Rams)
Cam Akers went down before the season with an Achilles injury. He worked his way back in record time and was added back to his team in the last few weeks of the season.
Dak Prescott (Cowboys)
Dak Prescott was almost a cautionary tale last year when his season ended suddenly while he was still on the franchise tag. Fast forward to this year, where he has bounced back from his injury as fast as possible and is the highest-paid QB in the league. He led his team to the playoffs and was briefly in the MVP discussion.
Jimmy G (49ers)
Jimmy could hardly play last year due to injury. When he did play, it looked ugly because he wasn't healthy. The 49ers traded up to draft his replacement. But low and behold, this year, Jimmy G is once again leading the 49ers to the promised land.
Comeback Player of the Year Joe Burrow (Bengals)
Last year, Joe Burrow ended a promising season with an ACL/MCL tear. This year, he took the Bengals to the playoffs and led one of the most prolific offenses in the league.
Moment of the Year Nominees
Super Bowl Foles
On a snowy day, the Bears were underdogs to Russell Wilson and the Seahawks in Seattle. However, Nick Foles didn't care. He led the Bears to score 9 points in the fourth quarter to get back in the game. He threw a TD to former Seahawks tight end Jimmy Graham to put the Bears within one point. Then, Foles threw a successful two-point conversion to Damiere Byrd, who made a fantastic catch in the back of the end zone to win the game.
Brady Beats Belichick
Brady did everything there was to do in the NFL. He dominated the league, winning six Super Bowls with the Patriots, and then went and won another one without Belichick. The only bar he had left was to beat Belichick. Brady went to the Patriots house a little short-handed in the rain. He took everything Belichick had and beat him. He out-Belichicked Belichick, and slowly ground his way to victory.
Ben Roethlisberger's Last Home Game
Ben Roethlisberger had one last home game against the Browns with playoffs on the line and completely came through. Ben got to have another game-winning drive and even got a walk-off TD score after a defensive turnover. The playoffs were the least important part of the night, though. Everyone welled up with emotion watching Ben get his legendary send-off in the stadium where he made his name.
Moment of the Year Cam Newton, I'm BAAAACK
Cam Newton making his return to his original team mid-season was already special. However, Cam came off the couch with half a week of practice, scored 2 touchdowns, 1 throwing and 1 running, and beat the most dominant team in the league, Arizona Cardinals, at that time. You couldn't write a better comeback moment than that. When he screamed I'm back in the end zone, you could feel the emotion at home. It was visceral.
Coach of the Year Nominees
Brian Flores (Dolphins)
Flores lost his starting QB and started the season 1-7. The season looked bleak. However, Flores galvanized his team and won eight of his last nine games. It's the only time a team had a seven-game winning streak in NFL history after a seven-game losing streak. Also, he coached around a lot of things this year like the Dolphins poor running game and offensive line.
Rich Bisaccia (Raiders)
Bisaccia took over this team as everything seemed to be deteriorating, and he helped steady the ship and guide the Raiders to the playoffs. He is the only interim head coach to do so in 31 years.
Matt LaFleur (Packers)
Matt LaFleur really doesn't get enough credit for what he has done with the Packers. Year after year, he wins and does it at a high level. He won thirteen games for the third season in a row. Not only does he win a lot, but it feels easy, and it feels like only four to five games are truly ever up for grabs for the Packers. They are the one seed yet again, and LaFleur is looking like he is on a Hall of Fame track.
Coach of the Year Mike Vrabel (Titans)
Mike Vrabel is the undisputed Coach of the Year. He lost his top receivers and the lifeblood of his team running Derrick Henry, and all he did was win the one seed in the AFC. He beat the Bills and the Chiefs and the Rams. Vrabel has been simply phenomenal this year, and it seems like there is nothing that can stop him.
Derek Carr (Raiders)
Derek Carr has led his team to the playoffs despite losing his best receiver, not having his coach, and not having Darren Waller a lot of the season. He is top 5 QB, statistically, and the Raiders were undefeated when Carr threw for 300 yards.
Aaron Rodgers (Packers)
Rodgers got the one seed for his team. He won thirteen games, and he was consistently great. Rodgers has been efficient, apart from his original embarrassing loss to the Saints. He only has 4 interceptions on the season and 35+TDs.
Joe Burrow (Bengals)
Joe Burrow has turned the Bengals around in the course of two years. He took the team from 4-11 to 10-7, and he is a truly generational talent. Joe Burrow broke a franchise single-game passing yard record against the Ravens. Joe Burrow also has the fourth-most yards thrown in a single game in all of NFL history.
The MVP Tom Brady (Bucs)
Tom Brady is MVP of the 2021 season. Tom Brady's Bucs team has fallen apart, and the Bucs defense was injured all year. In addition to that, his running backs got injured, his tight end Rob Gronkowski got hurt, and he lost Chris Godwin to a season-ending injury. Still, Brady won thirteen games. He threw for more TDs and yards than everyone else. He is the undoubted MVP, and to pretend otherwise is insulting. Not to mention he outproduced every other QB at 44 years old.
Game of the Year Nominees
Cowboys vs. Bucs Season Opener (Week 1)
What a banger to open the NFL season. Everyone assumed the Dallas Cowboys were going to get killed. However, they hung with the defending champs, going touchdown for touchdown with them. Both teams were fully healthy and put on a show. However, in the end, Tom Brady had the last laugh when he led the Bucs into a game-winning field goal (31-29), leaving only two seconds for the Cowboys.
Ravens vs. Colts (Week 5)
The Colts were whooping the Ravens on Monday Night Football. Going into the fourth quarter, it was 22 to 9. It looked like the Colts had this game won. However, Lamar Jackson said not so fast and led his team to score sixteen points in the fourth quarter. The defense played inspired. They blocked a field goal and held the Colts to three points total in the fourth quarter. Lamar Jackson led a game-winning drive and won with a walk-off TD in overtime. It was one of the best games I've ever seen.
Bengals vs. Chiefs Shootout at Arrowhead Stadium (Week 17)
Joe Burrow and Patrick Mahomes put on a show. Mahomes threw 2 touchdowns and for 259 yards. Joe Burrow threw for 446 yards and 4 TDs. Ja'Marr Chase had 266 yards and 3 TDs. The Chiefs running back, Darrel Williams, had 2 TDs and 88 rushing yards. This was one of the best shootouts of the year, and it came down to the final drive. The Bengals scored seventeen points in the second half and mostly shut the Chiefs down. The Bengals won the game 34-31.
Game of the Year Chargers vs. Raiders Las Vegas Finale (Week 18)
The Chargers versus Raiders was the last game of the season. Win and you are into the playoffs. The Chargers and Raiders had a shootout. It was a touchdown for touchdown, field goal for field goal game. The Chargers converted a million fourth-down conversions, refusing to die. Both teams threw the ball so much that it felt like the year's longest game, and then it went into overtime. Both teams were dog-tired. Neither team was able to score the walk off touchdown. After trading field goals, it was the Raiders who got the last field goal and won the game, eliminating the Chargers from the playoffs and ensuring a playoff spot for themselves.