NCAA Football

2022 NFL Awards finalists: Who are the biggest favorites, surprises and snubs?

The NFL announced Wednesday the finalists for eight of the Associated Press awards, which will have winners announced at the 12th annual NFL Honors ceremony on Feb. 9. Here’s what you need to know:

Full list of NFL award finalists:


  • Josh Allen, Bills QB
  • Joe Burrow, Bengals QB
  • Jalen Hurts, Eagles QB
  • Justin Jefferson, Vikings WR
  • Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs QB


  • Nick Bosa, 49ers DE
  • Chris Jones, Chiefs DT
  • Micah Parsons, Cowboys LB


  • Tyreek Hill, Dolphins WR
  • Jalen Hurts, Eagles QB
  • Justin Jefferson, Vikings WR
  • Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs QB



AP Comeback Player of the Year:


  • Brian Daboll, Giants
  • Sean McDermott, Bills
  • Doug Pedersen, Jaguars
  • Kyle Shanahan, 49ers
  • Nick Sirianni, Eagles

AP Assistant COY:

  • Ben Johnson, Lions OC
  • DeMeco Ryans, 49ers DC
  • Shane Steichen, Eagles OC

Athletics Instant Analysis:

Deserved recognition for Jefferson

Let’s face it, it’s a quarterbacks league and quarterbacks award, and Mahomes, Allen, Burrow and Hurts are definitely MVP worthy and one of those four will win the award (my money is on Mahomes). But it’s also good to see a non-quarterback (Minnesota’s Jefferson) get some recognition for his dynamic season.

Jefferson is a receiver, but the third-year pro certainly bested QB Kirk Cousins, racking up a league-leading 128 catches and 1,809 receiving yards. He most likely won’t win, but getting a nod is important. — Jones

Tough call for OPOY

Okay, so like I said, fully expect a quarterback (Mahomes) to win the MVP, even though Burrow, Hurts and Allen are all worthy. But what about Offensive Player of the Year? Will the quarterback who lost win this or will another position player take home this honor?

Since quarterbacks generally take home the MVP, let’s go with someone like Jefferson or Hill (who also transformed his team’s offense with 1,700-plus yards) for Offensive Player of the Year. Jefferson topped Hill with 99 yards and a touchdown. Give him the award. — Jones

Ultimate dark horse for ROY

Entering the season, the quarterback expected to contend for Rookie of the Year honors was Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett. But Purdy came out of nowhere to stand out as a quarterback to challenge Walker and Wilson for that award by winning five straight games and helping lead the 49ers to the NFC West title. Yes, he only has part of a season to show for it. But the importance of his contribution to his team’s success makes him a no-brainer. — Jones

Crowded COY race

The argument could be made for any of the five finalists (Shanahan, Pederson, McDermott, Daboll or Sirianni) to win Coach of the Year. Lions fans and Dolphins fans can take issue with their head coaches Dan Campbell and Mike McDaniels’ dismissals. McDaniel squeaked into the playoffs and Campbell’s crew came up short. They eliminated the Packers from the postseason, so that should count for something. Right?

In the end, the other four coaches all got their teams into the postseason, so that gives them the edge. Shanahan doing it with his third-string quarterback makes him the perfect fit. — Jones

How were the finalists selected?

The AP announced in November that it was updating its voting system for the awards. The 50 nationwide sports journalists on the voting panel ranked their top five picks for MVP and top three picks for other awards. They will also rank their picks for first- and second-team All-Pro players at each position.

Required reading

(Photo: Cary Edmondson / USA Today)

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