Charles Woodson, defensive back for the Green Bay Packers, has been named the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year, and deservedly so…sort of.
Woodson deserved the award — his interceptions (9) and touchdowns (3) were tied for the league lead — but perhaps Darrelle Revis, the New York Jets cornerback, deserved it more. (By the way, I am a Jets fan and an alum of the same school at which Woodson won the Heisman trophy, so I’ve got reason to like both guys.)
Revis became well known this season for his ability to shut down the league’s best receivers. If you’ve watched a Jets game the past few weeks, you’ve seen the graphic: the one that shows how Revis has held the likes of Terrell Owens, Randy Moss, Andre Johnson, Steve Smith, and Chad Ochocinco to minuscule numbers. If you’re looking for a better shut-down corner than Revis, you’ve got a greater chance finding the Kiffin family vacationing in Knoxville.
Although I haven’t seen the Packers nearly as much, I know that Woodson is more of a “do it all” corner. His versatility is evidenced by the interceptions (including the aforementioned three that he took to the house) and the four forced fumbles. He recorded 20 more tackles than Revis and notched two sacks as well. Woodson is still a great athlete and a true playmaker, even if he doesn’t quite compare to Revis when it comes to locking up a wideout.
I’ve read some profiles on both Woodson and Revis recently and, not surprisingly, they have a lot in common. They both seem to understand the value of film study, impressing their respective coaches with their attention to detail. Knowing your opponents’ tendencies is critical to a defensive back’s success, and these two stars understand that.
So, was Revis robbed? Even though I was pulling for him, I can’t honestly say he was. He would have received my vote — in addition to Revis’ personal accomplishments, the Jets had the best defense in the league, allowing the fewest yards, points, and passing yards — but to say Woodson wasn’t a worthy candidate is ridiculous. I was surprised by Woodson’s margin of victory — he received twice as many votes as Revis. I suppose it doesn’t really matter, I just feel like this could have gone either way and the voting doesn’t seem to reflect that.
Woodson’s win, in a way, makes Colt McCoy’s failure to win this year’s Heisman Trophy even more surprising. These awards, unfortunately, can sometimes become “lifetime achievement” trophies. Sophomore Mark Ingram beat out McCoy, who had just as impressive a season as Ingram and was the senior with the remarkable career. While voters ignored McCoy’s complete body of work (as they should), perhaps Woodson got extra votes because of his long, successful NFL career. While Woodson just finished his 13th season, Revis is only in his third.
The consolation prize for Revis? His season is still going.