The Super Bowl isn't the only culminating event of the 2022 NFL season occurring this week. On Thursday, three days before the championship game, the 12th annual NFL Honors will take place. Live from Symphony Hall in Phoenix, this year's Super Bowl host city, winners will be crowned for all of the league's major awards, from MVP to Coach of the Year.
Ahead of that ceremony, we gathered votes from around the CBS Sports NFL staff to make our own picks for the top accolades. Here, in this space, we're not predicting actual winners as much as selecting our own preferences for the awards.
The voters (17): "Pick Six NFL Podcast" host Will Brinson, senior writer Pete Prisco, NFL insider Jonathan Jones, staff writers Cody Benjamin, John Breech, Ryan Wilson, Tyler Sullivan, Bryan DeArdo, Chris Trapasso, Jordan Dajani, Jared Dubin, Jeff Kerr, and Garrett Podell; NFL editors Kevin Steimle, Brett Anderson, Joel Magaraci, Eric Kernish.
- Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes (11)
- Eagles QB Jalen Hurts (5)
- Bills QB Josh Allen (1)
Finalists without votes: Bengals QB Joe Burrow, Vikings WR Justin Jefferson
Mahomes is the odds-on favorite to claim his second career NFL MVP, and most of us agree with that outcome after the star QB casually topped 5,000 yards and 40 touchdowns to guide Kansas City to its third Super Bowl in five years. The fact that he and Hurts are both this year's MVP headliners and Super Bowl QBs is a testament to the star power in Sunday's big game.
Offensive Player of the Year
- Vikings WR Justin Jefferson (13)
- Eagles QB Jalen Hurts (2)
- Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes (1)
Finalists without votes: Dolphins WR Tyreek Hill
Non-finalists with votes: 49ers RB Christian McCaffrey (1)
This award's tough in that it tends to reward non-QB standouts; Mahomes and Hurts are both offensive juggernauts, hence their MVP candidacy. But Jefferson was once again a machine in Minnesota, eclipsing 1,800 receiving yards with ease and electricity.
Defensive Player of the Year
- 49ers DE Nick Bosa (11)
- Cowboys LB Micah Parsons (3)
- Chiefs DT Chris Jones (1)
Non-finalists with votes: Eagles LB Haason Reddick (2)
Bosa is also the favorite to take home the actual hardware, thanks to an 18.5-sack season as the motor of San Francisco's top-rated front. But Reddick is a glaring omission from the real NFL Honors, entering the Super Bowl with 19.5 sacks and six forced fumbles, including his dominant playoff run in Philadelphia.
Offensive Rookie of the Year
- Jets WR Garrett Wilson (9)
- 49ers QB Brock Purdy (3)
- Seahawks RB Kenneth Walker III (2)
Non-finalists receiving votes: Saints WR Chris Olave (1), Chiefs RB Isiah Pacheco (1), Packers WR Christian Watson (1)
Purdy drew a trio of votes despite starting less than half a season in San Francisco; the seventh-round rookie was far more poised than expected, thrust into the lineup. Wilson was simply steadier throughout the entire year, topping 1,000 yards as the Jets' clear No. 1 despite middling QB play in New York.
Defensive Rookie of the Year
- Jets CB Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner (16)
- Lions DE Aidan Hutchinson (1)
Finalists without votes: Seahawks CB Tariq Woolen
The closest thing to a unanimous pick among our voters, "Sauce" was also the NFL's closest thing to an instant shutdown corner in recent memory. Woolen didn't garner a single vote despite tying the league lead for interceptions (6), perhaps because Seattle's defense was far more mercurial as a whole.
Comeback Player of the Year
- Seahawks QB Geno Smith (6)
- 49ers RB Christian McCaffrey (6)
- Giants RB Saquon Barkley (2)
Non-finalists with votes: Eagles DE Brandon Graham (2), Giants OG Nick Gates (1)
The only stalemate on the list, this one probably depends on what you consider a "comeback player:" Smith deserves plenty of praise for his unexpected breakout as a more decisive passer, whereas McCaffrey had a pronounced rebound from an injury-riddled 2021 to help carry the 49ers' offense. Graham, who got two votes despite no NFL Honors presence, logged 11 sacks for the league's most productive pass rush after missing almost all of 2021 due to injury.
Coach of the Year
- Giants' Brian Daboll (6)
- 49ers' Kyle Shanahan (4)
- Jaguars' Doug Pederson (2)
- Eagles' Nick Sirianni (1)
- Bills' Sean McDermott (1)
Non-finalists without votes: Seahawks' Pete Carroll (2), Lions' Dan Campbell (1)
The fact that all five finalists got at least one vote is a testament to how many impressive coaching performances we witnessed this season. Daboll's was simply tops among them all; few expected the Giants to make the playoffs with such a transitional roster, let alone advance in the postseason with Daniel Jones emerging under center.