Congrats to Rams defensive end Robert Quinn, who was voted NFL Defensive Player of the Year by the Pro Football Writers Association of America.
Well done, PFWA.
I'm pleasantly surprised that the PFWA chose Quinn. Not because he didn't deserve the award; he was a worthy choice. But sadly, I'm used to seeing other media voting organizations, including the Baseball Writers Association, usually handing the major individual awards to players from winning teams, playoff teams, championship-caliber teams.
Too many members of the baseball writers begin the process by searching for candidates from winning or playoff-bound teams, and then go from there, shopping for a player who can fit a lazy or convenient narrative. There are exceptions of course; voting Seattle pitcher Felix Hernandez the AL Cy Young award in 2010 is one prominent and welcome example.
This strange front-runner mindset unfair to great players that are stuck on bad, or losing, teams. By downgrading an award candidate who has the bad luck of playing for a loser, you're essentially punishing the guy because his teammates weren't good enough.
It makes no sense.
Kudos to the PFWA for being intelligent and discerning by refusing to penalize Quinn because (A) the Rams offense didn't score enough points; (B) the injury-shredded secondary was a liability in too many games.
Quinn certainly did his part in the quest to make the Rams a winner; he had 19 sacks, led the league with 91 pressures, forced seven fumbles and was rated among the top five 4-3 defensive ends in playing the run. Can you imagine Quinn's numbers if he played on a team that routinely rolled up nice-sized leads to put opposing quarterbacks into must-pass situations?
Quinn continues to collect awards. The Pro Bowl, All-NFC, All-Pro, and Defensive Player of the Year.
There's another big one to come: The Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year award, which will be announced on Feb. 1.
We'll see if the AP voters get that one right. There is some overlap, but this isn't the same panel of voters as the PFWA ... so there's always a chance Quinn will be penalized for the Rams' 7-9 record.
One thing I know about the PFWA: I may not agree with every decision the group makes on awards, but I do know that their voters takes the process seriously and invest time and thought into getting it right.
The Rams are going to have to reach deep to take care of Quinn on a new contract. We'll discuss that in an upcoming "Bytes" soon.
Thanks for reading...