With the playoffs now upon us, we take one last look back at the regular season and offer our take on the best and worst of 2009.
A terrific race that included Drew Brees, Brett Favre, Chris Johnson and Philip Rivers. I'll go with the guy who got his team to 14-0 and a 15-10 lead over the Jets before his coach pulled the plug on the unbeaten season.
COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Patriots QB Tom Brady got the nod from the AP voting by sportswriters, but we prefer Williams, who overcame not one but two career-threatening knee injuries to return this year.
COACH OF THE YEAR
Sean Payton, Saints
Plenty of worthy candidates, including Marvin Lewis, Jim Caldwell and Norv Turner. But we went with Payton, whose team bounced back from a bad year to become an elite playoff team.
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Chris Johnson, RB, Titans
Cracked the magical 2,000-yard mark with a transcendent season.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
A very, very tough choice between Woodson and Darrelle Revis, who has become the NFL's premier cover corner. What separated them was the phenomenal all-around play by Woodson, 33, who had nine INTs, three return TDs, four forced fumbles and two sacks. Revis, 24, will win this award before long. And maybe more than once.
Colts defensive coordinator
Although the Colts played almost the entire season without injured All-Pro safety Bob Sanders, Coyer got the most out of a defense that turned out to be far better than expected.
Giants defensive coordinator
MOST IMPROVED PLAYER
Terrell who? Austin was the No. 1 receiver after Dallas said goodbye to Terrell Owens. Austin led the Cowboys with 1,320 yards and 11 TDs. A close second was Vikings wideout Sidney Rice, who had 1,312 yards and eight TDs.
LEAST IMPROVED PLAYER
Brady Quinn, QB, Browns
Before getting injured, Quinn might have even regressed this season, leaving new Browns president Mike Holmgren with plenty of uncertainty heading into next season.
OFFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
Percy Harvin, WR, Vikings
Led all rookies with 790 receiving yards and added six receiving TDs.
DEFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
Brian Cushing, LB, Texans
A terrific season with 133 tackles, four sacks and four interceptions.
BEST FREE-AGENT SIGNING
Darren Sharper, S, Saints
One of the big reasons New Orleans' pass defense became respectable was the acquisition of Sharper, who had nine interceptions.
WORST FREE-AGENT SIGNING
Chris Canty, DT/DE, Giants
The Giants dumped $42 million into the former Cowboys lineman, and he spent the year either nursing injuries or underperforming on game day. Year 2 has to be better than this.