Ryan Tannehill Winning Comeback Player Award is Disrespectful


Ryan Tannehill put up career numbers for the Tennessee Titans in 2019. He was signed last off-season to be a backup QB to Marcus Mariota, but would be inserted into the lineup early in the year and went 7-3 as a starter, helping lead the Titans into the playoffs as the final Wild Card team. Titans won games at Patriots and at Ravens, before losing to the Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game.

Tannehill completed a career-high 70% of his passes, threw 22 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. On Saturday night, he was named the AP Comeback Player of the Year. And that’s extremely dumb and frustrating.

Not to take anything away from Tannehill, I was blown away with how well he played and how he helped manage the Titans into the playoffs. He showed great improvement and was a big part of the Titans success. But what exactly did he “comeback” from, as the award indicates?

Four players received more than 2 votes – Tannehill, Jimmy Garoppolo, Darren Waller, and Travis Frederick.

  • Garoppolo came back from a torn ACL, suffered week 3 of 2018. He returned this year and helped lead SF to a 13-3 record, #1 seed in NFC and the Super Bowl
  • Waller came back from substance abuse issues and caught 90 passes, for 1,145 yards and 3 touchdowns for the Raiders.
  • Frederick came back from Guillain–Barré syndrome and started all 16 games for the Cowboys

Torn ACL, drugs, and an attacked immune system. Meanwhile, Ryan Tannehill came back from….. ummm…..from….from what? From being bad? From Adam Gase? What exactly did Ryan Tannehill come back from between 2018 and 2019?

Tannehill started 11 games in 2018. He missed 5 games in the middle of the season and finished the year as the starter from week 11 on. So you can’t use the injury excuse, because he came back from that in 2018. So we’re giving the award to a guy who overcame bad coaching, bad culture, and bad team? Maybe Most Improved Player would be more appropriate?

For content, here are the last 10 winners of the award

  • 2018 – Andrew Luck (missed 2017 season with injuries
  • 2017 – Keenan Allen (tore ACL week 1 during 2016 season)
  • 2016 – Jordy Nelson (came back from a torn ACL suffered during 2015 season)
  • 2015 – Eric Berry (RECOVERED FROM CANCER!!!!)
  • 2014 – Rob Gronkowski (came back from torn ACL during 2013 season)
  • 2013 – Philip Rivers (underwhelming 2012 – similar to Tannehill)
  • 2012 – Peyton Manning (came back from a BROKEN NECK)
  • 2011 – Matthew Stafford (came back from broken collarbone)
  • 2010 – Mike Vick (returned to the NFL after two years in JAIL)
  • 2009 – Tom Brady (came back from a torn ACL)

What are we doing with this award – is it going to guys who came back from underwhelming seasons like Tannehill in 2019 and Rivers in 2013? Or does it go to a guy who overcame a broken neck, went to jail, or was cleared of cancer?

With all due respect to Ryan Tannehill, who had a terrific 2019 season, him winning the Comeback Player of the Year Award is extremely disrespectful to guys like Manning, Vick, and Berry from the past and guys like Garoppolo and Frederick this year.

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