FOXBOROUGH - The New England Patriots season might have ended on the outside looking in for the first time in four years, but that does not mean there was not plenty to celebrate for the team. Super Bowl weekend came, not only with the big game but also with the annual NFL awards ceremony. It was there when the Patriots managed to take home a big award, even if they could not be hoisting the Lombardi Trophy, as they have become so accustomed to doing.
Last weekend, it was announced that Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore had won the 2019 Defensive Player of the Year award, per NFL. He became the first Patriot to ever win the award and he has brought honor to the entire organization for doing so! What's more, Gilmore was truly deserving of the win. He was able to pull ahead of strong contenders like T.J. Watt, Aaron Donald, and Cameron Jordan by putting up a career year. He led the league in defended passes with twenty and in interceptions with six, returning two of them for touchdowns. He also held quarterbacks to passer ratings of a puny 44.1, en route to shutting down just about every talented receiving option he faced. Gilmore was the shutdown star of one of the league's best defenses. He deserves the award and it is awesome to see a Patriot finally win it! He is definitely the best free-agent acquisition that Bill Belichick ever nabbed.
Gilmore's win comes after Donald, the defensive tackle for the Los Angeles Rams, had won the award in consecutive years. The reign of terror is over now and the award is with the Patriots! Furthermore, Gilmore became the first cornerback to win the award since Charles Woodson did it in 2009. He was the first secondary position player to win it since Troy Polamalu in 2010. In a league dominated by quarterbacks, the award has drifted off to being dominated by linebackers and linemen. But Gilmore is so talented that he single-handedly ended that pattern this year, with his All-Pro and Pro Bowl year.
It was good to see Gilmore win, especially after Richard Seymour was once again denied entry into the Hall of Fame (Polamalu was the big name admitted). But as for the other awards, they were similarly apt. Lamar Jackson was named MVP, Michael Thomas was named Offensive Player of the Year, John Harbaugh was named Coach of the Year, and Kyler Murray and Nick Bosa were the two Rookies of the Year.
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