Xavien Howard turned in a fantastic 2020 season that had him join an elite group of players throughout NFL history but in the end, he didn’t win the NFL Defensive Player of the Year honor.
The fact that Howard didn’t win the award is not all that upsetting. The knee-jerk reaction as a Miami Dolphins fan leads us down the path of anger but Howard should be upset. He should be pissed off. Not because he didn’t win, but because he got slapped in the face in the process.
50 votes were on the table for the DPOY award. Aaron Donald who took home the award, again, took 27 of those votes for a victory. Despite the fact that Donald is an incredible talent, he didn’t have the same year he has had the last two seasons. In fact, you should easily argue that if anyone was going to win it, it wasn’t Donald.
As the DPOY highlights came on the screen, my wife asked who was going to win. I told her, “I want Howard to win, I think T.J. Watt should win, and that Donald would win”. I was right. And while you may find my choice of Watt over Howard a bit discerning, I can at least say that Watt was far more deserving than Donald.
The slap, however, came with the voting. Watt received 20 first-place votes and Howard only received three total. That is incredible BS. Howard posted double-digit interceptions for the first in his career and was the first player to do it since Antonio Cromartie had 10 in 2007.
Howard’s season was close to that of Stephon Gilmore who won the award a couple of years ago. Yet this year, Howard only receives three votes? That is the worst part of this entire scenario.
The fact that Howard didn’t win is fine but the lack of respect and recognition for his performance is. Three votes, that wasn’t recognition. It was a slap in his face.