The NFL hasn’t always given out the Comeback Player of the Year award. It began doling out the award in 1963 but stopped in 1966. In 1998, the league began giving out the CPOY honors again and has every year since.
Peyton Manning won the award back in 2012 after missing the previous season. Other notable players like Tom Brady, Michael Vick, and Drew Brees have taken home the honors over the past 20 years.
Favorites for the 2020 Comeback Player of the Year Award
Oddsmakers have Ben Roethlisberger listed as the favorite (+260; Fan Duel) for the 2020 award and for the last few months, Rob Gronkowski has been right behind him. Yet, with the Patriots signing Cam Newton, the former MVP (+340) is now in front of Gronk (+420).
Roethlisberger played just two games last season and Pittsburgh is expected to bounce back to the postseason after an 8-8 campaign (Big Ben is looking sharp this offseason). Newton, who hasn’t been assured the starting gig in New England, or Gronkowski, who we are still not sure how many snaps per game he will play, could easily win the award, though Roethlisberger is the favorite for a reason.
Nick Foles, who is listed at +1400, which is 8th on the list, stands out as decent value. Foles is favored to win the starting gig in Chicago and could have a Ryan Tannehill-type rise this season. Tannehill won the award last year after taking over for Marcus Mariota early in the 2019 campaign.
What About Defense, Special Teams?
J.J. Watt (+700) is fourth on Fan Duel’s list, though it would be surprising if he took home the honors. Only five defensive players have ever won the award and that includes Tedy Bruschi, who in 2005, was the co-recipient of the award along with Steve Smith.
Fan Duel offers odds on several defensive players and even has odds on a kicker—Stephen Gostowski (+6000). Don’t snicker; Jim Martin, a kicker for the Baltimore Colts, was the first NFL recipient of the award back in 1963. Still, it’s unlikely that we’ll see that again this year, especially with several strong candidates at the top of the list.