This is somewhat confusing.
It’s never been entirely clear what a Comeback Player of the Year is in major sports. Come back from what? Drugs? Tragedy? Incompetence of a team’s management?
This is one reason why the NBA changed the award to Most Improved Player a few years back.
So it’s tough to know what to make of now-Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill winning the award at NFL Honors on Saturday in Miami, during Super Bowl LIV week.
— NFL (@NFL) February 1, 2020
Tannehill, after all, was never terrible.
He hasn’t endured a tragedy.
He has had two significant injuries, yes, but nothing that was considered career-threatening.
So can we say that what he came back from was…. playing for the Miami Dolphins under Joe Philbin and Adam Gase?
Ryan Tannehill shocked the world and saved his career.
▪️ Signs one-year deal as backup
▪️ Named starter after Titans started 2-4
▪️ Revives career
▪️ Leads elite offense
▪️ Beat Brady and Lamar in consecutive weeks
▪️ About to get franchise QB money
That’s a comeback. pic.twitter.com/pVs0wbLWEx
— B/R Gridiron (@brgridiron) February 1, 2020
Either way, Tannehill did have a solid season. Better than solid. Aided by an elite offensive line and bruising runner (Derrick Henry), a combination he never really had in Miami — 2016 with Jay Ayaji was closest — Tannehill did more than game manage. He led the league in some categories after taking over from Marcus Mariota. And he didn’t mess up as Henry carried the load and the Titans to the AFC Championship Game before they were exposed against Kansas City.
Still, Comeback Player of the Year?
What exactly did Ryan Tannehill come back from? Shouldnt he be considered "Most Improved"? Didnt he finish last season with the Dolphins fine, just shitty?
— Ryan Yousefi (@Rizzmiggiz) February 1, 2020
Seems a stretch — just as it’s a stretch to expect Tannehill to be a top-5 quarterback next season.