The Dallas Cowboys and their standout rookie linebacker Micah Parsons got some rough news last Wednesday ahead of Week 18. The rookie tested positive for COVID-19 and was be unable to play against the Eagles.
Most Cowboys fans were just relieved that the former Penn State LB will likely be back in time to start for the playoffs. But what they might not have realized is that Parsons’ inability to play in the final week of the regular season meant that he would only have 16 games to stack his stats for the Defensive Player of the Year award.
While the rookie had to stay back in Dallas, his main competitor for the honor, T.J. Watt of the Pittsburgh Steelers, went to Baltimore and added one sack, three solo tackles, one tackle for loss, and three QB hits to his statistics. This allowed him to tie the all-time record set by Michael Strahan for sacks in a season in just 15 games played.
That brings Watt to 22.5 sacks, 48 solo tackles, and five forced fumbles on the year.
Cowboys’ Micah Parsons inability to play in Week 18 may have been the dagger in his DPOY award chances
If Parsons went to Philly and had a multi-sack game and made plays all over the field like he normally does, it could have been a big boost to his campaign. But even though there is no saying that the rookie playing could’ve changed anything, his absence along with Watt’s record-tying showing definitely didn’t help his chances.
But, let’s be clear. This doesn’t take away anything from Parsons’ accomplishments this year. As we mentioned a few weeks back, one of the main reasons we felt the rookie deserved this award was because of his swiss-army knife abilities. Yes, Parsons has fewer sacks than Watt. But Watt never successfully floated into the secondary like the rookie.
Parsons even told the press that he takes pride in “being the most versatile player in the NFL.” According to Jori Epstein of USA Today, Parsons also said he sacrificed his individual stats to help the defense as a whole.
The WynnBet betting odds for DPOY have closed now that the season is over, but we do know that Watt was still the favorite headed into Week 18. While we are still pulling for Parsons, we sadly think Watt will win this one. Thankfully, Parsons will easily take home Defensive Rookie of the Year, and most importantly for Cowboys fans, he is just getting started. There could be many DPOY awards in his future.
We won’t know anything until the NFL Honors airs on Thursday, Feb. 10. Our fingers are crossed, but we sadly think the trophy will be headed to Pittsburgh.