There's nothing quite as fun as superlatives and even the Arizona Cardinals get their own list for a dreadful 2022 season. But this list is a combination of both awards, highlights, and just some cool stuff from the year that I wanted to show off to make us laugh a little and appreciate football for what it is.
Without further ado, let's get into some superlatives for the 2022 Arizona Cardinals!
Social Media Moment of the Year: A "High School Musical 2" reference
If you don't know the song "Breaking Free" by Zac Efron and Venessa Hudgens then do yourself a favor and go listen to it. This article will still be here waiting for you when you get back.
... Did you listen to it? I hope so because it makes this tweet SO MUCH BETTER!
The pick-six from Marco Wilson against the New Orleans Saints generated not one, but two amazing tweets from the Cardinals' Twitter account!
I do have a couple of runner-ups that I would be remiss to not include...
Honestly, the Cardinals' Twitter account was able to keep us sane for the most part during this disastrous season...
Best Outfit Drip: Kyler Murray the Leprechaun?
All I'm saying is I've never seen Murray and a bottle of Mountain Dew in the same room at the same time. Seriously, Murray could've disappeared on a green screen and nobody would've known! Someone should tell Kyler that St. Patrick's Day is in March! The man was cosplaying as the Green Giant. Kyler Murray? More like Kyler the Frog, amirite? When Kyle Murray walks into a room, "All-Star" by Smash Mouth starts playing... I really hope you understand what that is a reference to. Anyways, I think that's enough green jokes... for now.
Fantasy Player of the Year: DeAndre Hopkins
In standard points per reception (PPR) fantasy football leagues, Hopkins recorded 151.7 points. That would have been terrible if he had played 17 games, however, he did this in nine games. That's an average of ~16.9 fantasy points per game. So, while Hopkins had just the 47th most points scored by a wide receiver in 2022, he was averaging inside the top 10 in PPG. When he was on the field, you were likely winning your games.
Iron Man Toughest Player: Budda Baker
Remember when a report came out that Baker was going to injured reserve? No one would blame you if you forgot because he never did and wound up only missing week 18 because the Cardinals decided to shut him down for the year. Baker is as tough as they get and is one of the few Cardinals players who deserve access to the Salty Spittoon.
Catch of the Year: DeAndre Hopkins's one-handed touchdown snag vs Vikings
In case you forget, Nuk Hopkins makes the toughest catches look easy. This was on full display against the Vikings when Hopkins simply extended his arm out while being covered and the ball looked as though it was attracted to his hand like a magnet. I am still unsure why physics stopped working on this play, but it was phenomenal.
In fairness, this four-yard snag against the Los Angeles Chargers is a great runner-up.
Play of the Year: Kyler Murray scrambles for eternity for two-point conversion
Murray's two-point scramble against the Raiders was longer than the Snyder Cut of "The Justice League" movie. Ok, maybe I am being a bit dramatic, but it was still just a jaw-dropping play that still has me wondering how on earth he pulled it off. The play was marvelous and was instrumental in the roaring comeback the Cardinals made to get an upset win vs Las Vegas.
Rookie of the Year: Myjai Sanders & Cameron Thomas
Truth be told, the Cardinals got very little out of their rookie class in year one. Trey McBride had flashes, but when he was given the opportunity to start after Zach Ertz's injury, he didn't seize the role the way we wanted. Both Sanders and Thomas had three sacks a piece and look like good foundational pieces for the pass rush, so they can split this award.
Biggest Surprise: Greg Dortch
Raise your hand if you had Greg Dortch as the third-leading receiver for the Cardinals in 2022... now put your hand back down because you're a filthy liar. Dortch became a borderline household name for Cardinals fans and we are hoping he'll be back in 2023, as he is set to be a free agent.
Biggest Pro Bowl Snub: J.J. Watt
You cannot explain why Watt didn't deserve a Pro Bowl this year. Few Cardinals did, and that's why only one was selected (Budda Baker), however, Watt compiled 12.5 sacks and seven pass deflections in 16 games and was just about the only consistent player in the team's front-seven. When you consider that 2022 was Watt's swan song, it's even more frustrating that he was snubbed.
Most Improved: Zaven Collins
Collins looked much sharper in year two which resulted in much more playing time for the former Tulsa linebacker. Collins finished third on the team in tackles with a flat 100 while also tacking on two sacks and a pick-six. Here's hoping his upward trajectory continues into year three.
Best Offseason Addition: Marquise Brown
There were very few moves that panned out for the Cardinals this past offseason, but the trade for Hollywood Brown was a good one. Although he missed five games, Brown still tallied 709 receiving yards and was one of the few reliably consistent players on offense. He'll enjoy a much bigger role in 2023.
Offensive Player of the Year: DeAndre Hopkins
When Hopkins was on the field for the Cardinals he was exceptional. Despite missing six games to suspension and another two from injury, Hopkins still threw up a team-leading 717 receiving yards and made highlight reel plays all year long. There wasn't enough consistency from one single player this year on offense due to a combination of poor play and injuries, but Hopkins still stood out.
Defensive Player of the Year: J.J. Watt
It came down to Watt and Baker for this award, but I opted to go with the man who was the entire pass rush for the Cardinals. Without Watt's 12.5 sacks and his presence on the defense as a whole, the Cardinals might as well have not fielded a pass rush. Watt went out in style and deserves one last Defensive Player of the Year award for his crowded mantle.
Comeback Player of the Year: J.J. Watt
Watt only played seven games in 2021 and had just 16 tackles and a single sack to show for it. He blew us away in 2022 after such a poor showing in year one and it was one of the finer seasons across the league. Although he won't receive the award for the entire NFL, he has a stronger case than you'd give him credit for.
Most Valuable Player: J.J. Watt
Like I said earlier, without Watt the Cardinals didn't have any pass rush. Watt was also batting passes at the line of scrimmage, making tackles in the backfield, and being the voice of a locker room that was dealing with a defeated outlook. Without Watt, I am unsure if the Cardinals would've won as many games as they did in 2022, and they only won four for crying out loud. Watt is the team's MVP and I don't think it's a close conversation.