NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award

    The NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award is presented by the Professional Football Writers of America to the player in the National Football League (NFL) who shows perseverance in overcoming adversity, in the form of not being in the NFL the previous year, overcoming a severe injury, or simply a poor performance. Prior to 1992, the winner was selected by writers at Pro Football Weekly and since then it is done by polling all active sportswriters in the Professional Football Writers of America.

    NOTES: Bold entries denote players who went on to become members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame; Year fields link to the NFL season in review page, winner's names link to the player's page and team name links to the official roster for the year in which the player won the NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award.

"Earl Morrall, I got to say a word about Earl Morrall. When Unitas went down, it was Earl Morrall. I was smart enough to bring him to Miami and when Bob Griese went down, it was Earl Morrall. The toughest decision that I've ever had to make as a coach was after Bob was hurt, Earl led us to the unbeaten season. We get into the Super Bowl, after Bob's healthy, he comes back and helps us beat Pittsburgh, in Pittsburgh. And then I had to make a decision, and I made the decision to start Bob Griese. I made the decision to start Bob Griese and Earl took it like the man that he is. And Earl, thank you for all of your contributions." - Hall of Fame Coach Don Shula in his Enshrinement Speech (07/26/1997, Link)

NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award
Professional Football Writers of America

NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award on Football Almanac

1972

Earl Morrall (1)

Quarterback

1972 Miami Dolphins (1)

1973

Roman Gabriel (1)

Quarterback

1973 Philadelphia Eagles (1)

1974

Joe Namath (1)

Quarterback

1974 New York Jets (1)

1975

Dave Hampton (1)

Fullback

1975 Atlanta Falcons (1)

1976

Greg Landry (1)

Quarterback

1976 Detroit Lions (1)

1977

Craig Morton (1)

Quarterback

1977 Denver Broncos (1)

1978

John Riggins (1)

Running Back

1978 Washington Redskins (1)

1979

Larry Csonka (1)

Running Back

1979 Miami Dolphins (2)

1980

Jim Plunkett (1)

Quarterback

1980 Oakland Raiders (1)

1981

Ken Anderson (1)

Quarterback

1981 Cincinnati Bengals (1)

1982

Lyle Alzado (1)

Defensive End

1982 Los Angeles Raiders (2)

1983

Billy Johnson (1)

Wide Receiver

1983 Atlanta Falcons (2)

1984

John Stallworth (1)

Wide Receiver

1984 Pittsburgh Steelers (1)

1985

No Selection (x)

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1986

Tommy Kramer (1)

Quarterback

1986 Minnesota Vikings (1)

Joe Montana (1)

Quarterback

1986 San Francisco 49ers (1)

1987

Charles White (1)

Running Back

1987 Los Angeles Rams (1)

1988

Greg Bell (1)

Running Back

1988 Los Angeles Rams (2)

1989

Ottis Anderson (1)

Running Back

1989 New York Giants (1)

1990

Barry Word (1)

Running Back

1990 Kansas City Chiefs (1)

1991

Jim McMahon (1)

Quarterback

1991 Philadelphia Eagles (2)

1992

Randall Cunningham (1)

Quarterback

1992 Philadelphia Eagles (3)

1993

Marcus Allen (1)

Running Back

1993 Kansas City Chiefs (2)

1994

Dan Marino (1)

Quarterback

1994 Miami Dolphins (3)

1995

Jim Harbaugh (1)

Quarterback

1995 Indianapolis Colts (1)

1996

Jerome Bettis (1)

Running Back

1996 Pittsburgh Steelers (2)

1997

Robert Brooks (1)

Wide Receiver

1997 Green Bay Packers (1)

1998

Doug Flutie (1)

Quarterback

1998 Buffalo Bills (1)

1999

Bryant Young (1)

Defensive Tackle

1999 San Francisco 49ers (1)

2000

Joe Johnson (1)

Defensive End

2000 New Orleans Saints (1)

2001

Garrison Hearst (1)

Running Back

2001 San Francisco 49ers (2)

2002

Tommy Maddox (1)

Quarterback

2002 Pittsburgh Steelers (3)

2003

Jon Kitna (1)

Quarterback

2003 Cincinnati Bengals (2)

2004

Drew Brees (1)

Quarterback

2004 San Diego Chargers (1)

2005

Tedy Bruschi (1)

Linebacker

2005 New England Patriots (1)

Steve Smith (1)

Wide Receiver

2005 Carolina Panthers (1)

2006

Chad Pennington (1)

Quarterback

2006 New York Jets (1)

2007

Randy Moss (1)

Wide Receiver

2007 New England Patriots (1)

2008

Chad Pennington (2)

Quarterback

2008 Miami Dolphins (4)

2009

Tom Brady (1)

Quarterback

2009 New England Patriots (2)

2010

Not Yet Announced (01-2011)

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Did you know that there have been one defensive tackle, one linebacker, two defensive ends, five wide receivers, ten running backs and twenty-one quarterbacks who have won the NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award?

Here on Football Almanac you can easily compare the winners of the Associated Press NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award to the winners of the Pro Football Writers of America NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award (seen above) and find where the differences between the two awards exist.

Which player on the chart above deserved the Professional Football Writers of America NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award the least? Which player "should" have won during that season? Share your opinion on Pigskin Fever.