PFT missed the boat when they left Tamba Hali off their ballot for the Derrick Thomas Award, honoring the best linebacker in the league. Even after the clear oversight with Hali, it’s hard to argue with the eventual winner of the award.
This year, the no-brainer recipient is Packers linebacker Clay Matthews. Nearly voted the defensive player of the year, Matthews’ postseason performance, including forcing along with Ryan Pickett a key fourth-quarter fumble in the Super Bowl, makes him the far away top choice for the award. Indeed, Matthews secured more than 56 percent of the vote in a poll that had six options, including Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs, Steelers linebacker James Harrison, Cowboys linebacker DeMarcus Ware, Dolphins linebacker Cameron Wake, and Vikings linebacker E.J. Henderson.
Good job by PFT’s readers getting the winner right, even if the site didn’t include Hali. Matthews was far and away the best defensive player in the league and only lost out on Defensive Player of the Year because of Troy Polamalu’s reputation.
As his own reputation continues to grow towards that of the Steelers safety, expect Matthews to take home the big award next season. Hopefully Hali will be right next to him in the voting.