These 50 voters determined the winners of last night’s 2023 NFL awards. Unfortunately, their ballots aren’t made public and only released if the voter shares his ballot or they’re somehow leaked. With the controversial decision to award Defensive Player of the Year to Myles Garrett over T.J. Watt, it’s worth getting a feel for the ballots we do know.
Garrett narrowly won the award with 165 points to Watt’s 140. Garrett edged Watt in first-place votes, 23 to 19, while receiving more second-place votes, 13 to 11. Watt had one more third-place vote, 12 to Garrett’s 11. Ultimately, Watt didn’t appear, first through third place, on eight of the 50 ballots.
We’ll update this post if more ballots become known.
Schatz was one of the first voters to release his full ballot. He was the lone name not to vote Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson MVP, choosing Buffalo Bills QB Josh Allen instead, and preventing Jackson from becoming a unanimous selection.
When it came to DPOY, his first-place vote went to Dallas Cowboys LB Micah Parsons. Garrett finished second, Watt third. Schatz briefly explains his process.
“I think I switched this one back and forth a couple of times between Parsons and Garrett, but I couldn’t get away from this graphic from ESPN’s Seth Walder.”
Formerly of Football Outsiders, Schatz is analytics-driven. The graphic he refers to is a double-team chart through Week 16, showing Parsons with a slightly higher double-team rate than Garrett and a far higher pass-rush win rate. Comparatively, Watt finished in the middle. Of course, that graphic was from Week 13, not after the season ended, and Garrett’s top-line numbers faltered down the stretch with just seven QB hits and one sack over his final seven games.
While Steelers’ fans won’t be happy about Watt’s third-place slotting, Schatz at least offered full transparency and explanations for each pick.
Florio offered his ballot Friday morning that had Watt in the top slot. Garrett finished second with Tampa Bay Buccaneers S Antoine Winfield a third-place inclusion, Florio citing his Pro Bowl snub as motivation to put Winfield on the podium. Florio used conventional metrics to pick Watt over Garrett.
“Garrett was phenomenal but at the end of the day sacks are sacks and Watt had too many more to ignore.”
Watt finished the year with 19 sacks compared to Garrett’s 14. Since being drafted in 2017, no player has more sacks than Watt’s 96.5 and that’s with him missing half the 2022 season.
Volin didn’t share his entire ballot, but we know Garrett was his winner. He tweeted early Friday morning that the actual results were almost identical to his selections except for choosing Houston Texans head coach DeMeco Ryans over the Cleveland Browns’ Kevin Stefanski (who finished tied in points and needed a first-place vote tiebreaker to determine the winner).
Meaning, he picked Garrett to win DPOY.
No explanation for why Garrett (whose name he misspelled in his initial tweet) over the field.
Sam Monson – Myles Garrett Winner (Presumably)
Monson did not release his ballot and didn’t technically announce Garrett as his winner. But in a Friday conversation with 93.7 The Fan, Steve Palazzolo strongly hinted that Monson had Garrett at the top of his ballot, and given PFF advocating for Garrett throughout this process, strongly hinted we can safely assume he did.
“It’s almost like he’s representing us together,” Palazzolo said of Monson having the official PFF vote.
Palazzolo said he also helps other voters on whom to select, likely swaying them toward Garrett.
“I’m an advisor for other voters though.”
King’s was the earlier ballot we knew. In one of his weekly columns, he wrote Garrett was his winner followed by Parsons and Watt. Combining the eye and analytics tests, he wrote that Garrett won out.
“I picked Garrett. In order, my top five were Garrett, Parsons, Watt, Crosby and Mack. Garrett was high in both PFF grade and Next Gen pass-rush metrics, and his team was the number one defense in football.”
The Browns finished with the fewest yards allowed but they were just 13th in points allowed, the more important metric.
Of the five ballots we know or strongly presume to know, here are the results.
Myles Garrett: Three first-place votes, two second-place votes
T.J. Watt: One first-place vote, two third-place votes
Micah Parsons: One first-place vote, one second-place vote
There are still plenty of votes missing, even with these five ballots. But it’s a start to build the picture of who picked whom and the reasons behind them.