It's no secret that Charles Woodson did not want to play for the Green Bay Packers. Let's be honest, Green Bay doesn't exactly have the best reputation for young superstar athletes looking to make the most of their fame. It's a small town, it's cold, and it most certainly takes a certain amount of adjustment. To outsiders, the appeal of Green Bay is slim. However, to those who know and love the land of the frozen tundra, Woodson got lucky with Green Bay, and as it turns out, Green Bay got lucky as well.
Now, the newly awarded Defensive Player of the Year can only refer to his move to the north four years prior as a blessing. "This is a great place to play football," he said in a recent press conference. "The people here really respect you if you work hard. That's all they ask from you." And this season, the 33-year-old former Heisman Trophy winner certainly responded to all of our demands.
Defensive Coordinator Dom Caper's 3-4 defense required that Woodson cover corners, blitz, and stop the run... and it's evident that Woodson was up for the challenge. His nine interceptions (tied for the league lead), two sacks, four forced fumbles and three touchdowns made him a league leader all season long.
So when the votes were in for what many consider the best award a defender can get in professional football, it's no surprise to Green Bay fans that Woodson's name was at the top of the list. In the AP poll, Woodson received 28 of a possible 50 votes from a panel of media members. New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis was second with 14 votes. He was also named Defensive Player of the Year by Sporting News' selected panel of 636 players, coaches and executives. Woodson received 241 first-place votes from the 583 players polled. New Orleans Saints safety Darren Shaper was second with 113.
In terms of Packers' history, winning this award certainly puts Woodson in good company. The only other Packer to win the Defensive Player of the Year is the late, great Reggie White in 1998, and in the mind's of most Packer fans, Reggie White is as good as it can get when it comes to NFL defenders.
My hat goes off to Woodson. Though the season did not end how many of us had hoped, Woodson, like the rest of us, has high expectations for the future. In a recent press conference he said, "I feel like we can get to where we want to be... if we went into next season with the same group with guys having a year of this defense under their belt, I feel like we would be pretty good." I'm not sure if pretty good will win us a Super Bowl, but for the time being, we'll just have to be content with having the best defensive player in the NFL.
Congrats, Mr. Woodson. See... Green Bay's not so bad after all.
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