After 10 years the Patriots are back on top of the NFL and it's time to unveil the winners of our annual PFW Lighthouse Awards.
As always we take a peek back and remember the most memorable moments of the previous season and recognize them in our own unique way. It's always fun to reflect on a championship season, and our focus is always on fun when we hand out the Lighthouse Awards.
Rob Gronkowski: The Patriots have had some great offenses the last few years that have fallen short in the playoffs. Those groups didn't have a healthy Gronk; this one did and he dominated.
Offensive Player of the Year
Tom Brady: Brady got off to a shaky start in September but once he tore apart the Bengals in Week 5 he looked 10 years younger and maintained that production the rest of the way. Some decline.
Defensive Player of the Year
Darrelle Revis: He was billed as a transformational player when he arrived and that's exactly what he was. Revis' ability to lock down against top receivers changed the defense.
Rookie of the Year
Bryan Stork: Admittedly Stork didn't have much competition but he was rock solid in the middle of the Patriots offensive line. Injuries forced him to miss some time and his absence was noticeable.
Offensive Play of the Year
Julian Edelman's TD pass to Danny Amendola: The Ravens came into Foxborough and had the Patriots on the ropes until Josh McDaniels called the double pass from Brady to Edelman to Amendola. The trick play was both perfectly timed and executed.
Defensive Play of the Year
Malcolm Butler's pick to win the Super Bowl: Speaking of easy choices. Butler's heroic pick will go down as one of the greatest plays in Super Bowl history, literally representing the difference between victory and defeat.
Best Block Party
Patriots Special Teams:Scott O'Brien may be retiring but his troops sent him out in style, blocking five kicks including four field goals, and returning two of them for touchdowns.
Matt Patricia: We debuted this award last year in honor of Dante Scarnecchia. Patricia's creative work with the defense, transitioning to a 4-2-5 look, deserves to be recognized.
How the Gronk Did He Catch That Award
Gronkowski's one-handed catch: Brady used a word that was a bit more colorful when he openly wondered how his tight end came down with the ball near the goal line in traffic against the Broncos.
Bad Horsy Award
Indianapolis Colts: The Colts lost 45-7 in the AFC title game and barely three hours later news of a possible investigation into the footballs, of all things, was national news. All because the Colts had to tell the media. Take your beating like men next time.
Quick Turnaround Award
Kansas City/Cincinnati: The extremes of these two nationally televised games couldn't have been greater as the Patriots went from laughing stocks after the Chiefs to title contenders a week later.
Learn the Rules Award
Ineligible receiver formations in playoffs: When referee Bill Vinovich announced "No. 34 is ineligible" during the Ravens playoff game, the writers in the press box were thoroughly confused. So were John Harbaugh and his defense. The difference is he's supposed to know the rules.
Party Crashers Award
Akeem Ayers, Jonathan Casillas, Alan Branch: All were midseason additions and all contributed to the defense in various ways. And in the end, they all got to join the party in Arizona.
Shooting Star Award
Jonas Gray: The young running back went from rushing for 200 yards on national television to the cover of Sports Illustrated to the witness relocation program. Gray had just 24 carries in nine games the rest of the season.
Safe Haven Award
LeGarrette Blount:The Patriots let Blount leave as a free agent, and when the grass in Pittsburgh wasn't greener he looked back to the friendly confines of Gillette Stadium to make his return.
Slogan of the Year
On to Cincinnati: Although Bill Belichick claims it was unintentional, his repeated use of the phrase became a battle cry in New England and persisted all the way through the Super Bowl.
Knute Rockne Award
Steve Young/Trent Dilfer: Young and Dilfer may be Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks but their analysis following the loss to the Chiefs was anything but super. The pair claimed the Patriots were "weak" and "not good anymore." Think the Patriots used those words for some motivation?
Best Parting Gift
Scarnecchia/Stork: Dante may have retired but he's still very much involved in scouting/drafting. He was the one who recommended Stork in the draft last year following the Combine, leaving the Patriots with a nice parting gift.
Randolph and Mortimer Duke Award
Revis/Brandon Browner:Acquiring this tandem in free agency allowed the Patriots to corner the market (see what we did there?) and transform the secondary into a championship-winning group.
First Impressions Award
Brandon LaFell: LaFell gets the nod not as much for his work early in the season as his penchant for kick-starting games and drives. LaFell was often Brady's target on the first play and more often than not he delivered.
Social Butterfly Award
Brady: No one got more attention with Facebook posts and other social media endeavors than the Patriots quarterback.
Battle at Wounded Knee
Week 6 win in Buffalo: The Patriots took a hard-fought victory in Buffalo but it came with a cost as both Jerod Mayo and Stevan Ridley suffered season-ending knee injuries in the process.
Musical Blockers Award
The offensive line: Dave DeGuglielmo not only had to replace a legend but he had to do it without Logan Mankins and with a different group virtually every week to start the season.
No Luck Award
Andrew Luck: The NFL's brightest young gun has had no luck against the Patriots, sporting an 0-4 mark that includes a pair of postseason pastings.
Two categories this year. First, the team honors go to the Patriots for climbing out of a pair of 14-point deficits in the playoffs against the Ravens. The individual award goes to Vince Wilfork for returning from a torn Achilles to post a terrific bounce-back season.
Lawyer Milloy Award
Logan Mankins:As was the case back in 2003 when the respected Milloy was jettisoned just before a Super Bowl-winning season, Mankins similarly created a stir when he was dealt before the season, but ultimately the result was the same.
Two Good Award
Patrick Chung:After an uneventful first stint with the Patriots, Chung was much more effective in his second go-round with the club. He started at safety and proved to be a solid force in run support.