New voting system for NFL awards creates bizarre ending to final offensive rookie of the year tally

For the first time in NFL history, the Associated Press decided change voting format for the NFL’s postseason awards and that led to a bizarre finish to one particular race on Thursday night.

Jets receiver Garrett Wilson was named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, although he did not garner the most first-place votes for the award. Wilson received 18 first place votes, one less than Seahawks running back Kenneth Walker, who got 19.

In any season before 2022, Walker would have won the award — because it’s always been given to the player with the most first-place votes — but he didn’t win the award this year because the AP changed the voting format.

In all seasons prior to 2022, the 50 voters could only put one name on their ballot. However, starting this year, each voter was allowed to rank their top three rookie of the year candidates, which is how Wilson was able to win the award over Walker despite getting fewer first place votes.

Under the new system, a player received five points for first place voting, three points for second place voting, and one point for third place voting.

See how things ended between Walker and Wilson (by AP):

Garrett Wilson





Kenneth Walker





Of the 50 first place votes, Wilson and Walker accounted for 37 of them, while Brock Purdy (6), Chris Olave (5), Tyler Allgeier (1) and Tyler Linderbaum (1) represented the remainder.

Assuming no one would have changed his ballot, Walker would simply have won rookie of the year in any other season for being voted #1 on most ballots.

When the AP originally floated the idea of ​​changing the voting format to a ranking system in September, one of their concerns was that something like this could happen, where a player gets a prize even if that player didn’t get the most number of first place votes.

Here’s what CBS Sports NFL Insider Jonathan Jones wrote about the proposal five months ago:

“An inherent danger in all ranked choice voting is that someone may have fewer first place votes than a contestant but many more second place votes that end up winning the prize. How the Associated Press decides to weigh those votes will need to ensure that not a possibility,” wrote Jones in September.

The fact that Walker won the award in any other season definitely makes it seem like one of the biggest rejections in recent NFL Honors history.

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