Safety Tyrann Mathieu was named the team’s Derrick Thomas Most Valuable Player, and wide receiver Mecole Hardman won the Mack Lee Hill award for top rookie. Chiefs players and coaches vote on these awards.
In 16 regular-season games, Mathieu recorded 75 tackles (63 solo), four interceptions, 12 passes defensed, three tackles for loss, and 2.0 sacks. Despite being with the team for just the single season, Mathieu’s teammates voted him one of two defensive captains for the playoffs. Mathieu also managed to completely overhaul the team’s defensive mindset.
In 16 regular-season games, Hardman had 26 receptions for six touchdowns and a team-best 20.7 yards per reception. He also had four rushes for 17 yards. Hardman had 18 punt returns for 167 yards (9.3 yards per return) and 27 kick returns for 704 yards (26.1 yards per return). Hardman recorded a 104-yard kick-return touchdown in Week 17.
Unlike Hardman, rookie safety Juan Thornhill started every regular-season game for the Chiefs, recording 57 tackles, three interceptions, five passes defensed and a touchdown. Thornhill’s season was cut short when he tore his ACL in the Chiefs’ final game before the playoffs.
Mathieu deserves his team MVP award, while Thornhill probably would have gotten my vote for rookie of the year. Mathieu and Hardman will receive their trophies at the 50th annual 101 Awards in Kansas City on February 29.