New CPOY award guidelines prove NY Jets RB Breece Hall was robbed

Breece Hall was robbed!
Breece Hall
Breece Hall / Sarah Stier/GettyImages

It was difficult to know what to expect from NY Jets running back Breece Hall in his second NFL season. The 2022 second-round pick showed serious promise as a rookie and looked to be on the verge of breaking out before a torn ACL ended his season prematurely.

The Jets signed veteran Dalvin Cook and fully prepared for a world where Hall would take some time to return to his pre-injury self. After all, it's normal for players, especially running backs, coming off a serious injury to go through a bit of a lull period after initially returning.

Instead, Hall came back better than ever, establishing himself as one of the premier offensive weapons in the NFL in just his second season. Hall finished fourth in the entire NFL in scrimmage yards less than 12 months after tearing his ACL.

It's a remarkable feat that has, for whatever reason, gone overlooked by the vast majority of the NFL media. Hall wasn't even considered a serious candidate to win Comeback Player of the Year in 2023.

But given the NFL's revised set of guidelines for the award released this week, it's become increasingly apparent that the award, given instead to former Jets quarterback Joe Flacco, should have gone to Hall.

NY Jets running back Breece Hall should've won Comeback Player of the Year

The Associated Press released a new set of guidelines for the Comeback Player of the Year award this week, and the rules are clearly designed to discourage voters from selecting players who performed well after performing poorly the year before.

"The spirit of the AP Comeback Player of the Year award is to honor a player who has demonstrated resilience in the face of adversity by overcoming illness, physical injury, or other circumstances that led him to miss playing time the previous season"

Comeback Player of the Year gudelines

In essence, the new guidelines make this award much more of a Comeback Player of the Year award as opposed to a Most Improved Player award. The award is to be given to a player who missed time the previous season due to injury, illness, etc.

With that criteria, Hall would likely have been seen as one of the favorites for the award. Of course, the 2023 season presented a unique situation with Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin.

Hamlin is an unprecedented case, and if you want to argue he deserved to win the award based on this criteria, I'm not someone who's going to argue with you. It really comes down to how much you value the player's return vs. the player's performance after the return.

While Hamlin appeared in just five regular-season games and played only 17 defensive snaps, Hall was the focal point of his team's offense and arguably the second-best running back in the NFL.

Hall's 2023 season was likely the most impressive we've seen from a running back coming off a torn ACL since Adrian Peterson's miraculous 2012 MVP season. It's truly mindboggling how Hall's performance flew under the radar in the way that it did.

Regardless, these new guidelines prove that Hall was robbed of the award last season. Look for Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers to avenge his teammate as he makes a run for the award in 2024.