N.F.L. Awards Voters Hit the Tape (or YouTube Highlights)

On the Sundays that Peter King is not reporting at a football stadium, he watches television from home in Brooklyn, switching between the most important afternoon game and NFL RedZone, a channel that showcases various games during their most dramatic moments.

By 3 a.m. Monday morning, when he files his widely read “Football Morning in America” column, King has seen dozens of touchdowns and hundreds of tackles. Even so, he must then spend time throughout the week watching YouTube highlights of the games he missed.

The N.F.L. is television’s most popular product, with its games accounting for 83 of the top 100 most-watched telecasts in 2022, according to the ratings firm Nielsen. But it is not easy to keep up, even for the 50 journalists, including King, who vote for the Associated Press’s All-Pro team and eight key awards for players and coaches.

Although there are far fewer N.F.L. games than in other major professional sports, it can be a challenge for voters to fully survey the field before submitting their ballots, which were due this week. Traditional statistics and advanced metrics have their limits.

“I just don’t think there is any substitute for watching the games and making a value judgment based on what your eyes tell you,” said King, who works for NBC Sports.

As the influence of beat reporters at local newspapers has dwindled, the voting committee of The Associated Press has shifted toward national reporters, including former players, who cover the entire league. Voters rank their top five M.V.P. candidates and the top three candidates for the other awards, with the winners announced in a gala-like ceremony the week before the Super Bowl. The All-Pro teams will be announced on Friday.

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