NFL Comeback Player of the Year odds and predictions: Damar Hamlin favored; Joe Flacco, Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers join top-10

The NFL Comeback Player of the Year is one of the most interesting NFL awards yearly. There are no official criteria the NFL shares for the award, but there are a few things that qualify a player in most instances. Typically, a player does something to overcome adversity to return to the field or come back to playing at a high level after a bad season or multiple bad seasons. 

Here are a few examples of situations players have overcome to win the NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award.

  • Return from injury
  • Poor performance in previous season(s)
  • Return from suspension

Looking at the 2023-2024 NFL season, it is hard to imagine that Bills’ safety Damar Hamlin will not win the award. He went into cardiac arrest on the field last season and had to be resuscitated. For Hamlin to make it back onto an NFL field to play again is somewhat of a miracle.

What is interesting to look at, though, is his competition, some of whom were not even listed in the preseason odds for NFL Comeback Player of the Year. Joe Flacco, who has shot into the top-10 for odds to win the award, was not even on a team before signing to the Browns practice squad during Week 12.

Check out the live odds to win the 2023 NFL Comeback Player of the Year award, which players are the favorites, longshots and our prediction for this season’s winner.

Odds to win the 2023 NFL Comeback Player of the Year

Here are the live odds for the 2023 NFL Comeback Player of the Year award available from the best online sportsbooks.

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Betting Favorites to win 2023 NFL Comeback Player of the Year 

Damar Hamlin Comeback Player of the Year odds

Before Hamlin’s cardiac arrest last season, he played a significant role for a Bills secondary that was ravaged by injury. He was playing really well — in his 15 games last season, he had 91 tackles, 63 of which were solo tackles, 1.5 sacks and one forced fumble. Hamlin has only played in two games this season and has not suited up since Week 12, but it’s incredible that the third-year player was about to play again. 

The NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award combines the amount of adversity overcome and the high level of play that a player produces. While Hamlin may not be having a big season statistically, the amount of adversity he has overcome outweighs any football statistic, which is why he is almost a lock to win the award.

Tua Tagovailoa Comeback Player of the Year odds

Tua Tagovailoa’s concussion injury history has been well documented, and there were even questions about whether the former Alabama quarterback would return to play football again. Not only has Tua returned healthy, but he has also played at an MVP level and led one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL. Tua has never played more than 13 games in an NFL season, and with 13 played without a game missed already this season, he is on track to play his first full season. 

Tua’s statistical performance this year is by far his best so far. With 3,697 passing yards, 24 touchdowns and a 70% completion rate, he is rewarding the Dolphins faith in him. It will be tough to beat Hamlin for Comeback Player of the Year, but Tua currently is top-10 in the MVP odds (+2500 at FanDuel Sportsbook). 

Matt Stafford Comeback Player of the Year odds

Matt Stafford is a former recipient of the NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award after returning from a significant injury to have a great season in 2011. He is looking to do the same this year after only playing nine games last season. Stafford is having a solid season with 3,062 passing yards, 19 touchdowns and only nine interceptions in 12 games.

2023 NFL Comeback Player of the Year longshots

Joe Flacco Comeback Player of the Year odds

Flacco has not played in more than five games since 2019 and was not on a roster to start the NFL season. Flacco got off the couch in Week 12 to join the Browns practice squad. Two weeks later, he was starting for the Browns and has played two of his best games since his time in Baltimore. 

People may need to remember Flacco is a former NFL Rookie of the Year and Super Bowl MVP. He has always had one of the strongest arms in the NFL and is getting another shot late in his career with the Browns to lead a playoff-caliber team. 

In the last two weeks, Flacco has thrown for 565 yards with five touchdowns and only two interceptions. With an elite defense on the other side of the ball, if Flacco keeps playing at a high level may have a chance to lead another team on a Super Bowl run. 

Aaron Rodgers Comeback Player of the Year odds

It would be quite the story if Aaron Rodgers returns to the field for the Jets this season. After tearing his achilles in Week 1, he may be on track to suit up in the next few weeks. If Rodgers returns from an achilles tear in the same season and leads the Jets to the playoffs, he may be the only player capable of challenging Hamlin for the NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award.

T.J. Watt Comeback Player of the Year odds

Watt’s season ended early last year due to injury, and it finished as the worst season of his career statistically. He has come back this season to be a Defensive MVP-level player. He is second in the league in sacks with 15 and has three forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and an interception. 

It will be tough for Watt to challenge for NFL Comeback Player of the Year, but he stands a strong chance of winning NFL Defensive Player of the Year. Watt is currently in the top three of odds to win NFL Defensive Player of the Year (+600 at BetMGM Sportsbook).

2023 NFL Comeback Player of the Year prediction: Hamlin’s award to lose

We have already said it will be difficult for anyone to unseat Hamlin for this season’s NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award. The only player that has a slight chance of doing so is if Aaron Rodgers returns from the achilles tear he suffered in Week 1 and leads the Jets to the playoffs, which either of those two things happening is a longshot. 

Recent NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award winners

  • 2022: Geno Smith, QB Seattle
  • 2021: Joe Burrow, QB Cincinnati
  • 2020: Alex Smith, QB Washington
  • 2019: Ryan Tannehill, QB Tennessee
  • 2018: Andrew Luck, QB Indianapolis
  • 2017: Keenan Allen, WR San Diego
  • 2016: Jordy Nelson, WR Green Bay
  • 2015: Eric Berry, S Kansas City
  • 2014: Rob Gronkowski, TE New England
  • 2013: Philip Rivers, QB San Diego
  • 2012: Peyton Manning, QB Denver
  • 2011: Matthew Stafford, QB Detroit
  • 2010: Michael Vick, QB, Philadelphia

NFL Comeback Player of the Year fast facts

  • Eric Berry was the last defensive player to win NFL Comeback Player of the Year in 2015.
  • Willis McGahee was the last Buffalo Bill to win NFL Comeback Player of the Year in 2004.
  • Only four defensive players have won NFL Comeback Player of the Year.
  • Quarterbacks have won the last five NFL Comeback Player of the Year Awards.

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