LAS VEGAS (AP) — Live updates from the “NFL Honors” awards show, where the Associated Press NFL MVP, Coach of the Year and more will be revealed:
AP NFL Most Valuable Player: Lamar Jackson
Lamar Jackson was a near-unanimous choice for his second AP NFL Most Valuable Player award.
Baltimore’s All-Pro quarterback received 49 of 50 first-place votes from a nationwide panel that includes media members who regularly cover the NFL, former players and coaches.
The 27-year-old Jackson is the fourth player to win his second MVP before turning 28, joining Patrick Mahomes (27), Brett Favre (27) and Jim Brown (22).
Jackson led the Ravens (14-5) to the NFL’s best record in the regular season, but they lost to the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC championship game.
Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen got the other first-place vote and finished fifth overall in voting. Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott was second with 152 points. San Francisco 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey came in third with 147 points and teammate Brock Purdy was fourth with 97.
Voting was completed before the playoffs began.
Jackson threw for 3,678 yards and 24 touchdowns and ran for 821 yards and five scores while leading Baltimore to a record 10 wins over teams that finished with a winning record. He helped the Ravens rout Houston in the divisional round but struggled in a 17-10 loss to the Chiefs in the AFC title game.
Steelers' Cam Heyward wins NFL's Walter Payton Man of the Year award
Pittsburgh Steelers defensive lineman Cam Heyward received the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year award, presented to him by Prince Harry.
“I want to say thank you to the Pittsburgh Steelers for giving me this opportunity,” Heyward said. “Mike T (Tomlin), it’s an honor to be coached by you. I couldn’t play for any other coach. To my teammates, I’m thankful to be your teammate.”
This was the sixth time the Steelers nominated Heyward for the award. Heyward created the Heyward House Foundation that supports several initiatives in the Pittsburgh area. The foundation also honors his father, Craig “Ironhead” Heyward, a fullback who played 11 seasons in the NFL. He died in 2006 at 39 of brain cancer.
AP Comeback Player of the Year: Joe Flacco
Joe Flacco, who came off the couch to lead the Cleveland Browns to the playoffs, is the AP Comeback Player of the Year.
Flacco beat out Bills safety Damar Hamlin and Buccaneers quarterback Baker Mayfield. He received 13 first-place votes, 26 second-place votes and eight thirds to finish with 151 points.
Flacco, the 39-year-old former Super Bowl MVP, was home in New Jersey with his family when Cleveland called him in November. He went 4-1 in five starts and passed for over 300 yards in four straight games with 13 touchdowns.
Hamlin returned to the NFL this season after collapsing on the field and needing to be resuscitated following a cardiac arrest on Jan. 2, 2023. He played in five regular-season games. Hamlin received 21 first-place votes but appeared on 42 of 50 ballots while Flacco was on 47. He got seven second-place votes and 14 thirds for 140 points.
First-place votes are worth five points, second-place votes are three and third-place votes are one.
Mayfield, who bounced around from the Browns to the Panthers to the Rams last season, started every game for Tampa Bay and led them to the second round of the playoffs. He got 10 first-place votes and finished with 93 points.
Others receiving first-place votes were: Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (4), Rams QB Matthew Stafford (1) and 49ers QB Brock Purdy (1).
Julius Peppers headlines 2024 Pro Football Hall of Fame class
First-time candidate Julius Peppers headlines a 2024 Pro Football Hall of Fame class that has a distinctive defensive feel.
The star defensive end was joined by another elite pass rusher in Dwight Freeney and do-everything linebacker Patrick Willis in the modern era category announced Thursday night. Prolific receiver Andre Johnson and dynamic returner Devin Hester also got voted into the Hall from the group of 15 finalists.
Two more defensive players got in on the senior category, with linebacker Randy Gradishar and defensive tackle Steve McMichael getting the needed 80% support from the panel.
Former AFL receiver Art Powell and coach Buddy Parker fell short of the threshold and missed out.
AP Offensive Player of the Year: Christian McCaffrey
Christian McCaffrey ran away with the AP Offensive Player of the Year award.
San Francisco’s All-Pro running back received 39 of 50 first-place votes and earned 222 points, outpacing Dolphins wide receiver Tyreek Hill.
Hill received seven first-place votes and finished with 139 points. Cowboys wide receiver CeeDee Lamb came in third with 45 points, including one first-place vote. Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson got three first-place votes, finishing fourth.
McCaffrey, a unanimous choice for All-Pro, led the NFL with 1,459 yards rushing and had 14 rushing TDs for the NFC champion 49ers. He also had 564 yards receiving for seven scores.
McCaffrey is the fourth running back to win the award in the last 10 years, joining Derrick Henry, Todd Gurley and DeMarco Murray.
McCaffrey aims to join Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp, who won the award two years ago and then earned Super Bowl MVP honors three days later.
NFL debuts Flag Football Player of the Year awards
The NFL handed out its first Flag Football Players of the Year awards, which went to Allison Gandlin and Ryder Noche. The league has been promoting flag football for youth players, and its Pro Bowl went to that format last year for the first time.
The award was presented by Tyreek Hill, who has said he wants to play when flag football joins the Olympics in 2028
AP Coach of the Year: Kevin Stefanski
Kevin Stefanski edged DeMeco Ryans for AP Coach of the Year honors by one first-place vote.
Stefanski led the Cleveland Browns to their third playoff appearance since 1999 despite losing quarterback Deshaun Watson, star running back Nick Chubb and right tackle Jack Conklin to season-ending injuries and starting four QBs.
Ryans helped the Houston Texans go from worst to first in the AFC South. The Texans routed the Browns 41-14 in a wild-card playoff game, but voting was completed before the postseason.
Stefanski and Ryans both earned 165 points in a weighted point system. But Stefanski had 21 first-place votes to Ryans’ 20. Stefanski had 18 second-place votes and six third-place votes. Ryans got 21 second-place votes and two thirds. First-place votes are worth five points, second-place votes are worth three and third-place votes are one.
Detroit’s Dan Campbell finished third. He got three first-place votes. San Francisco’s Kyle Shanahan (3), Baltimore’s John Harbaugh (2) and the Rams’ Sean McVay (1) also got first-place votes.
AP Defensive Rookie of the Year: Will Anderson Jr.
Will Anderson Jr. won the AP Defensive Rookie of the Year award, outgaining both Jalen Carter and Kobie Turner by two first-place votes.
The Texans’ defensive end received 16 first-place votes, 21 second and eight thirds for 151 points.
Carter, the Philadelphia Eagles’ defensive tackle, and Turner, the Los Angeles Rams’ defensive tackle, both had 14 first-place votes. Carter also had 14 seconds and ended up with 122 points. Turner had six second-place votes and seven thirds, finishing with 95 points.
Anderson had seven sacks, 67 pressures, 22 quarterback hits, 29 tackles, including 10 for a loss. He also had a blocked field goal on special teams.
Anderson joined teammate C.J. Stroud, who was the AP’s Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Anderson and Stroud are the fourth teammates to win the offensive and defensive rookie awards in the same season. Garrett Wilson and Sauce Gardner swept the awards last year for the New York Jets. Alvin Kamara and Marshon Lattimore did it with the Saints in 2017 and Detroit’s Mel Farr and Lem Barney did it in 1967.
Stroud and Anderson were selected back-to-back with the second and third picks in the NFL draft.
AP Defensive Player of the Year : Myles Garrett
Myles Garrett beat out T.J. Watt for the AP Defensive Player of the Year award.
Cleveland’s All-Pro edge rusher received 23 first-place votes and 165 points to Watt’s 19 first-place votes and 140 points.
Dallas Cowboys edge rusher Micah Parsons finished third with 89 points, including seven first-place votes. Cornerback DaRon Bland, Parson’s teammate, got the other first-place vote and came in fifth behind Raiders edge Maxx Crosby.
Watt, who won the award in 2021, led the NFL with 19 sacks. But Garrett had the better all-around season for the NFL’s top-ranked defense. Despite constant double-teams, Garrett had 14 sacks, 30 quarterback hits, 17 tackles for loss, four forced fumbles and forced offensive coordinators to avoid his side of the field.
AP Offensive Rookie of the Year: C.J. Stroud
C.J. Stroud won the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year award in a landslide.
The Houston Texans’ quarterback received 48 of 50 first-place votes with Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Puka Nacua getting the other two.
Nacua set a rookie record with 105 receptions and 1,486 yards receiving yards.
Lions tight end Sam LaPorta finished third.
Stroud helped Houston go from worst to first place in the AFC South and led the Texans to a playoff win in the wild-card round.
Stroud, the No. 2 overall pick, threw for 4,108 yards, 23 touchdowns, five interceptions and had a passer rating of 100.8, third-best by a rookie.
Stroud led the league in passing yards per game (273.9) and had the best touchdown-interception ratio at 4.6, becoming just the third player in NFL history to finish first in both categories, joining Joe Montana (1989) and Tom Brady (2007).
Key’s monologue takes jabs at Cowboys, Panthers and of course, Taylor and Travis
Comedian and emcee Keegan-Michael Key took aim at Jerry Jones, backup quarterbacks and of course, Taylor Swift during his opening monologue.
“Who’d have thought we’d see a year where Taylor Swift went to more playoff games than Bill Belichick?” he asked.
Key mentioned that Swift is currently in Tokyo, performing in front sold-out crowds.
“The only people further from the Super Bowl are the Carolina Panthers,” Key said.
AP Assistant Coach of the Year: Browns defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz
Cleveland Browns defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz won the AP Assistant Coach of the Year award after guiding the league’s No. 1 ranked unit.
Schwartz received 25 first-place votes and finished with 160 points, easily outpacing Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald.
Macdonald got 11 first-place votes and 94 points. Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson finished third with 65 points, including six first-place votes.
Schwartz was in his first season in Cleveland. He was previously an assistant in Tennessee, Philadelphia and Buffalo after coaching the Lions from 2009-13.
How are the AP NFL awards winners chosen?
A nationwide panel of 50 media members who regularly cover the league completed voting for the winners before the playoffs began.
This was the second year for the AP’s weighted voting system.
Voters chose a top five for MVP and top three for all other awards. For MVP, first-place votes were worth 10 points. Second through fifth-place votes were worth 5, 3, 2 and 1 points. For all the other awards, first-place votes equaled 5 points, second were 3 and third were 1.
Pats’ Cardona, a Naval Acade my grad, walks red carpet in his other uniform
New England Patriots long snapper Joe Cardona walked the red carpet in a Navy uniform.
He is the USAA 2023 Salute to Service award winner. Cardona is a department head of Maritime Security Squadron 8, headquartered in Newport, Rhode Island, and oversees the logistical needs of 500 sailors across the Eastern Seaboard.
C.J. Stroud ‘honored’ to be a finalist for AP Offensive Rookie of the Year
Houston quarterback C.J. Stroud is a finalist for AP Offensive Rookie of the Year after he led the Texans to the divisional round of the playoffs.
“There are a lot of great players, a lot of great rookies,” Stroud said. “I’m honored to be on there.”
Jets owner Woody Johnson discusses keeping Saleh, Douglas
New York Jets owner Woody Johnson decided to bring back coach Robert Saleh and general manager Joe Douglas for next season despite clamoring from many fans and media to make changes.
The Jets went 7-10 this season. They never truly recovered from losing quarterback Aaron Rodgers in the season opener. With Rodgers expected back next season, there will be heightened scrutiny on Saleh and Douglas.
“We can’t make wrong decisions,” Johnson said.
Is Bill Belichick done? Patriots vet Jonathan Jones doesn’t think so
Speaking from the “NFL Honors” red carpet, New England cornerback Jonathan Jones says he doesn’t think former Patriots coach Bill Belichick is done. Belichick, a six-time Super Bowl champion, did not get hired for another coaching job after he parted ways with the Patriots at the end of last season.
“Teams are going to need him,” Jones said.
How to watch ‘NFL Honors’
The Associated Press MVP, Coach of the Year and more will be revealed Thursday night at the “NFL Honors” awards show at the Resorts World Theater in Las Vegas.
“NFL Honors” will air on CBS and NFL Network and be available for streaming on Paramount+ and NFL+. The red carpet opens at 7 p.m. ET, and the show itself begins at 9 p.m. ET.
Here are the nominees for the AP’s NFL awards
Eight Associated Press NFL awards will be handed out Thursday night at “NFL Honors.” Here are the finalists:
AP MOST VALUABLE PLAYER
-Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills
-Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens
-Christian McCaffrey, San Francisco 49ers
-Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys
-Brock Purdy, San Francisco 49ers
AP COACH OF THE YEAR
-Dan Campbell, Detroit Lions
-John Harbaugh, Baltimore Ravens
-DeMeco Ryans, Houston Texans
-Kyle Shanahan, San Francisco 49ers
-Kevin Stefanski, Cleveland Browns
AP ASSISTANT COACH OF THE YEAR
-Ben Johnson, Detroit Lions offensive coordinator
-Mike Macdonald, Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator
-Todd Monken, Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator
-Jim Schwartz, Cleveland Browns defensive coordinator
-Bobby Slowik, Houston Texans offensive coordinator
AP OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
-Tyreek Hill, Miami Dolphins
-Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens
-CeeDee Lamb, Dallas Cowboys
-Christian McCaffrey, San Francisco 49ers
-Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys
AP DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
-DaRon Bland, Dallas Cowboys
-Maxx Crosby, Las Vegas Raiders
-Myles Garrett, Cleveland Browns
-Micah Parsons, Dallas Cowboys
-TJ Watt, Pittsburgh Steelers
AP COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR
-Joe Flacco, Cleveland Browns
-Damar Hamlin, Buffalo Bills
-Baker Mayfield, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
-Matthew Stafford, Los Angeles Rams
-Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins
OFFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
-Jahmyr Gibbs, Detroit Lions
-Sam LaPorta, Detroit Lions
-Puka Nacua, Los Angeles Rams
-Bijan Robinson, Atlanta Falcons
-C.J. Stroud, Houston Texans
DEFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
-Will Anderson, Houston Texans
-Jalen Carter, Philadelphia Eagles
-Joey Porter Jr., Pittsburgh Steelers
-Kobie Turner, Los Angeles Rams
-Devon Witherspoon, Seattle Seahawks
Who will take home AP NFL MVP?
Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson finished the season as the betting favorite to win AP NFL MVP, per FanDuel Sportsbook. It would be Jackson’s second MVP award, and he’d join exclusive company in that regard. The 27-year-old would be the fourth two-time winner before turning 28, matching Patrick Mahomes (27), Brett Favre (27) and Jim Brown (22).
The Super Bowl-bound 49ers have two MVP finalists in quarterback Brock Purdy and running back Christian McCaffrey, while Jackson’s Ravens were eliminated by Kansas City in the AFC championship game. Voting for MVP and the other AP NFL awards closed before the playoffs began.
Who will win the Super Bowl? AP Pro Football Writer Rob Maaddi says the 49ers
AP NFL MVP finalist Brock Purdy will lead the 49ers to another comeback victory on Sunday, ruining the Chiefs’ bid to repeat as Super Bowl champions, says AP Pro Football Writer Rob Maaddi.
The 49ers are 2 1/2-point favorites, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. They’re quite familiar with that role having been favored to win each game this season.
In the previous 57 Super Bowls, the favorites are 36-21 straight up and 27-28-2 against the spread. Maaddi leans slightly toward the 49ers in a close one that comes down to Purdy having to lead the team to a comeback win for the third straight game.
From Hingle McCringleberry to ‘NFL Honors’ Host
Keegan-Michael Key is back as “NFL Honors” host for the third time. The former “Key & Peele” co-star is well-known to football fans for his sketch-comedy turns as audaciously named college players Hingle McCringleberry and Quatro Quatro, among others.
When Key hosted in 2022, he cracked a joke about Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes’ struggles in that year’s AFC championship game – a dig that prompted a glowering look from KC teammate Travis Kelce. Neither Mahomes or Kelce are up for any awards this season.
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