Aaron Rodgers: Green Bay Packers quarterback named NFL's MVP for third time in career
Future Hall of Fame quarterback Rodgers adds to MVP honours in 2011 and 2014 after NFC Championship defeat to Tampa Bay; Justin Herbert claims offensive rookie of the year, Russell Wilson is Walter Payton Man of the Year
Last Updated: 07/02/21 8:11am
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was the runaway winner for NFL MVP in the end-of-year Associated Press awards, handed out on Saturday night in Tampa at the NFL Honors ceremony.
Rodgers led the league with 48 touchdown passes, a 70.7 per cent completion rate and a 121.5 rating - it was enough to earn him 44 votes with only Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen (4) and Patrick Mahomes (2), who will start Sunday's Super Bowl for Kansas City against Tampa Bay, getting a nomination
"It is really special to have won it in my fourth year as a starter and now to win it in my 13th year as a starter in a new offense is pretty amazing and something I am very proud of," said Rodgers said.
"To have sustained success and be able to play your best football at 37 in my 16th season is something I take a lot of pride in."
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Cleveland Browns rookie coach Kevin Stefanski was named Coach of the Year, having led the franchise into the playoffs for the first time since 2002 and after a Wild Card win over rivals Pittsburgh they were eventually beaten by Kansas City in the divisional round.
Stefanski led the Browns to an 11-5 record and a spot in the postseason to earn just the second-ever coach of the year in Browns history
"We never concerned ourselves with the past, we are all about moving forward," Stefanski said.
"This season had its unique challenges and we focused on those each and every day and ultimately tried to put together a group of guys that would fight every single week, and I think we did that."
Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson was named Man of the Year an award that is presented in recognition of "outstanding community service activities off the field, as well as excellence on it".
Wilson, who receives a $250,000 donation to the charity of his choice, has used his foundation to help deliver supplies and aid during the coronavirus pandemic and was a vocal presence on social injustice and the call to vote during the November election.
Wilson spoke movingly of his father, echoed Payton's own speech and called on the world to use love rather than hate.
"Dad, I know one your favorite athletes of all-time was Walter Payton. The player he was, but more importantly the man he was, the leader, the giver, the person. Dad, I can remember you telling me in the car one day, 'Son, love changes things.'
"Well, dad, you were right. I wish you were here to tell the world that in the toughest of times. 2020 was the most difficult times in history.
"To America, to the world, love is patient, love is kind, love changes things. The great Walter Payton once said, 'We are stronger together than we are alone.' Dad, I think Walter was right. To the young boy or girl who has a dream, who wants to make a difference.
"Remember this one thing, love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always persevere. Love changes things."
Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry was named the Offensive Player of the Year, after rushing for 2,027 yards, just the eighth player to pass the 2,000 mark, while Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald earned his third Defensive Player of the Year award.
Donald (2017, 2018) joins Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor and Houston Texans pass rusher J.J. Watt as the only three-time winners.
"You just named two great defensive players," Donald said after a season that saw him record 13 1/2 sacks, 28 quarterback hits and four forced fumbles on the season.
"Any time your name is mentioned with greats, you will be honored, especially there's only a few that have accomplished that. To be the third to do it that is truly a blessing. It shows the body of work that I have; anytime your hard work is rewarded you are going to be happy about that. It is just a blessing."
Aaron Donald is an absolutely incredible player. I love watching him play & he’s headed to the Hall of Fame without question. This has nothing to do with AD personally.— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) February 7, 2021
This is me saying what my brother won’t.
TJ played 1 less game and STILL led the NFL in every major category. pic.twitter.com/m1vzrD88WU
Washington edge rusher Chase Young was named Defensive Rookie of the Year and Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert earned Offensive Rookie of the Year honours.
Herbert becomes the second Charger to win it (Don Woods 1974), earning 41 votes to easily edge Minnesota WR Justin Jefferson.
Young led all rookies with seven sacks and received 42 votes and joined Washington teammate Alex Smith, who was named Comeback Player of the Year after 17 surgeries to repair a broken leg culminated with him starting eight games this past season.
"You know obviously that was a big part of my initial part of my rehab when I wasn't even really thinking about football at that point, way more concerned with everyday life and tasks, and things," he said.
"Fortunate enough it did progress to the point where when I started to think about football, it still seemed distant for a long long time."
Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll won the NFL Assistant Coach of the Year.