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Aaron Rodgers named 2021 NFL MVP as Green Bay Packers quarterback becomes four-time winner

Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp wins Offensive Player of the Year, while Steelers outside linebacker TJ Watt takes defensive honour; rookie awards go to Bengals wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase and Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons; Titans' Mike Vrabel named Coach of the Year

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Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers wins the 2021 AP Most Valuable Player, his fourth in his career

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was named the NFL Most Valuable Player on Thursday, earning the designation for the second year in a row and becoming a four-time winner.

Rodgers, who guided the Packers to the NFC's No 1 seed in this season's playoffs, also was named MVP in 2011, 2014 and 2020.

The only other player to win the honour at least four times was Peyton Manning, who was a five-time MVP. Manning presented the award to Rodgers on Thursday.

In 16 games this season, Rodgers passed for 4,115 yards and 37 touchdowns against just four interceptions in leading the Packers to a 13-3 record. Green Bay were eliminated in the divisional round of the playoffs by the San Francisco 49ers.

Rodgers thanked his teammates and gave credit to Packers coach Matt LaFleur for putting him in a position to have success.

Green Bay Packers Aaron Rodgers poses with the MVP trophy after winning 2021 award (AP)
Image: Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has won his fourth NFL MVP award

"You're a huge part of this and I love you and I appreciate you," Rodgers said. "Thanks for trusting me, supporting me, empowering me and making things easy for me. I appreciate you, buddy."

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Check out Rodgers' best throws from his four-touchdown game as the Green Bay Packers beat the Chicago Bears 45-30.

Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt was chosen the NFL Defensive Player of the Year, while Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp was named NFL Offensive Player of the Year.

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Watt's 22.5 sacks in the 2021 season tied the NFL record set by the New York Giants' Michael Strahan in 2001.

The award was presented to Watt by his brother J.J. Watt of the Arizona Cardinals, a three-time defensive player of the year (2012, 2014, 2015).

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TJ Watt sacks Baker Mayfield for the fourth time, his most in a game, taking him one away from tying season record of 22.5 by Michael Strahan in the Pittsburgh Steelers' victory over the Cleveland Browns.

"My teammates, coaches back home in Pittsburgh, this truly is not possible without you guys," said T.J. Watt, a first-round pick by the Steelers in 2017 who has 72 career sacks. "There are so many guys that put in so much work that goes unnoticed -- and that goes for the guys in the cafeteria to the guys who are taping ankles. This one is for all of you guys."

Kupp claimed the Offensive honour after claiming the wide receiver triple crown, leading the league in receptions (145), yards (1,947) and touchdowns (16). The last wide receiver to lead the league in all three categories was Steve Smith in 2005.

Kupp's exploits helped the Rams to a spot in Sunday's Super Bowl against the Cincinnati Bengals. In Los Angeles' 20-17 NFC Championship Game victory against the San Francisco Giants, Kupp had 11 catches for 142 yards and two touchdowns.

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Watch the best bits from wide receiver Cooper Kupp's record-breaking evening as he broke the Rams' single-season receptions record.

"I have my teammates and coaches who have made it an absolute joy to come in and do the work every single day," Kupp said. "I have enjoyed it."

Kupp's teammate, offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth, received the NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year award for his charitable contributions off the field.

Whitworth has a unique perspective on Sunday's Super Bowl as somebody who played for both teams. His first 11 seasons came with the Bengals before he played the past five seasons with the Rams.

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Watch as Justin Tucker hits a NFL-record 66-yard field goal as the Ravens beat the Lions.

Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin Tucker was honoured with NFL Moment of the Year for his record-breaking, 66-yard field goal at Detroit on Sept. 26 as time expired in a 19-17 victory.

Bengals wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase was named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. Chase, the No. 5 overall selection in last year's draft, had 81 receptions for 1,455 yards and 13 touchdowns for the AFC champions.

Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons was named unanimous NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year after recording 13 sacks and 84 tackles. The No. 12 selection in last year's draft out of Penn State had three forced fumbles in 16 games.

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Ja'Marr Chase broke Chad Ochocinco's single-season receiving yardage record for the Cincinnati Bengals.

Quarterback Joe Burrow was named NFL Comeback Player of the Year after guiding the Bengals to Sunday's Super Bowl.

Burrow's rookie season in 2020 was cut short after 10 games because of a devastating knee injury sustained against the Washington Football Team. He tore the ACL and MCL in his left knee while also damaging his PCL and meniscus.

The Tennessee Titans' Mike Vrabel was named NFL Coach of the Year after guiding his team to a 12-5 record and a No. 1 seed in the AFC for this season's playoffs.

2021 NFL award winners

Most Valuable Player: Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay Packers)

Coach of the Year: Mike Vrabel (Tennessee Titans)

Offensive Player of the Year: Cooper Kupp (Los Angeles Rams)

Defensive Player of the Year: TJ Watt (Pittsburgh Steelers)

Comeback Player of the Year: Joe Burrow (Cincinnati Bengals)

Rookie of the Year: Ja'Marr Chase (Cincinnati Bengals)

Offensive Rookie of the Year: Ja'Marr Chase (Cincinnati Bengals)

Defensive Rookie of the Year: Micah Parsons (Dallas Cowboys)

Moment of the Year: Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin Tucker's record-breaking 66-yard field goal

Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year: Andrew Whitworth (Los Angeles Rams)

Hall of Fame inductees announced

Eight inductees were also named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Thursday, including former Green Bay Packers safety LeRoy Butler, ex-San Francisco 49ers defensive lineman Bryant Young and late New Orleans linebacker Sam Mills.

Others named to the Hall of Fame from the NFL Honors celebration at Los Angeles included late Raiders wide receiver Cliff Branch, New England Patriots and Raiders defensive lineman Richard Seymour, Jacksonville Jaguars tackle Tony Boselli, Super Bowl-winning head coach Dick Vermeil and former referee and director of officiating Art McNally.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony is set for Aug. 6 at Canton, Ohio.

Full list of inductees:

  • Tony Boselli
  • LeRoy Butler
  • Sam Mills
  • Richard Seymour
  • Bryant Young
  • Cliff Branch
  • Art McNally
  • Dick Vermeil

Butler played 181 games over 12 seasons as a second-round draft pick out of Florida State. He led the Packers in interceptions five times and picked off 38 passes in his career.

"Family, friends, teammates, coaches, fans, and everyone in the Packers organization, WE MADE IT!" Butler wrote on his website "I will forever be thankful for all of the love and support you have shown to me, both personally and professionally. And, while I am sure I will be working hard to express my thanks to all of you, I want to make sure that my Packers teammates, especially that special 1996 team, are thanked."

Young played 208 games over 14 seasons, all with the 49ers. The first-round pick in 1994 out of Notre Dame was named to the Pro Bowl four times. Bryant had 89.5 sacks in his career.

The 49ers issued a statement that read in part, "Congratulations to Bryant Young for receiving the ultimate honor of being elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. B.Y.'s tenacity, dedication and leadership throughout his illustrious 14-year career earned him respect from his teammates and the 49ers Faithful alike, helping him garner numerous career accolades highlighted by a Super Bowl championship. While he inspired us all through his courageous play, his legacy derives from the integrity, class and character he exemplified to all of us at the 49ers and in the community."

Mills, who died from cancer in 2005 at the age of 45, played the first nine seasons of his 12-year career in New Orleans. He finished with the Carolina Panthers and totaled 1,265 tackles with 20.5 sacks and 11 interceptions.

"It's probably one of the more inspirational stories because this is a guy that never gave up, that was told: You can't, you can't, you can't,'" former Panthers head coach Ron Rivera said, according to The Athletic, about the 5-foot-9 Mills.

"But that never stayed with him. He just kept doing it and kept doing it. It tells people the right message. In spite of all those things, you can succeed."

Branch, who died in 2019 at age 71, was a three-time Super Bowl champion and four-time Pro Bowler. He had 501 career receptions for 8,685 yards and 67 touchdowns.

Seymour, who played 164 games over 12 seasons, was the sixth overall draft pick in 2001 out of Georgia. He had 57.5 career sacks and was on seven Patriots teams that won at least 10 games.

Boselli played 91 games over seven seasons after he was the Jaguars' first-ever draft pick, selected No. 2 overall in 1995 out of Southern California.

A first-team All-Pro in three consecutive seasons, Boselli helped the Jaguars to the AFC Championship Game in his second NFL season. He becomes Jacksonville's first Hall of Famer.

"Tony's well-deserved selection for enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame is long overdue and one of the greatest moments in the history of our franchise," Jaguars owner Shad Khan said. "Tony embraced being a Jaguar from the moment he was drafted and from there fought for Jacksonville as one of the greatest offensive linemen to ever play the game."

Vermeil led the St. Louis Rams to the Super Bowl title after the 1999 season.

As coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, the Rams and the Kansas City Chiefs, he went 120-109 in 15 NFL seasons.

"I am overwhelmed. I'm not sure I belong there," Vermeil said.

McNally is a former official who became supervisor of officials from 1968-90.

He worked as an NFL officiating observer and trainer until 2015.

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