WASHINGTON, February 4, 2018: The Saturday before Super Bowl Sunday, is set aside, for the NFL Honors awards that recognizes the top players in the NFL. There are several award categories including offensive rookie of the year, defensive player of the year, comeback player of the year among them. The NFL Honors aired on Saturday Feb. 3 on NBC.
Pepsi Rookie of the Year – New Orleans Saints RB Alvin Kamara
The 2017 season was an incredible year for rookies, but Alvin Kamara shined the brightest. Kamara ran for 728 yards and eight touchdowns. He managed to snag 81 catches for 826 yards and five touchdowns. He shared the work load with Mark Ingram and didn’t post double-digit carries until Week 5.
FedEx Air and Ground Players of the Year – Philadelphia QB Carson Wentz, Los Angeles Rams RB Todd Gurley
Carson Wentz put up some excellent numbers as did his part in sending the Eagles to the Super Bowl. Up to the injury, Carson Wentz threw 33 touchdown passes, passed for nearly 4,000 yards and only threw seven interceptions. As APOY, Wentz managed to beat out some tough competition including Tom Brady and Alex Smith.
Running Back Todd Gurley had an incredible season as well, running for incredible numbers. The third year veteran had a league best of 2,093 scrimmage yards. He was second in league rushing with little over 1,000 yards. He cemented himself in the history books and became only the third player in NFL history to have 10 rushing touchdowns, six receiving touchdowns and 2,000 scrimmage yards. This accomplishment has only been achieved by two other running backs, Marshall Faulk and O.J. Simpson. Gurley also managed to snag 788 receiving yards. Gurley’s workhorse effort helped lead them to a divisional title, the first since the “Greatest Show on Turf,” debuted and claimed the division.
AP Defensive Player of the Year – Los Angeles Rams Defensive Tackle Aaron Donald
The LA Rams powerhouse defensive tackle was named the Defensive Player of the Year. Donald managed to beat out DT Calais Campbell and LB Chandler Jones. Aaron Donald racked up 32 tackles, 11 sacks, five forced fumbles and one pass defended. In December, Seahawks QB Russel Wilson told reporters that Aaron Donald was probaly the best defensive player he’s ever played against in his career.
USAA’s Salute to Service Award – Atlanta Falcons WR Andre Roberts
Andre Roberts has truly shown respect and appreciation for those in the military. Roberts’ parents served in the Army. Roberts often took part in military appreciation events held by the Atlanta Falcons. During a speech, Roberts said that the men and women in uniform are the greatest collections of heroes in the world today.
Roberts beat out Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera and Titans coach Mike Mularkey.
During the offseason Roberts will be making several trips to youth camps at several military bases including: Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada; Luke Air Force base in Arizona; Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach, Virginia; Fort Lee II in Richmond, Virginia; Fort Bragg in North Carolina; Joint Base in South Carolina; Schofield Barracks in Hawaii; Yankee Stadium in New York; Fort Jackson in South Carolina; Fort Benning in Georgia; and Fort Campbell in Kentucky.
AP Offensive Rookie of the Year – New Orleans Saints RB Alvin Kamara
Kamara picks up his second award, this time as rookie of the year by the Associated Press. His numbers show that he was a beast as a rookie. The question now becomes, whether he will continue to put up numbers like he did this season, or will he end up in a slump, in a season or two?
AP Offensive Player of the Year – Los Angeles Rams RB Todd Gurley
Along with being named the FedEx Ground Player of the Year, Todd Gurley was named as the Offensive Player of the Year by the Associated Press. Todd Gurley’s power as a running back helped lead the LA Rams into the playoffs. Unfortunately they were stopped in the playoffs, so we will have to wait for next season to see if Todd Gurley can continue to push his way into the end zone, week after week.
Game Changer Award presented by Secret – Sam Gordon
This first award is going to 14-year-old Sam Gordon. Gordon is from Utah and played in an all-boys tackle football league when she was 9. As she got older, she wanted to keep playing but learned that their was no leagues she could play in.
Gordon and her dad, Brent, launched the Utah Girls Tackle Football League, becoming the first all-girls tackle football league. It doubled in size after one year and inspired leagues across the country.
AP Defensive Rookie of the Year- New Orleans Saints CB Marshon Lattimore
New Orleans Saints’ draft class was full of strong players including Marshon Lattimore. Lattimore powered his way to the Associated Press’ defensive rookie of the year award. As a rookie, he had 5 interceptions and 18 defended passes. He was a key part of the Saints’ trip to the playoffs. He’s definitely going to do some great work moving forward with the Saints.
Built Ford Tough Offensive Line of the Year – Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles offensive line played a huge part in sending them to the Super Bowl. The team ranked third with 132 rushing yards per game. The Eagles also managed to win the inaugural best celebration award.
That 10-1 feeling!
— Jalen Mills (@greengoblin) November 26, 2017
Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award – Carolina Panthers LB Luke Kuechly
Star linebacker Luke Kuechly has been received the sportsmanship award. During his acceptance speech, Kuechly praised his teammates including Greg Olsen and Thomas Davis, for the mentorship they provide.
AP Comeback Player of the Year – Los Angeles Chargers WR Keenan Allen
In 2016, Keenan Allen only played one game before injuring his right knee and ending up on injured reserve. One year later, he ended third in the league in receiving yards. Allen finished the season with 102 receptions and 1,393 yards. He previously ended up missing half of the 2015 season with a lacerated kidney.
AP Assistant Coach of the Year – Minnesota Vikings OC Pat Shurmur
Pat Shurmur is being recognized for the work he did in Minneapolis, bringing the team to the playoffs. Shurmur was forced to to deal with some injuries including Dalvin Cook who tore his ACL and was forced onto the injured reserve list and Sam Bradford who had knee trouble early in the season.
Castrol Edge Clutch Performer of the Year – New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees
The New Orleans Saints managed to snag a couple awards including Clutch Performer of the Year. Fans vote on the winner of the Clutch award. The award stems from his performance in Week 11 against the Washington Redskins. During the game, Brees threw a pair of touchdowns in the last three minutes of the game, overcoming a 15-point deficit in the final quarter. The Saints ended up winning in overtime. Among the other finalists were Saints running back Mark Ingram, Steelers receiver Antonio Brown, Eagles Quarterback Carson Wentz and Vikings receiver Stefon Diggs.
Bridgestone Elite Performance Play of the Year – The Minnesota Miracle
— NFL (@NFL) February 4, 2018
There were dozens of incredible plays throughout the season but none could match the “Minnesota Miracle.” Vikings QB Case Keenum connected with Stefon Diggs for 61-yards defeating the New Orleans Saints in a divisional round playoff game.
AP Coach of the Year – Los Angeles Rams coach Sean McVay
Sean McVay took home the honor of being the AP Coach of the Year, and he was definitely worthy of it. McVay turned around a team that in 2016 managed to only win four games in their new city, and just recently won 11 games this season and earned the NFC West title. McVay also was able to work with Gurley and have him explode on the field and helped Jared Goff grow as a quarterback, turning him into a franchise quarterback.
AP Most Valuable Player – New England Patriots QB Tom Brady
In unsurprising fashion, future Hall of Famer Tom Brady received the award for being the most valuable player for 2017. Brady was league MVP in 2007 and 2010. He is competing to win his sixth Super Bowl title on Sunday.
The last league MVP to win the Super Bowl was Kurt Warner in 1999.
Nationwide Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year – Houston Texans J.J. Watt
J.J. Watt was named the Walter Payton Man of the Year for his work raising over $37 million for people affected by Hurricane Harvey. The Texan says he is humbled and honored to receive this award. Watt launched an online fundraiser with the goal of raising $200,000, and in 19 days he raised more than $37 million.
Along with these honors, the 2018 Hall of Fame class was announced and they include Bobby Beathard, general manager; Robert Brazile, LB; Brian Dawkins, S; Jerry Kramer, G; Ray Lewis, LB; Randy Moss, WR; Terrell Owens, WR; Brian Urlacher, LB.