Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers earned the National Football League’s Most Valuable Player award while San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh was named Coach of the Year.
New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees was named Offensive Player of the Year, Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs was Defensive Player of the Year and Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford earned the Comeback Player of the Year award. Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton won the Offensive Rookie of the Year award and Denver Broncos rookie linebacker Von Miller got defensive honors.
The awards were presented last night on the televised “NFL Honors” show.
Rodgers, 28, the first Packers’ player to win the MVP since Brett Favre in 1997, had 45 touchdown passes, six interceptions and a 68.3 completion percentage to lead Green Bay to a 15-1 record that topped the National Football Conference North division.
“I’m honored to be here with so many of my childhood idols,” said Rodgers who was introduced by four-time MVP quarterback Peyton Manning of the Indianapolis Colts who missed this season after neck surgery.
Harbaugh, 48, took the 49ers to a 13-3 record and the NFC West championship game in his first season as an NFL head coach.
“He probably would say he doesn’t deserve this,” said quarterback Alex Smith, accepting the award on Harbaugh’s behalf. “That’s the kind of guy he is. But I’ve known a lot of coaches and this is well-deserved.”
Brees, 33, had a record-breaking year, surpassing Dan Marino’s record by passing for 5,476 yards and Peyton Manning’s record for completions with 468. For 13 games during the season, he threw for more than 300 yards. He beat out Rodgers in the voting by a panel of 50 media members who regularly cover the NFL.
“There are not only wins and losses, there are moments that will live forever,” Brees said. “As years go by those moments will become more special.”
Suggs, 29, had 70 tackles, including 14 sacks, caused seven fumbles and had two interceptions for the Ravens who went 12-4 and won the American Football Conference North. He plays next to earlier winners, safety Ed Reed (2004) and linebacker Ray Lewis (2003, 2000).
Play for Fans
“I’ve always said that I play for our fans, and this honor is a tribute to them,” Suggs said in a statement. “I’m very appreciative of Ravens Nation and their love and support throughout the past nine years.”
Stafford, 23, whose first two seasons were hampered by shoulder and knee injuries, directed the Lions to their first playoff spot in 12 years as he passed for 5,038 yards and 41 touchdowns.
“This is an honor,” Stafford said after receiving the award. “To win something like this, it takes all 53 guys in the locker room.”
Newton, 22, set an NFL record for touchdowns rushing in a season by a quarterback with 14 and became the first player in league history to throw for 4,000 yards and rush for 500.
“I want to thank the man upstairs,” Newton said.
Miller, 22, the second overall pick in the NFL Draft, helped quarterback Tim Tebow turn around the Broncos from a 2-5 record to the American Conference West championship and a playoff win.
“It’s special because you only get one rookie season,” Miller told reporters. “That was probably the most special thing about it, you only get one shot to accomplish this feat.”