Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan will go into the Super Bowl as the leagues Most Valuable Player after securing the award at the NFL Honors show on Saturday night
Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan will go into the Super Bowl as the leagues Most Valuable Player after securing the award at the NFL Honors show on Saturday night.
Ryan and his Falcons play the New England Patriots, whose quarterback Tom Brady was another MVP candidate, in Super Bowl LI on Sunday in Houston after a brilliant season. Ryan won 25 votes to Bradys 10 and the New England quarterbacks four-game suspension at the start of the season for his part in the Deflategate scandal may have swayed the voting panel.
Nevertheless, few would argue that Ryan doesnt deserve the award. As well as leading the Falcons to the Super Bowl he shook off a reputation for failing in big games, throwing 18 touchdowns and no interceptions in his last six games as the Falcons tore apart their opponents in the playoffs. Ryans deep balls in combination with Julio Jones were a particular threat and he finished ended the season with 4,944 yards, 38 touchdowns and just seven interceptions. He was also named the leagues offensive player of the year.
Ryans award isnt necessarily a predictor of Sundays game: the last quarterback to win MVP and the Super Bowl in the same season was Kurt Warner in the 1999 season. Cam Newton won last years award before his team lost in Super Bowl 50.
For the first time since the 2013 season the winner of the defensive player of the year wasnt JJ Watt. Instead, the Oakland Raiders Khalil Mack held off competition from Von Miller of the Denver Broncos to take the award by one vote. Macks case was helped by the fact that he played on a modest defense the Raiders were ranked just 26th in the NFL this season. The edge rusher had 11 sacks, 73 tackles and returned an interception for a touchdown.
The Dallas Cowboys endured an early exit from the playoffs despite ending the regular season as the NFCs No1 seed but there was some small comfort as their quarterback Dak Prescott won offensive rookie of the year. It marks a remarkable rise for Prescott who was just a fourth-round pick for the Cowboys and started pre-season as the teams third-string quarterback. But he set team rookie records for passing yards, touchdowns and passer rating after taking over from the injured Tony Romo and looks to be the Dallas quarterback for years to come. Prescott acknowledged his draft position acted as motivation as he thanked the other 31 teams for passing up on me as much as they did when he accepted the award. There was another award for the Cowboys as Jason Garrett was named coach of the year he led Dallas to a 13-3 record and their second NFC East title in three years.
The leagues defensive rookie was part of another team that ended the season on a down note. The San Diego Chargers played their final season as the team relocated to Los Angeles but their fans did at least get to witness Joey Bosas emergence. The defensive end was highly-touted out of college and was the No3 overall pick. Despite sitting out the first four games of the season due to a contract holdout, he tallied 12.5 sacks and was the choice of 37 out of the 50 members of APs voting panel.
The Green Bay Packers Jordy Nelson won comeback player of the year after missing the entire 2015 with a knee injury. This time around he linked up with Aaron Rodgers to total 1,257 receiving yards as the Packers took the NFC North before falling to the Falcons in the championship game.
Most Valuable Player Matt Ryan (Atlanta Falcons)
Walter Payton men of the year Eli Manning (New York Giants) and Larry Fitzgerald (Arizona Cardinals)
Offensive player of the year Matt Ryan (Atlanta Falcons)
Defensive player of the year Khalil Mack (Oakland Raiders)
Offensive rookie of the year Dak Prescott (Dallas Cowboys)
Defensive rookie of the year Joey Bosa (San Diego Chargers)
Coach of the year Jason Garrett (Dallas Cowboys)
Assistant coach of the year Kyle Shanahan (Atlanta Falcons)