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NFL Awards 2023: MVP, Offensive and Defensive POY, ROY, Honors Finalists Announced

Adam WellsJanuary 25, 2023

KANSAS CITY, MO - JANUARY 21: Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) flexes as smokes rises around him before an AFC divisional playoff game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and Kansas City Chiefs on January 21, 2023 at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, MO. (Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Two weeks away from the NFL Honors ceremony, finalists for eight of the awards that will be handed out were announced on Wednesday.

The San Francisco 49ers lead all teams with finalists in five different categories. The Kansas City Chiefs are the only team with a finalist for MVP, Offensive Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year.

Here is the list of finalists in every category, via NFL.com:

MVP

  • Patrick Mahomes, QB (Kansas City Chiefs)
  • Josh Allen, QB (Buffalo Bills)
  • Joe Burrow, QB (Cincinnati Bengals)
  • Jalen Hurts, QB (Philadelphia Eagles)
  • Justin Jefferson, WR (Minnesota Vikings)

Offensive Player of the Year

  • Patrick Mahomes, QB (Kansas City Chiefs)
  • Jalen Hurts, QB (Philadelphia Eagles)
  • Justin Jefferson, WR (Minnesota Vikings)
  • Tyreek Hill, WR (Miami Dolphins)

Defensive Player of the Year

  • Nick Bosa, DE (San Francisco 49ers)
  • Chris Jones, DT (Kansas City Chiefs)
  • Micah Parsons, DE/LB (Dallas Cowboys)

Comeback Player of the Year

  • Saquon Barkley, RB (New York Giants)
  • Christian McCaffrey, RB (San Francisco 49ers)
  • Geno Smith, QB (Seattle Seahawks)

Coach of the Year*

  • Brian Daboll (New York Giants)
  • Doug Pederson (Jacksonville Jaguars)
  • Kyle Shanahan (San Francisco 49ers)

Assistant Coach of the Year

  • Ben Johnson, OC (Detroit Lions)
  • DeMeco Ryans, DC (San Francisco 49ers)
  • Shane Steichen, OC (Philadelphia Eagles)

Offensive Rookie of the Year

  • Brock Purdy, QB (San Francisco 49ers)
  • Kenneth Walker III, RB (Seattle Seahawks)
  • Garrett Wilson, WR (New York Jets)

Defensive Rookie of the Year

  • Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner, CB (New York Jets)
  • Aidan Hutchinson, DE (Detroit Lions)
  • Tariq Woolen, CB (Seattle Seahawks)

*NFL.com lists five finalists for Coach of the Year, but the Associated Press cites three finalists.

There is the potential for some surprise winners because the Associated Press changed its voting system this year.

In the past, voters were only asked to list one name in each category. The new system is a ranked vote with five candidates for MVP and three candidates for every other award.

Since the awards are voted on at the end of the regular season, NFL MVP feels like a foregone conclusion for Patrick Mahomes. He led the league with 5,250 passing yards and 41 touchdowns.

Jalen Hurts could present a challenge to Mahomes. He had a terrific season with 3,701 passing yards, 760 rushing yards and accounted for 35 touchdowns for a Philadelphia Eagles team that went 14-1 in his 15 starts.

If the voting included playoff games, Joe Burrow might garner more attention after his impressive outing against fellow MVP finalist Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills.

Mahomes also has an opportunity to win MVP and Offensive Player of the Year in the same season for the second time in his career. He previously accomplished the feat in 2018.

Tyreek Hill and Justin Jefferson, along with Hurts, are competing against Mahomes for Offensive Player of the Year. Jefferson led the league with 128 receptions and 1,809 receiving yards.

Hill had a career-high 1,710 yards in his first season with the Miami Dolphins.

The 49ers have been campaigning hard for Nick Bosa as Defensive Player of the Year. He led the NFL with 18.5 sacks in 16 games.

Chris Jones was fantastic for the Chiefs with 15.5 sacks while playing on the interior defensive line. Micah Parsons had 27 quarterback hits and 13.5 sacks for the Dallas Cowboys.

The inclusion of 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy could make Offensive Rookie of the Year one of the most hotly-debated awards. His ability to step in after Jimmy Garoppolo went down and keep the offense humming has been crucial to them being in the NFC Championship Game.

On the other hand, Purdy only started five games. Garrett Wilson had 1,103 receiving yards for the New York Jets with Zach Wilson, Joe Flacco and Mike White as his quarterbacks. Seattle Seahawks running back Kenneth Walker III racked up 1,215 yards from scrimmage and nine total touchdowns in 15 games.

Speaking of the Jets, Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner was the first rookie cornerback ever named to the AP All-Pro first team. Since there's almost certainly overlap between All-Pro and awards voters, it would be a shock if either Aidan Hutchinson or Tariq Woolen beat out Gardner for Defensive Rookie of the Year.

If Eagles fans were looking for extra bulletin-board material going into the NFC Championship Game, Kyle Shanahan being a finalist for Coach of the Year with Nick Sirianni not among the top three should give them plenty of fodder.

Shanahan did a fantastic job with the 49ers, particularly navigating a season-ending injury to original starting quarterback Trey Lance in Week 2 and Garoppolo's injury in Week 13.

San Francisco's current 12-game winning streak is the longest by any NFL team this season. Shanahan will be competing against Brian Daboll of the New York Giants and Doug Pederson of the Jacksonville Jaguars for the award.

Daboll and Pederson led their teams to surprise playoff berths this season. Both men are in their first year as head coach with their clubs.

The 2023 NFL Honors ceremony will be held on Feb. 9.