NFL Honors 2018: Award Winners, Voting Results and Twitter Reaction

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistFebruary 4, 2018

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady warms up before the AFC championship NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Sunday, Jan. 21, 2018, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
David J. Phillip/Associated Press

One night before his pursuit of a sixth Super Bowl ring, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was named NFL MVP at the NFL Honors on Saturday night in Minneapolis.

The 40-year-old Brady is now a three-time league MVP after beating out Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley for the award.

Gurley wasn't shut out, however, as he was named the Offensive Player of the Year. Rams teammate Aaron Donald took home Defensive Player of the Year honors, and the Rams' Sean McVay was named Coach of the Year in his first season.

Also, a pair of New Orleans Saints in running back Alvin Kamara and cornerback Marshon Lattimore were named the Offensive and Defensive Rookie of the Year, respectively.

Here is a full rundown of every award handed out Saturday, along with results and reaction for all of the top honors:


NFL Honors 2018 Award Winners

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AP Most Valuable Player: Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots

Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year: J.J. Watt, DE, Houston Texans

AP Coach of the Year: Sean McVay, Los Angeles Rams

AP Comeback Player of the Year: Keenan Allen, WR, Los Angeles Chargers

AP Offensive Player of the Year: Todd Gurley, RB, Los Angeles Rams

AP Defensive Player of the Year: Aaron Donald, DT, Los Angeles Rams

AP Offensive Rookie of the Year: Alvin Kamara, RB, New Orleans Saints

AP Defensive Rookie of the Year: Marshon Lattimore, CB, New Orleans Saints

AP Assistant Coach of the Year: Pat Shurmur, OC, Minnesota Vikings

Bridgestone Elite Performance Play of the Year: Case Keenum to Stefon Diggs "Minneapolis Miracle," divisional round, Minnesota Vikings

FedEx Air & Ground Players of the Year: Carson Wentz, QB, Philadelphia Eagles and Todd Gurley, RB, Los Angeles Rams

Deacon Jones Award: Chandler Jones, LB, Arizona Cardinals

Courtyard's Greatness on the Road Award: Deshaun Watson, QB, Houston Texans

Built Ford Tough Offensive Line of the Year: Philadelphia Eagles

Salute To Service Award: Andre Roberts, WR, Atlanta Falcons

Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award: Luke Kuechly, LB, Carolina Panthers

Castrol Edge Clutch Performer of the Year: Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints

Celebration of the Year: Philadelphia Eagles

Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year: Rob Garrett, Crenshaw High School

Game-Changer: Samantha Gordon



Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots: 40 votes

Todd Gurley, RB, Los Angeles Rams: 8 votes

Carson Wentz, QB, Philadelphia Eagles: 2 votes

Although it was far from his best year statistically, Brady was named NFL MVP for the third time Saturday due to his consistency in 2017.

Brady completed 66.3 percent of his passes for 4,577 yards, 32 touchdowns and eight interceptions while leading the Pats to a 13-3 mark.

The NFL sent this tweet in reference to Brady's win:


🚨🚨 TB12 = MVP! 🚨🚨 @Patriots QB Tom Brady is the 2017 Most Valuable Player! #NFLHonors https://t.co/sdRsLaECXn

It also tweeted a look at his top 10 plays of the season:


MOST. VALUABLE. PLAYER. Tom Brady's Top 10 plays of 2017! #NFLHonors #NotDone https://t.co/nFI6j0iuDc

Brady became not only the oldest MVP in NFL history at 40, but he also became the oldest MVP in any of the four major North American sports, according to ESPN's Field Yates:

Field Yates @FieldYates

Patriots QB Tom Brady (40 years-6 months) just became the oldest MVP in the history of the four major North American sports leagues (NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL), surpassing Barry Bonds in 2004 (40 years-4 months).

While it was a massive accomplishment, recent history doesn't bode well for Brady's chances of winning Super Bowl LII on Sunday.

Per Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press, the past eight NFL MVP award winners to play in the Super Bowl in the same year they won the award have lost the game:

Tim Reynolds @ByTimReynolds

NFL MVPs in Super Bowl 2017: Tom Brady, TBD 2016: Matt Ryan, lost 2015: Cam Newton, lost 2013: Peyton Manning, lost 2009: Peyton Manning, lost 2007: Tom Brady, lost 2005: Shaun Alexander, lost 2002: Rich Gannon, lost 2001: Kurt Warner, lost Last MVP to win SB: Kurt Warner, 1999

That includes Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, who fell to Brady and the Patriots last season.

Since Brady was preparing for the Super Bowl, injured teammate Julian Edelman accepted the award on his behalf.

According to the NFL Network's Aditi Kinkhabwala, Brady had Edelman pass along a cryptic message:

Aditi Kinkhabwala @AKinkhabwala

Julian Edelman accepts Tom Brady’s MVP trophy and says Brady told him to say, “LFG.” He says he doesn’t know what it means, but he’s following instructions. (I don’t know what it means either.)

With three NFL MVP awards to his credit, Brady has tied Jim Brown, Johnny Unitas and Brett Favre for the second-most in league history.

Only Peyton Manning has more, with five, and based on the way Brady played in 2017, he could be a threat to tie or break that mark.


NFL Defensive Player of the Year

Aaron Donald, DT, Los Angeles Rams: 23 votes

Calais Campbell, DE, Jacksonville Jaguars: 17 votes

Chandler Jones, LB, Arizona Cardinals: 5 votes

Cameron Jordan, DE, New Orleans Saints: 1 vote

Harrison Smith, S, Minnesota Vikings: 1 vote

Demarcus Lawrence, DE, Dallas Cowboys: 1 vote

Xavier Rhodes, CB, Minnesota Vikings: 1 vote

Bobby Wagner, LB, Seattle Seahawks: 1 vote

After several close calls, Donald was finally named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year on Saturday.

Although the defensive tackle missed one game because of a contract dispute and one to rest for the playoffs, he finished with fantastic numbers for the NFC West champion Rams.

In addition to his 41 tackles, Donald racked up 11.0 sacks and forced five fumbles.

The NFL tweeted the following after Donald's win:


Your 2017 Defensive Player of the Year is @AaronDonald97! #NFLHonors https://t.co/PHl7Mbjl9o

It also provided a highlight reel showing the havoc Donald wreaked on quarterback Russell Wilson and the rival Seattle Seahawks:


.@AaronDonald97 is the Defensive Player of the Year! Here's why. #NFLHonors https://t.co/oMil9uhERX

Donald's teammate, quarterback Jared Goff, tweeted how grateful he was to share a locker room with the new Defensive Player of the Year:

Jared Goff @JaredGoff16

Monster! Glad he’s on my side... https://t.co/N7B9Xhzc1c

The third-place finisher, Arizona Cardinals pass-rusher Chandler Jones, offered kind words regarding Donald as well:

With Gurley winning the Offensive Player of the Year award, the Rams accomplished a feat that hadn't been done in 14 years, per Yates:

Field Yates @FieldYates

Rams DT Aaron Donald and RB Todd Gurley just became the first teammates since Ravens LB Ray Lewis and RB Jamal Lewis in 2003 to win Defensive and Offensive Player of the Year in the same season.

Donald received stiff competition from Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Calais Campbell, who had a career year during his first season in Jacksonville.

Campbell was surrounded with top-tier defensive talent, however, while Donald was often a one-man nightmare for opposing offenses.


NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year

Alvin Kamara, RB, New Orleans Saints: 28 votes

Kareem Hunt, RB, Kansas City Chiefs: 21 votes

Deshaun Watson, QB, Houston Texans: 1 vote

Despite being a third-round draft pick, Kamara was among the NFL's most explosive offensive players in 2017.

The running back was named the Offensive Rookie of the Year after registering 728 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground along with 81 receptions for 826 yards and five scores through the air.

The NFL made his win official:


Congratulations to @Saints RB @A_kamara6... 2017 Offensive Rookie of the Year! #NFLHonors https://t.co/isxIuBmcqR

Also, the NFL's Twitter account issued a Kamara highlight reel, although it can be argued that essentially his entire rookie year was composed of highlights:


.@A_kamara6 is your Offensive Rookie of the Year! Check out his 2017 highlight reel. #NFLHonors https://t.co/BZvtqnSI92

Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey was among those who congratulated Kamara on his accomplishment:

Although the Saints fell short in their Super Bowl pursuit, Kamara said he has had the opportunity to reflect on how special his rookie year was, according to Josh Katzenstein of the Times-Picayune:

Josh Katzenstein @jkatzenstein

Alvin Kamara: "You kind of get caught up in the season and you don't really get time I guess to pat yourself on the back, but when the season's over, you realize what you've done. And I've kind of had the time to look back and be like, man, I made some history this season."

Once Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson tore his ACL on Nov. 2, it was clear the Offensive Rookie of the Year race was a two-man competition between Kamara and Kansas City Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt.

There wasn't much separating the backs, but since Hunt had a midseason lull and Kamara was effective from start to finish, the scale tipped slightly in Kamara's favor.


NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year

Marshon Lattimore, CB, New Orleans Saints: 45 votes

Tre'Davious White, CB, Buffalo Bills: 4 votes

Reuben Foster, LB, San Francisco 49ers: 1 vote

Lattimore was widely considered the top cornerback in the 2017 NFL draft, and he didn't disappoint.

In 13 games, Lattimore finished with 52 tackles, 18 passes defended and five interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown. He was also named to the Pro Bowl.

The NFL tweeted about Lattimore's honor:


.@Saints CB @shonrp2 is the 2017 Defensive Rookie of the Year! #NFLHonors https://t.co/OkD5FlfYVq

It also provided video of some of his top plays from 2017:


2017 Defensive Rookie of the Year = @shonrp2 @BaldyNFL breaks down his incredible 2017 campaign! #NFLHonors https://t.co/HnUNP4vfZJ

With Kamara's win, the Offensive and Defensive Rookies of the Year came from the same team for the first time in 50 years, per Yates:

Field Yates @FieldYates

Saints RB Alvin Kamara and CB Marshon Lattimore become the first teammates to win Offensive and Defensive Rookie of the Year in the same season since Lions RB Mel Farr and CB Lem Barney in 1967.

Kinkhabwala pointed out that the Saints' scouting department did a masterful job in securing two of the league's top rookies:

Aditi Kinkhabwala @AKinkhabwala

So the #Saints have the Offensive (Alvin Kamara) AND Defensive (Marshon Lattimore) Rookies of the Year. That’s a good draft.

For as dynamic as New Orleans' offense was in 2017, its defensive improvement was the biggest reason the team won the NFC South and returned to the playoffs.

Lattimore helped change the Saints' defensive identity, and voters took notice.

It can be argued that Buffalo Bills cornerback Tre'Davious White was equally important in getting his team back to the postseason, but Lattimore prevailed in one of the most lopsided votes of the night.


NFL Comeback Player of the Year

After missing all but one game in 2016 due to a torn ACL, Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen returned and enjoyed a career year in 2017.

With 102 receptions for 1,393 yards and six touchdowns, Allen was among the NFL's top wideouts, and he earned the Comeback Player of the Year award:


.@Chargers WR @Keenan13Allen is the 2017 Comeback Player of the Year! #NFLHonors https://t.co/R11fNDVNIj

The league tweeted some of his top 2017 plays, most of which came off throws from veteran quarterback Philip Rivers:


102 catches. 1,393 receiving yards. 6 touchdowns. @Keenan13Allen is the 2017 Comeback Player of the Year! ⚡️⚡️⚡️ #NFLHonors https://t.co/U3YcJRSr5e

Chargers cornerback Casey Hayward knows how difficult it can be to go up against Allen in practice and was among those to congratulate his teammate:

Casey Hayward @show_case29

.@Keenan13Allen congratulations brodie. Well deserved.

Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times didn't believe there was any other player realistically in the Comeback Player of the Year discussion due to Allen's gaudy numbers:

Dan Woike @DanWoikeSports

Keenan Allen is the AP Comeback Player of the Year. Not sure how anyone else could’ve won it after the season (and injuries) he had

Not only did Allen bounce back from a devastating injury, but he also became a first-time Pro Bowler.

After playing 16 games in a season for the first time in his career, Allen has a chance to establish himself as an elite wideout in 2018.


NFL Coach of the Year

Sean McVay, Los Angeles Rams: 35 votes

Mike Zimmer, Minnesota Vikings: 11 votes

Doug Marrone, Jacksonville Jaguars: 2 votes

Bill Belichick, New England Patriots: 1 vote

Doug Pederson, Philadelphia Eagles: 1 vote

As the conductor of one of the greatest offensive turnarounds in NFL history, McVay earned the NFL Coach of the Year award Saturday.

The 32-year-old McVay, who is the youngest coach to ever win the award, helped take L.A.'s scoring offense from worst to first.

The NFL made McVay's win official with this tweet:


.@RamsNFL HC Sean McVay is the 2017 Coach of the Year! #NFLHonors https://t.co/INjb4KJA01

Rams defensive coordinator Wade Phillips expressed excitement over McVay's prize:

Wade Phillips @sonofbum

Sean McVay Coach of the Year!!WOW

While Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer was McVay's closest competition, there was plenty of backlash surrounding where Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson finished.

Reuben Frank of NBC Sports Philadelphia was among those who couldn't believe Pederson ended up with only one vote:

Reuben Frank @RoobNBCS

Doug Pederson did the finest coaching job I've ever seen. To get to a Super Bowl without Wentz, Hicks, Sproles, Peters and Maragos -- and beat Sean McVay and the Rams along the way in their building -- Doug should get Coach of the Century. The voters should be ashamed.

While Frank made a valid point, Kevin Parrish Jr. of USA Today felt McVay was a deserving winner:

Kevin Parrish Jr @KevinParrishJr

Sean McVay definitely deserved Coach of the Year. -Rams went 11-5, won NFC west -Offense led league in scoring -1st winning season for team since 2003

After going 4-12 in 2016, the Rams went 11-5 in 2017, won the NFC West and reached the playoffs for the first time since 2004.

In addition to being the head coach, McVay called the plays for the Rams, and his hands-on approach played a big role in Goff's progression and Gurley's ascendance to an MVP-caliber level.    


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