Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was named the NFL’s Most Valuable Player by the Associated Press for the third time of his illustrious career during Saturday night’s NFL Honors at Northrop Auditorium.
Brady became the fourth quarterback with at least three NFL MVPs since the award’s inception in 1957, joining Peyton Manning (5), Brett Favre (3) and Johnny Unitas (3). Brady accepted the award on the eve of his eighth Super Bowl appearance on Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium, where he’ll play the Eagles for a record sixth Lombardi Trophy.
“Tom is a little busy,” Patriots receiver Julian Edelman said, accepting the award on Brady’s behalf.
The Patriots are vying for a third Super Bowl ring in the past four seasons off Brady’s excellence. Brady led the league with 4,577 passing yards this season. His 32 touchdown passes trailed only Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz’s 33.
Brady, 40, is the oldest MVP winner by two years and eight months, displacing Manning, who was the award’s oldest winner after the 2013 season at 37 years and 10 months.
Aside from the MVP award, the Rams cleaned up during NFL Honors.
The youngest head coach in NFL history, the Rams’ Sean McVay, became the youngest to win AP NFL Coach of the Year after his first season in Los Angeles. McVay, 32, inherited the league’s worst scoring offense and turned the Rams into the NFL leader this season when they scored 29.9 points per game.
McVay, the former Redskins offensive coordinator, also oversaw the leap of second-year quarterback Jared Goff. Goff was winless in seven starts as a rookie. Under McVay this season, Goff won 11 games and threw for 28 touchdowns to seven interceptions.
“This is the ultimate team award,” McVay said.
Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer received votes for Coach of the Year, as did the Eagles’ Doug Pederson, the Patriots’ Bill Belichick and the Jaguars’ Doug Marrone.
Running back Todd Gurley was named AP Offensive Player of the Year after leading the Rams with 1,305 rushing yards, trailing only Kansas City’s Kareem Hunt among NFL rushers. Gurley’s 13 rushing touchdowns led the NFL.
The Rams’ Aaron Donald became the first defensive tackle since Warren Sapp in 1999 to win AP Defensive Player of the Year. He edged out Jaguars defensive end Calais Campbell and Vikings safety Harrison Smith, who were announced as the other finalists. Donald’s 11 sacks led all players at his position.
Gurley and Donald are the first teammates to win both Player of the Year awards since 2003, when the Ravens’ Ray Lewis and Jamal Lewis earned those honors.
The Saints swept Rookie of the Year awards.
Running back Alvin Kamara won Offensive Rookie of the Year after compiling 1,554 yards from scrimmage and 13 touchdowns. Cornerback Marshon Lattimore won Defensive Rookie of the Year with 23 pass deflections and five interceptions.
Kamara and Lattimore are the first teammates to win ROY honors in the same season since 1967, when the inaugural awards were given to the Lions’ Mel Farr and Lem Barney.
The Vikings took home a couple of awards, too.
Former offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur was named AP Assistant Coach of the Year. Shurmur, now the New York Giants head coach, oversaw a Vikings offense that leapt to 10th in scoring and 11th in yards after ranking 23rd and 28th in those categories the previous season.
Quarterback Case Keenum earned the NFL’s Play of the Year award for the 61-yard, game-winning touchdown pass to Stefon Diggs in the NFC divisional round against the Saints. The play was dubbed the “Minneapolis Miracle.”
“I want to say thank you to the fans,” Keenum said. “The moment we shared at U.S. Bank Stadium — that playoff game — I’m going to remember that forever.”
The NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year is Chargers receiver Keenan Allen, who had a career-high 102 catches for 1,393 yards and six touchdowns after tearing his ACL in Week 1 of the 2016 season.
Texans defensive end J.J. Watt, a three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year, added the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year to his résumé. Watt’s Hurricane Harvey relief fund raised more than $37 million.
“This award is about the inherent good in humanity,” Watt said. “It’s about the city of Houston’s ability to overcome adversity.”
Tight ends Greg Olsen of the Panthers and Benjamin Watson of the Ravens also were finalists for Man of the Year.