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NFL honors: Lamar Jackson wins second MVP, Joe Flacco is comeback player

NFL honors: Lamar Jackson wins second MVP, Joe Flacco is comeback player

طوبیٰ Tooba 55 years ago 0 0

LAS VEGAS — The on-field brilliance of quarterback Lamar Jackson seemed likely, for much of the season, to produce a trip to Las Vegas for the Baltimore Ravens as a participant in Sunday’s Super Bowl LVIII. It didn’t happen; the Ravens suffered a bitterly disappointing loss at home to the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC championship game.

Jackson received his consolation prize Thursday when he was named the NFL’s MVP for the second time.

The selection was announced at the NFL Honors show in Las Vegas, three days ahead of the Chiefs’ meeting with the San Francisco 49ers in the first Super Bowl to be held here. Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott finished second in the voting, followed by 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey and quarterbacks Brock Purdy of the 49ers and Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills.

“It’s an honor,” Jackson said. “I guess I’m in elite company, and that’s great. It means a lot.”

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Jackson becomes a two-time MVP at age 27, six seasons into his NFL career. He is the 11th multiple-time MVP and joins Patrick Mahomes, Kurt Warner, Steve Young and Joe Montana as two-time winners. Tom Brady, Brett Favre, Jim Brown and Johnny Unitas won three MVP awards each. Aaron Rodgers has won four and Peyton Manning five.

“Just to get this award, to be here for the award, it’s an honor,” Jackson said. “But I’d rather be playing in the Super Bowl than accepting an award.”

But Jackson remains without a Super Bowl appearance. The Ravens’ postseason record with him as their starter at quarterback dropped to 2-4 with the 17-10 defeat to the Chiefs on Jan. 28 at M&T Bank Stadium.

The Ravens lost in the AFC playoffs as the No. 1 seed for the second time during Jackson’s career. His first MVP season came in 2019, when the Ravens were the conference’s top seed but suffered a divisional-round defeat at home to the Tennessee Titans.

But this is a regular season award. And Jackson clearly was the best player on the NFL’s best team during the regular season. The Ravens had an NFL-best record of 13-4. They didn’t merely beat good teams; they routinely dominated good teams. And Jackson’s play was the primary reason.

He threw for 3,678 yards and 24 touchdowns with only seven interceptions. He had a passer rating of 102.7, ranking him the league’s fourth-rated passer behind only Purdy, Prescott and the Minnesota Vikings’ Kirk Cousins. Jackson also ran for 821 yards and five touchdowns. He was the NFL’s 22nd-leading rusher.

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Jackson’s second MVP season came after two injury-filled seasons and a turbulent offseason. He was eligible for unrestricted free agency, but the Ravens used their nonexclusive franchise player tag to limit his mobility on the market. He announced in March that he had requested a trade. But the Ravens never came close to losing him as no other NFL team signed him to an offer sheet. He represented himself in contract negotiations, without an agent, and agreed to a five-year, $260 million extension with the Ravens in April, hours before the start of the NFL draft, that temporarily made him the league’s highest-paid player.

The winners of the league’s awards were determined through voting by media members conducted by the Associated Press.

Cleveland Browns quarterback Joe Flacco was named the comeback player of the year. He played in only five games during the regular season after being out of the league for the majority of the season. But he provided a turn-back-the-clock performance and helped the Browns to reach the playoffs.

“I literally played in five games this year in the regular season,” Flacco said, adding that he does not intend to retire if the choice is left up to him. “So it definitely feels a little strange. But, man, it was a special two months. So I think anytime you get recognized for playing some good football, it means a lot.”

Flacco was chosen ahead of Bills safety Damar Hamlin, who played in five games this season as he resumed his NFL career after suffering cardiac arrest on the field during a January 2023 game in Cincinnati, forcing emergency medical responders to resuscitate him.

Browns pass rusher Myles Garrett was named the NFL defensive player of the year. He had 14 sacks as the Browns had the NFL’s top-ranked defense. Garrett finished ahead of fellow pass rushers T.J. Watt of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Micah Parsons of the Cowboys and Maxx Crosby of the Las Vegas Raiders in the voting. Cowboys cornerback DaRon Bland, who set an NFL single-season record with five touchdowns on interception returns, finished fifth.

“It’s huge,” Garrett said. “It’s a goal that I had for myself coming into the league.”

McCaffrey was voted offensive player of the year after leading the NFL in rushing and totaling 21 touchdowns while the 49ers secured the NFC’s top playoff seed. He ran for 1,459 yards and 14 touchdowns and had 67 catches for 564 yards and seven touchdowns.

“We’ve got one more,” McCaffrey said. “Let’s go finish it the right way.”

The Browns’ Kevin Stefanski was named coach of the year, narrowly edging the Houston Texans’ DeMeco Ryans. Stefanski guided Cleveland to the AFC playoffs despite the team’s injury-plagued season. The Browns had five starting quarterbacks during the season and made their run to the postseason with Flacco as their starter.

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The Texans swept the rookie awards. C.J. Stroud was named the offensive rookie of the year after immediately establishing himself as a franchise quarterback and leading the Texans to the AFC South title. Pass rusher Will Anderson Jr. was named defensive rookie of the year.

“This rookie class is really special,” Stroud said.

It was the second straight year in which the rookie awards were given to teammates. New York Jets wide receiver Garrett Wilson and cornerback Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner were last year’s rookie winners.

“It just speaks volumes about the type of people you have in the building,” Anderson said.

The Steelers’ Cameron Heyward was named the Walter Payton NFL man of the year for accomplishments on and off the field.

Three former members of the Chicago Bears — defensive lineman Steve McMichael, kicker returner Devin Hester and pass rusher Julius Peppers, who spent the bulk of his career with the Carolina Panthers — were elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. McMichael revealed in 2021 that he is suffering from the progressive neurodegenerative disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. He was hospitalized last year with pneumonia and sepsis.

Former Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson, linebacker Patrick Willis of the 49ers, pass rusher Dwight Freeney of the Indianapolis Colts and former Denver Broncos linebacker Randy Gradishar also were selected to the Hall of Fame. McMichael and Gradishar were nominees of the seniors committee.

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