The night before the Broncos and Seahawks get it on at Super Bowl XLVIII, the best players from the season were honored with the league’s annual awards. It’s probably no surprise who won the MVP and Offensive Player of the Year, but other trophies were up for grabs, including the top rookies — the Packers’ Eddie Lacy and the Jets’ Sheldon Richardson. Here are your award winners:
MVP & Offensive Player of Year: Peyton Manning, Broncos
The Denver QB won his fifth MVP and his second Offensive Player of the Year award after throwing for season records of 55 TDs and 5,477 yards. His other MVPs came in 2003, ’04, ’08 and ’09 when he was with the Colts. No other player has won more than three MVPs.
Getty ImagesDoug Pensinger
Defensive Player of Year: Luke Kuechly, Panthers
The Carolina linebacker finished with 96 tackles, four interceptions and two sacks as the NFC South champions finished second in the league in points allowed with 241 — NFC champion Seattle was first at 231 points allowed.
Getty ImagesGrant Halverson
Coach of Year: Ron Rivera, Panthers
In his third season with Carolina, the former Chicago Bears Super Bowl-winning linebacker, led the Panthers to a 12-4 mark and the NFL South title, a big turnaround following 7-9 and 6-10 campaigns in his first two years at the helm.
Getty ImagesThearon W. Henderson
Offensive Rookie of Year: Eddie Lacy, Packers
The Alabama product rushed for 1,178 yards and 11 TDs, averaging 4.1 yards per carry for the NFC North champs. Lacy, a second-round pick, is the first Packer to win the award since John Brockington in 1971. Lacy also had 35 receptions for 257 yards.
Getty ImagesDavid Banks
Defensive Rookie of Year: Sheldon Richardson, Jets
The 13th overall pick finished with 42 tackles and three sacks for New York. The defensive end out of Missouri is the fourth Jet to win the award, joining Jonathan Vilma, Hugh Douglas and Erik McMillan. Richardson even scored two rushing TDs on six of the plays he lined up at fullback.
Getty ImagesWesley Hitt
Comeback Player: Philip Rivers, Chargers
The San Diego QB led the NFL with a 69.5 completion percentage and steered the Bolts into the playoffs with a four-game winning streak to close the regular season. Rivers finished with 32 TDs and 4,478 passing yards.
Getty ImagesDonald Miralle
Walter Payton Man of Year: Charles Tillman, Bears
The cornerback is the fifth Chicago Bear to win the award, honoring a player for his volunteer and charity work. The previous Bears winners were Jim Flanigan (2000), Mike Singletary (’90) Dave Duerson (’87) and Walter Payton (’77 when it was just titled the Man of the Year award).
Getty ImagesJonathan Daniel
Deacon Jones Award: Robert Mathis, Colts
As the NFL sack champion with 19.5, the Indianapolis veteran linebacker is the inaugural winner of the Deacon Jones Award. Mathis had sacks in 12 of 16 games.
Getty ImagesRob Carr
Don Shula High School Coach of Year: Mike Grant
The Eden Prairie (Minn.) High School coach, son of former Minnesota Vikings coach Bud Grant, is 241-24 with 16 conference titles in 22 seasons. The award recognizes active or retired high school football coaches for their character and integrity, inspirational leadership, commitment to the community and on-field success.