At the end of every season in the National Football League the NFL takes time to honor, celebrate, and award the best players in each of the various categories at their annual award show. The National Football League has just released the list of winners and honored all seven of the award winners for the past 2020 – 2021 NFL season through a virtual award ceremony. Congratulations to all of the award winners, and it was truly great to watch them perform at such a high level over the last year.
The Most Valuable Player Award
The NFL’s 2020 – 2021 most valuable player award went to Aaron Rodgers the quarterback of the Green Bay Packers. He became only the 6th player to be awarded the NFL’s MVP at least 3 times, and this year it wasn’t even a close race to the NFL’s MVP. Rodgers received 44 of the 50 available votes from the panel of nationwide media voters. The quarterback of the Buffalo Bills, Josh Allen, got 4 votes, and the quarterback of the Kansas City Chiefs, Patrick Mahomes, received 2 votes.
Rodgers previously won the NFL’s MVP for the 2011 – 2012 NFL season and for the 2014 – 2015 NFL season. Now with three NFL MVP awards Aaron is in the company of Brett Favre, Jim Brown, Tom Brady, and Johnny Unitas who have also won three NFL MVP awards. All five of the previously mentioned outstanding players with 3 NFL MVP awards are behind only Peyton Manning who has won the coveted award an unbelievable five times. Manning will be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame this August as he is one of the eight individuals in the 2021 class of the Pro Football Hall of Famers.
Rodgers helped lead the Packers to a regular season record of 13 and 3 this past season as well as the NFC championship game in which the Green Bay Packers lost to the Super Bowl LV champions in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Aaron is now only the third player in the history of the NFL to lead the league in passing touchdowns with his 48 while having thrown the least amount of interceptions with his 5 during a single season. In 2010 Tom Brady accomplished this, and in 1958 Johnny Unitas achieved that rare mark too. Rodgers also set his NFL career high in total quarterback rating with the number of 84.4 which happens to be the third highest total QBR since this statistic has become a universal measuring tool for quarterbacks in the National Football League approximately 15 years ago.
Rodgers’ Career Achievements, Awards, and Honors
Super Bowl champion (XLV)
Super Bowl MVP (XLV)
3 time NFL Most Valuable Player (2011, 2014, 2020)
3 time NFL First – Team All – Pro (2011, 2014, 2020)
NFL Second – Team All – Pro (2012)
9 time NFL Pro Bowl selection (2009, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018, 2019, 2020)
3 time NFL passer rating leader (2011, 2012, 2020)
2 time NFL passing touchdowns leader (2016, 2020)
NFL completion percentage leader (2020)
NFL 2010’s All – Decade Team
Associated Press Athlete of the Year (2011)
Bert Bell Award (2011)
The Offensive Player of the Year Award
The recipient of this year’s offensive player of the year award is the running back of the Tennessee Titans, Derrick Henry, who received 32 of the 50 votes available. The runner ups for this honor were Rodgers and Mahomes who both earned 5 votes. Henry rushed for 2,027 yards throughout the 2020 – 2021 NFL season which was the 5th highest mark of all time in the National Football League for single season rushing yards.
Over the last year he also ran in 17 touchdowns now making Henry only the 6th player in NFL history to lead the league in rushing yards as well as touchdowns in back to back consecutive football seasons. Since 2010 Derrick is only the 4thrunning back to win the offensive player of the year award, and he is the first to do so since 2017 when Todd Gurley won the offensive player of the year award.
Derrick Henry’s Career Achievements, Awards, and Honors
NFL Offensive Player of the Year (2020)
NFL First – Team All – Pro (2020)
NFL Second – Team All – Pro (2019)
2 time NFL Pro Bowl selection (2019, 2020)
2 time NFL rushing yards leader (2019, 2020)
2 time NFL rushing touchdowns leader (2019, 2020)
2,000 – yard club (2020)
CFP national champion (2015)
Heisman Trophy (2015)
Maxwell Award (2015)
Doak Walker Award (2015)
Walter Camp Award (2015)
Unanimous All – American (2015)
2 time SEC Champion (2014, 2015)
First – Team All – SEC (2015)
SEC Offensive Player of the Year (2015)
All – Time High School Football Rushing Leader
Yulee Hornets Number 2 retired
USA Today High School All – American (2012)
Florida’s Mr. Football (2012)
The Defensive Player of the Year Award
The defensive player of the year award for the 2020 – 2021 NFL season went to Aaron Donald who is a defensive tackle for the Los Angeles Rams. Donald pulled in 27 of the 50 votes just edging out second place finisher in this race being T. J. Watt of the Pittsburgh Steelers who received 20 total votes for the DPOY award.
Aaron has now won the defensive player of the year award 3 out of the last 4 years as he also won this honor for the 2017 – 2018 NFL season as well as the 2018 – 2019 NFL season. Since 1971 when this award was first presented only J. J. Watt of the Houston Texans and Lawrence Taylor of the New York Giants have won this award on 3 occasions.
Donald led the NFL in quarterback pressures this season with 54 of them. He was able to also lead the NFL in pass rush win rate for an interior defensive lineman with a rate of 24.2 % even though Aaron was double teamed on 65.7 % of his total pass rushes over the last year which is the third highest rate of being double teamed in the NFL last season. This is the 3rd consecutive season where the ever impressive and dominant Donald led the NFL in pass rush win rate as an interior defensive lineman.
Donald’s Career Achievements, Awards, and Honors
3 time NFL Defensive Player of the Year (2017, 2018, 2020)
NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year (2014)
6 time NFL First – Team All – Pro (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020)
7 time NFL Pro Bowl selection (2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020)
NFL sacks leader (2018)
NFL 2010’s All – Decade Team
Sporting News 2010’s All – Decade Team
PFWA All – Rookie Team (2014)
ACC Defensive Player of the Year (2013)
Bronko Nagurski Trophy (2013)
Chuck Bednarik Award (2013)
Lombardi Award (2013)
Outland Trophy (2013)
Unanimous All – American (2013)
The Offensive Rookie of the Year Award
The quarterback of the Los Angeles Chargers, Justin Herbert, ran away with the offensive rookie of the year award as he received 41 of the 50 available votes. The wide receiver of the Minnesota Vikings took in the second most votes for this honor with 9 votes. The Los Angeles Chargers selected Herbert with the 6th overall pick in the first round of the 2020 NFL draft.
He was quickly thrown in to the league when he was forced to start the second game of the 2020 – 2021 NFL season for the Los Angeles Chargers when their starting quarterback, Tyrod Taylor, was injured by his medical staff receiving an injection. Justin had an absolutely amazing rookie year in the NFL as he threw for an unbelievable 4,336 yard as well as 31 touchdown passes in just 15 regular season games last year. His 31 touchdown throws are good for a single season record for rookies in the National Football League. Herbert definitely has a bright future in the NFL, and hopefully he will only continue to grow and develop in to one of the elite quarterbacks in professional football over the next decade or so.
Herbert’s Career Achievements, Awards, and Honors
NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year (2020)
PFWA Rookie of the Year (2020)
PFWA Offensive Rookie of the Year (2020)
PFWA All – Rookie Team (2020)
Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year (2020)
2020 Rose Bowl MVP
2020 Senior Bowl MVP
William V. Campbell Trophy (2019)
3 time Academic All – American (2017, 2018, 2019)
The Defensive Rookie of the Year Award
The extremely fast, strong, and explosive defensive end for the Washington Football Team, Chase Young, won the defensive rookie of the year award with his 42.5 votes. The Carolina Panthers safety Jeremy Chinn was second in voting for the defensive rookie of the year award with just 4.5 votes. Young was the 2nd overall selection in the first round of the 2020 NFL draft, and he was taken by the Washington Football Team for obvious reason, the man is a beast.
Over the course of his rookie campaign Young recorded 7.5 sacks, 4 forced fumbles, and 3 fumble recoveries. This has only been done as a rookie by the great defensive player, Terrell Suggs, over the past 20 football seasons. As long as Young can remain healthy he should be quite a handful for the opposing offenses in the National Football League for many years to come.
Young’s Career Achievements, Awards, and Honors
Defensive Rookie of the Year (2020)
Pro Bowl (2020)
PFWA All – Rookie Team (2020)
Big Ten Male Athlete of the Year (2020)
Bronko Nagurski Trophy (2019)
Chuck Bednarik Award (2019)
Ted Hendricks Award (2019)
Chicago Tribune Silver Football (2019)
Nagurski – Woodson Defensive Player of the Year (2019)
Smith – Brown Defensive Lineman of the Year (2019)
Unanimous All – American (2019)
Big Ten 2010’s All – Decade Team
First – Team All – Big Ten (2019)
Second – Team All – Big Ten (2018)
The Coach of the Year Award
The coach of the year award this year went to the Cleveland Browns head coach, Kevin Stefanski, for helping pull the Cleveland Browns out of the bottom of the barrel in the National Football League. Stefanski received 25 of the 50 votes while the Buffalo Bills head coach, Sean McDermott, was second with 7 votes, and the head coach of the Miami Dolphins, Brian Flores, was third place with 6 votes for the coach of the year award.
Stefanski led the Cleveland Browns to their first winning season since 2007, and the Cleveland Browns first NFL postseason appearance since 2002. This year the Cleveland Browns won their first playoff game since 1994. Enough said on why Stefanski deserved this great honor.
Stefanski’s Career Achievements, Awards, and Honors
AP NFL Coach of the Year (2020)
First Team All – Ivy League (2002)
PFWA Coach of the Year (2020)
Sporting News Coach of the Year (2020)
The Comeback Player of the Year Award
The quarterback of the Washington Football Team, Alex Smith, won the comeback player of the year award by receiving 49 of the 50 votes. The Pittsburgh Steelers veteran quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, did get the other available vote for this category. Smith suffered a devastating broken tibia and fibula a while back during a football game, and this injury resulted in 17 surgeries due to nasty infections that nearly caused him to have to amputate his right leg.
Miraculously Smith was able to overcome those incredible obstacles to return to NFL game action and start as the quarterback for the Washington Football Team. What an amazing story this was, and it is easy to understand why Alex was honored with the comeback player of the year award for the 2020 – 2021 NFL season.
Smith’s Career Achievements, Awards, and Honors
NFL Comeback Player of the Year (2020)
3 time NFL Pro Bowl selection (2013, 2016, 2017)
NFL passer rating leader (2017)
First – Team All – American (2004)
MWC Offensive Player of the Year (2004)