Another NFL season has been and gone, finishing off with Super Bowl LIII. The excitement of the Super Bowl often overshadows the NFL Honours Awards announced Saturday evening, where the league comes together to celebrate the most outstanding players and another year of excellence in the NFL. For all those who missed the ceremony, here is a list of the 2018 season award winners;
NFL Most Valuable Player (MVP) – Patrick Mahomes II, quarterback, Kansas City Chiefs
Following an outstanding, record breaking season, 23-year-old 2nd year quarterback Patrick Mahomes became the youngest NFL MVP since Dan Marino in 1984, and the first ever Chief to win the award.
Mahomes finished the season with a league best 50 touchdowns, 12 interceptions and 5,097 passing yards, but aside from the statistics, Mahomes has been a pleasure to watch this season, his combination of arm strength, creativity, intelligence and athleticism has shown us some incredible plays and proved he is a force to be reckoned with in the NFL, setting the standards for quarterbacks in years to come.
Offensive Player of the Year – Patrick Mahomes II, quarterback, Kansas City Chiefs
Not only did Mahomes take home the overall NFL MVP, he also became the first Chief since Priest Homes in 2002 to win the Offensive Player of the Year award. Ultimately it was Mahomes’ record breaking numbers and overall consistency all season that won him these awards. Mahomes beat New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees to the title securing 30 out of 50 votes to Brees’ 16.
Defensive Player of the Year – Aaron Donald, defensive tackle, Los Angeles Rams
Donald has excelled at defensive tackle, somewhat redefining the position and breaking records along the way. He led the league in sacks with 20.5 on the season, the most by a defensive tackle in a single season in NFL history. He also led the league in quarterback hits (41) and tackles for a loss (25). Donald has disrupted offenses all season long, many times singlehandedly blowing up an offense on any given play.
Pepsi Rookie of the Year – Saquon Barkley, running back, New York Giants
Barkley was selected 2nd overall in the 2018 NFL draft by the New York Giants, it was immediately apparent that he had something special.
He finished the season with a league leading 2,028 total yards from scrimmage and 15 total touchdowns, setting a Giants single season record and joined Eric Dickerson and Edgerrin James as the only players with 2,000 yards in their rookie season. It could be argued that no player was more important to their team than Barkley was to the Giants.
Offensive Rookie of the Year – Saquon Barkley, running back, New York Giants
Barkley was a ray of hope in a struggling Giants offence of late, rushing for 1,307 yards and 11 touchdowns on 261 carries and catching 91 passes for 721 yards and four touchdowns. Barkley narrowly beat Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield for the award with 26.5 votes to Mayfield’s 21.5.
Defensive Rookie of the Year – Darius Leonard, linebacker, Indianapolis Colts
Selected in the second round of the NFL draft, Leonard became a leading force in a much-improved Colts defence. He finished the season with 111 solo tackles, seven sacks, 12 tackles for a loss, eight quarterback hits, two interceptions, four forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries, ranking second amongst rookies for total tackles and tying the lead for tackles per game.
The addition of Leonard certainly had an impact on the Colts defence, who finished the season ranked 8th against the run, compared to 26th last season. Leonard has had a monster rookie season and will be exciting to watch in seasons to come.
Comeback Player of the Year – Andrew Luck, quarterback, Indianapolis Colts
After missing the 2017 season following shoulder surgery, Luck hit back harder than ever this season, putting to bed any doubts in our minds that his career could be over.
Luck led the Colts on a playoff run and finished the season with 39 touchdowns, 4,593 passing yards and a career best 67.3 completion rate, numbers second only to Patrick Mahomes. Luck secured 44 out of 50 votes for the award, beating out J.J. Watt and Adrian Peterson in a landslide victory. With Luck at the helm and a number of promising young players on the squad, the Colts are looking like a force to be reckoned with in the AFC.
Coach of the Year – Matt Nagy, head coach, Chicago Bears
Despite Chicago’s devastating end to the 2018 campaign, narrowly losing to the Eagles by a field goal in the playoffs, the Bears showed plenty of promise for a bright future ahead.
In his first year on the job as head coach, ex-Chiefs offensive coordinator Matt Nagy turned the Bears recent woes around, finishing 12-4 and securing a spot in the playoffs after four straight losing seasons. His inventive play calling on offence paired with aggressive offseason moves acquiring Khalil Mack, led the Bears to an outstanding season and with Nagy in command it seems like there’s more to come from the Bears.
Assistant Coach of the Year – Vic Fangio, defensive coordinator, Chicago Bears
Fangio was instrumental in piecing together the Bears playoff run season, leading a ferocious and aggressive defence, allowing only 17.7 points per game on average.
Fangio called plays with intelligence and experience, ravaging offenses all season long, becoming only the second defensive coordinator to win the award. His outstanding season has led to him being hired by the Denver Broncos as his first head coaching job, where he will be able to command the likes of Von Miller and Bradley Chubb, bad news for other teams in the AFC West.
Nationwide Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year – Chris Long, defensive end, Philadelphia Eagles
Widely considered as one of the NFL’s most prestigious awards, the Walter Payton Man of the Year award is presented to a player for charity and community services off the field. Each team nominates a player before the winner is announced at the NFL Honours.
This year’s winner Chris Long founded the Chris Long foundation in 2015 to raise money for clean water, military appreciation and youth education. One of his biggest initiatives is Waterboys, a project that works with athletes and fans to raise money and awareness to provide clean drinking water to East African communities in need.
To date, Waterboys has raised over $3 million, funded 55 wells and provided clean water to 211,000 people. Long has donated many of his game cheques over the last two seasons to educational equality programmes in his hometown of Charlottesville, raising over $2.25 million. According to nfl.com Long said, “I am incredibly thankful that football has provided me with a platform to give back and I am proud that so many of my colleagues have decided to use this stage to create positive and impactful change in our local communities and around the world.”