January 2015


Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers won his second MVP award Saturday night, and J.J. Watt swept away the voters the way he sweeps quarterbacks off their feet to take top defensive honors. Rodgers, also the 2011 Associated Press NFL Most Valuable Player award winner, took this one in somewhat surprisingly easy fashion over Watt. The Packers quarterback received 31 votes for the 2014 award from a nationwide panel of 50 media members who regularly cover the league. Houston's Watt, seeking to become the first defensive player to win MVP since 1986, got 13 votes.
PHOENIX (AP) -- New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., grabbed The Associated Press NFL Offensive Rookie Of The Year award for 2014.
PHOENIX – To the surprise of nobody, New York Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr. was named NFL offensive rookie of the year. The dynamic Giants receiver was given the award during the “NFL Honors” show, which the NFL puts on the night before the Super Bowl to honor its players and hand out its major awards. Beckham beat out a very good rookie class, especially at receiver. [ Watch the Super Bowl live on Yahoo Sports and NBC Sports - Sunday at 6 p.m. ET ] Beckham said "it means everything" to win the award, and talked about seeing his mom and dad in the crowd crying as he accepted it. "To know that I made them proud is something that can't be taken away from me." Beckham said. Beckham had a great year but really exploded into super-stardom with an incredible one-handed catch on “Sunday Night Football” in Week 12. Everyone was paying attention after that. "When I first made the catch, I didn't realize what the magnitude of it was," Beckham said. Beckham, who missed four games at the start of the season due to a hamstring injury (which he said never totally healed, as he had two tears in it ) finished with 91 catches, 1,305 yards and 12 touchdowns, one of the greatest rookie years in NFL history. We will update the NFL’s awards as they’re handed out during the night at the Phoenix Symphony Hall. Offensive player of the year: Dallas Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray There was a bit of an upset early in the night. Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers seemed to be a front-runner for the award but it went to Murray, the workhorse back for the Cowboys. Murray rushed for 1,845 yards during the regular season on 392 carries, and the Cowboys won the NFC East. Murray is slated to become a free agent this offseason, and he'll be one of the more interesting free agents on the market. Teams will have to weigh Murray's brilliance, which was reflected in the offensive player of the year award, against the diminishing value of running backs to teams given their short careers. Murray reiterated he wants to stay with the Cowboys. "I don't think it's any secret where I want to play next year," Murray said. "But I understand the business side of it. If I'm not there, I understand it." Coach of the year: Arizona Cardinals' Bruce Arians Arians navigated injuries to quarterbacks Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton to guide the Cardinals to the playoffs. The Cardinals went 11-5. Arians has won the award twice in three seasons. In 2012 he won it for his work with the Indianapolis Colts when he was offensive coordinator but took over as interim head coach while Chuck Pagano battled leukemia. That led to his job with the Cardinals, who obviously made a great hire. Defensive rookie of the year: St. Louis Rams DT Aaron Donald Donald, the second of two Rams first-round picks, was a disruptive force in the middle of the St. Louis defense. He had nine sacks and 48 tackles for the Rams this season. Defensive player of the year: Houston Texans DE J.J. Watt For the first time in the history of this award, the vote was unanimous. It would have been a surprise if it wasn't unanimous. Watt had one of the most dominant seasons of all time. He had 20.5 sacks and scored five touchdowns, two on defense and three on offense when the Texans would use him as a tight end near the goal line. Watt has won the award twice in his four NFL seasons. He won the award in 2012 and the vote was nearly unanimous that season. He got 49 of 50 votes that year. Comeback player of the year: New England Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski Gronkowski suffered a torn ACL late in the 2013 season but came back strong. He had 1,124 yards an 12 touchdowns, and is a main reason the Patriots are in the Super Bowl. NFL MVP: Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers Read more about the MVP winner here. - - - - - - - Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdowncorner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YahooSchwab
The 18 New England residents sitting on the jury in the murder trial of former Patriots star Aaron Hernandez will be allowed to watch the home team play in Sunday's Super Bowl, but the judge overseeing the case says they must leave the room if his name is mentioned. Hernandez caught quarterback Tom Brady's last Super Bowl touchdown pass in the Patriots' 2012 loss to the New York Giants. Now he is on trial for murder, charged with the June 2013 killing of Odin Lloyd, who was dating his fiancee's sister. The trial is playing out just as Hernandez's old team is preparing to take on the Seattle Seahawks in the NFL championship game.
Robert Kraft spoke to Tom Brady about being able to close a chapter. Kraft said Brady was excited about the chance.
Two-time Super Bowl champion Leonard Marshall is teaming up with the lawyer who first sued the NFL over concussions to form an educational road show on how to avoid and treat head injuries in sports. The target audience for the Brain Unity Trust is players, coaches and organizations, said Marshall, who suffers from CTE-related illnesses, perhaps from concussions during his 12 seasons as a defensive lineman in the National Football League in the 1980s and '90s. Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is a progressive degenerative disease of the brain often found in athletes who suffered repetitive brain trauma.
Marcus Allen, Bart Starr, Phil Simms … I couldn’t get them on the list of 10 greatest Super Bowl players ever. That’s a lot of Super Bowl MVPs and records left off. Kurt Warner, Franco Harris, Steve Young and John Riggins also want to have a word, I’m sure. This was a very hard exercise. We put the list together to give a legacy reference point for New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady as he heads into his sixth Super Bowl. He’s in the top 10 already, a pretty exclusive club. A few rules: Multiple Super Bowl appearances matter, but it’s not a requirement get on the list. I’d take a player with one great Super Bowl over two decent ones. [ Watch the Super Bowl live on Yahoo Sports and NBC Sports - Sunday at 6 p.m. ET ] This is only about Super Bowls in a vacuum. Nobody would argue that Timmy Smith was a better NFL player than Dan Marino, but Smith and his 204-yard game in Super Bowl XXII would rank higher on this list than Marino. It’s just Super Bowl performances. Also, a ton of great Super Bowl players got left off. There are 10 spots for 48 games. Not everyone can make it. I considered anyone you will complain about me leaving off, trust me. Here’s the top 10 greatest Super Bowl players ever:  10. Manny Fernandez, Miami Dolphins DT (VI, VII, VIII) Fernandez played in three Super Bowls, winning two, and he had one of the great performances in the game’s history. He had 17 tackles in Super Bowl VII from the defensive line, and Washington never scored an offensive touchdown. That’s unbelievable. Fernandez had a sack in each of his three Super Bowls (according to the invaluable resource for this list pro-football-reference.com ; sacks weren’t an official stat then). He deserved to win Super Bowl VII MVP, but he’ll have to settle for two rings and being one of the greatest Super Bowl players ever. 9. Timmy Smith, Washington Redskins RB (XXII) Smith’s great game has been lost a bit because he didn’t have a great career. But it was phenomenal in Super Bowl XXII, and it’s honestly baffling how he didn’t win Super Bowl MVP. Smith had 204 yards, and only one other player has more than 166 in a Super Bowl (Marcus Allen’s 191). Smith had 131 yards in the first half, and his first half alone would be the 10th-best rushing game in Super Bowl history. Think about that. They weren’t garbage yards; his big first half helped a 35-point second quarter. He had more career Super Bowl rushing yards than Roger Craig, who played in three Super Bowls, and just as many rushing yards as Thurman Thomas, who played in four. It’s hard to believe but Smith had just 602 yards during a short 22-game NFL career. I know there are some great players who didn’t make it, but Smith had arguably the greatest game in Super Bowl history. He belongs on this list. 8. Larry Csonka, Miami Dolphins RB (VI, VII, VIII) Csonka is the only player on the list of top 10 rushing attempts in Super Bowls, and top 10 yards per carry. So he was a workhorse and darn efficient at it too. Csonka and his 5.2-yard-per-carry average got a Super Bowl MVP trophy in Super Bowl VIII. He could have been the Super Bowl VII MVP with another 100-yard day, barely missing out on being the only non-quarterback with two Super Bowl MVP awards. 7. Tom Brady, New England Patriots QB (XXXVI, XXXVIII, XXXIX, XLII, XLVI) I had a hard time with Brady. I didn’t want to go just on volume. On Sunday he’ll be the second player to appear in six Super Bowls, which is more a testament to what he has accomplished before the Super Bowl than in it. But his resume isn’t bad. He has had three 90-plus quarterback ratings, but also two in the 80s. He did lead two drives that ended in game-winning field goals, would have had a third game-winning drive if Randy Moss’ touchdown in XLII hadn’t been trumped by David Tyree and Plaxico Burress, and he didn’t play too bad in either of New England’s Super Bowl losses. The volume gets him in the door. The two Super Bowl MVPs matter too. But if you argued that another quarterback like Troy Aikman or Bart Starr deserved to be on the list instead, I’d have a tough time arguing. Of course, Brady might go way up the list with a good game on Sunday. 6. Eli Manning, New York Giants QB (XLII, XLVI)
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft is one of the most visible faces of the NFL, guiding his once-moribund team to unparalleled success while assuming an influential role navigating the league's complex inner workings. The affable 73-year-old Kraft is in Arizona this week, preparing for the Patriots' seventh Super Bowl appearance since the Massachusetts native purchased the club in 1994. "After my family, my team is my passion," Kraft, a one-time Patriots season ticket holder, told reporters this week. "I can relate to all of them." Kraft made billions in the paper industry after graduating from Columbia University and the Harvard Business School.
By Steve Ginsburg Jan 30 (Reuters) - New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft is one of the most visible faces of the NFL, guiding his once-moribund team to unparalleled success while assuming an influential role navigating the league's complex inner workings. The affable 73-year-old Kraft is in Arizona this week, preparing for the Patriots' seventh Super Bowl appearance since the Massachusetts native purchased the club in 1994. "After my family, my team is my passion," Kraft, a one-time Patriots season ticket holder, told reporters this week. "I can relate to all of them." Kraft made billions in the paper industry after graduating from Columbia University and the Harvard Business School.
It's been a decade since Tom Brady and Bill Belichick guided the New England Patriots to back-to-back Super Bowl victories. Now, the NFL's winningest quarterback-coach tandem tries to prevent the Seattle Seahawks from becoming the next team to accomplish that feat. In the process, Brady looks to become the third quarterback to win four titles Sunday when the Patriots and Seahawks meet in Super Bowl XLIX at University of Phoenix Stadium. There are two remaining,'' said Brady, who will become the first quarterback to start six Super Bowls.

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