After the NFL Honors 2017 awards were handed out on Saturday night, Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan had received multiple awards for the night heading into Sunday’s big game against the New England Patriots. Other winners at the latest ceremony included Dallas Cowboys rookie Dak Prescott, Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson, and San Diego Chargers defensive rookie Joey Bosa.
The NFL Honors 2017 show took place Saturday with television coverage on FOX and provided a range of awards across different categories. Among the biggest awards handed out each year at the show is the NFL MVP Award. This year’s prize went to quarterback Matt Ryan, who will try to follow up the award win with his first-ever championship at Super Bowl 51 on Sunday. Ryan finished the season with 4,944 yards passing and 38 touchdowns with just seven interceptions on 373-of-534 completed passes. His impressive performance also has his team contending for this year’s Lombardi Trophy in Houston, Texas.
According to the NFL website, the Falcons QB was also among Saturday’s award winners for the Offensive Player of the Year category, besting fellow nominees Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott of the Dallas Cowboys. While neither of the Dallas rookies captured that particular award, Prescott was perhaps a surprise winner in the Offensive Rookie of the Year category over his running back teammate. Elliott captured the FedEx Ground Player of the Year Award while Matt Ryan took FedEx’s Air Player of the Year honors.
Neither of the Super Bowl coaches won the award for this past season’s top coach, but a win in Sunday’s is likely more important to their list of achievements. Instead of the Patriots’ Bill Belichick or Falcons’ Dan Quinn, it was Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett nabbing the top coach award. Garrett’s Dallas team lost Romo early at the start of their season but the emergence of the two rookie talents brought them to the top seed in the NFC.
Ultimately the team fell in the Divisional Round against the Green Bay Packers on some late Aaron Rodgers’ heroics, but the season gave a strong indication that Dallas may be the team to beat next season. Adding to their list of award wins on Saturday night, the Cowboys also won the Built Ford Tough Offensive Line of the Year.
Green Bay Packers receiver Jordy Nelson was the favorite to win Comeback Player of the Year and did just that. According to NBC Sports‘ Pro Football Talk, Nelson was sidelined for his entire 2015 season due to a torn ACL injury. He came back strong in his latest campaign. For his 2016-17 NFL season, Nelson finished with 1,257 yards and 14 touchdowns on 97 caught passes this season and was a crucial component of a surging Green Bay team’s playoff run.
In other awards, defensive stars Joey Bosa of the Chargers and Khalil Mack of the Oakland Raiders were both winners. Bosa claimed Defensive Rookie of the Year while Mack was the Defensive Player of the Year for a Raiders team that nearly claimed one of the top seeds in the AFC. Mack’s teammate Derek Carr claimed the Clutch Player of the Year honor. The Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award went to the New York Giants’ Eli Manning and Arizona Cardinals’ Larry Fitzgerald, while the Indianapolis Colts’ Frank Gore took home the Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award.
The Falcons came up as bigger winners on the night when compared to their Super Bowl opponents for Sunday. Head coach Dan Quinn was given the USAA’s Salute to Service Award while Kyle Shanahan won AP Assistant Coach of the Year. Those awards combined with the wins by Matt Ryan gave Atlanta a total of five awards for the evening, while New England came away with a grand total of zero. Next, the Falcons will try to capture the bigger prize with a championship win on Sunday evening in Texas.
The latest NFL Honors 2017 show marked the sixth annual edition of the football awards ceremony. Actor and comedian Michael-Keegan Key hosted the event which also featured the announcement of the latest inductees into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. They included Super Bowl-winning quarterback Kurt Warner and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.
[Featured Image by Tom Pennington/Getty Images]