NFL Honors: Lamar Jackson Wins MVP, Cam Heyward Wins Man of The Year, and Prince Harry Makes a Cameo

By Jackson Tolliver, WEBN Correspondent

With just three days remaining before the Kansas City Chiefs take on the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LVIII, the NFL’s best gathered at Resorts World in Las Vegas for the 12th annual NFL Honors Awards. Hosted by Keegan Michael-Key, the show drew inspiration from its host city, featuring a Vegas-inspired backdrop, Cirque-du-Soleil performers, and the Vegas resident magicians Penn and Teller.

The first award was Offensive Rookie of the Year, which many believed would be a tight race between Rams wide receiver Puka Nacua and Texans quarterback CJ Stroud. The latter took home the trophy. Stroud led the Texans to a playoff berth and victory after the team finished 3-13-1 last year. The Ohio State product threw for 4,108 yards and 25 touchdowns in the regular season.

The Defensive Rookie of the Year award went to another Texan, linebacker Will Anderson Jr., the third overall pick in the 2023 draft. He recorded 45 tackles and seven sacks, anchoring a defense that finished in the top half of the league.

Coach of the Year was one of the more unpredictable races, as multiple play-callers overachieved from their preseason expectations. Kevin Stefanski of the Cleveland Browns won the award over the Texans’ DeMeco Ryan and the Lions’ Dan Campbell. The Browns unexpectedly made the playoffs with Joe Flacco at quarterback, who won the Comeback Player of the Year award. After being signed for the team’s final six games, Flacco threw 1,616 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Defensive Player of the Year was given to Browns defensive end Myles Garrett, who beat out the Steelers’ TJ Watt despite having 14 sacks to Watt’s 19. Offensive Player of the Year went to Christian McCaffrey, who willed the 49ers to their spot in the big game this Sunday with 14 regular-season touchdowns.

Unsurprisingly, the Most Valuable Player award was given to Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson for a second time. The Ravens finished with an NFL-best record of 13-4, and Jackson threw for 3,678 yards (a career high) and 24 touchdowns.

The NFL also introduced its Hall of Fame class of 2024: Julius Peppers, Andre Johnson, Patrick Willis, Devin Hester, Dwight Freeney, Steve McMichael, and Randy Gradishar. The Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, which is given to a player who does the most for their community, went to Steelers defensive end Cam Heyward. Heyward’s father died at the age of 39, inspiring him to help children who have lost parents. His foundation, The Heyward House, is dedicated to combatting childhood hunger, promoting literacy, and fighting cancer in children.

Celebrity presenters included Issa Rae, Taraji P. Henson, Deion Sanders, and, most surprising of all, Prince Harry. Keegan Michael-Key’s opening monologue poked fun at various NFL teams and was generally well-received by the crowd.