Lamar Jackson only 2nd player to win NFL MVP award unanimously
Ravens quarterback receives honour after stunning sophomore season
Lamar Jackson's stunning season not only earned him The Associated Press NFL Most Valuable Player Award, but he won it unanimously.
That's right: The second-year quarterback of the Baltimore Ravens joins Tom Brady as the only players to receive every vote for MVP.
Jackson drew all 50 votes from a nationwide panel of media members who regularly cover the league. Baltimore's All-Pro set an NFL record for yards rushing by a quarterback (1,206) and led an offense that compiled more yards on the ground (3,296) than any in league history. The Ravens won their final 12 games of the regular season to finish at 14-2, the league's best mark.
Brady achieved the feat in 2010. And like Brady, Jackson's special season did not include a championship.
"I'm still young," Jackson said. "I've still got a lot of work to do. I'm not really trying to dwell on what I just did. If I win a Super Bowl, you'll probably see a lot more emotion."
The Ravens were big winners at NFL Honors on Saturday. John Harbaugh won coaching honours, and his offensive coordinator, Greg Roman, took best assistant coach honours.
Tennessee's Ryan Tannehill earned the Comeback Player award by one vote over Jimmy Garoppolo, who will quarterback the 49ers in Sunday's Super Bowl. New Orleans' Michael Thomas took top offensive player honours, while New England's Stephon Gilmore grabbed the defensive player award.
Rookie honors went to 49ers edge rusher Nick Bosa and Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray, the top overall pick in last April's draft.
Edge rusher Calais Campbell of the Jacksonville Jaguars won the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award.
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Thomas is only the second wide receiver to win Offensive Player of the Year. He is in good company: The other receiver to take the honour was Hall of Famer Jerry Rice in 1987 and 1993.
While Rice holds virtually all of the significant NFL receiving records, Thomas has one that made a huge difference with the voters. Thomas caught a league-record 149 passes for 1,725 yards and nine touchdowns. He also played five games without regular quarterback Drew Brees, yet made 42 catches in those outings.
Gilmore is the first cornerback in a decade to win Defensive Player of the Year.
Considered one of the game's best cover cornerbacks, the All-Pro made his eighth pro season his best with a career-high six interceptions that tied for the NFL lead. Gilmore was a key member of the league's stingiest defence in 2019; New England allowed 225 points in winning an 11th straight AFC East title.
Our analysts have used many words to describe Lamar Jackson.<br><br>We'll settle for three letters: MVP 😎<br><br>Congrats to <a href="https://twitter.com/Ravens?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Ravens</a> QB <a href="https://twitter.com/Lj_era8?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Lj_era8</a>! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NFLHonors?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NFLHonors</a> <a href="https://t.co/HhrAM5f8RN">pic.twitter.com/HhrAM5f8RN</a>—@nflnetwork
For leading the Ravens to the NFL's best record, including a 12-game winning streak to end the regular season, Harbaugh joined brother Jim (2011) as Coach of the Year.
Tannehill noted that being the chosen comeback player is a mixed blessing.
Bosa, the second overall draft choice behind Murray, was such a force on the edge of the 49ers' line that he even received votes for the All-Pro team at a very competitive position.
Bosa's nine sacks were the fourth most for a 49ers rookie. He was third in the NFL with 68 pressures, according to SportsInfo Solutions, trailing only Cameron Jordan and Danielle Hunter, and his 16 tackles for loss tied him for fifth in the league.
Murray joined such other No. 1 overall selections as Earl Campbell and Cam Newton as offensive rookie winner. The fast, elusive and creative quarterback is the sixth man to do that double; Newton is the most recent, in 2011, one year after Sam Bradford did it. The others were running backs Campbell (1978), Billy Sims (1980) and George Rogers (1981).
Murray started all 16 games, going 5-10-1 with 20 touchdown passes and 12 interceptions. He ran for 544 yards and four more scores.