News

NFL Award Finalists: Burrow, Hurts, Mahomes Among MVP Candidates

Finalists for eight of the NFL’s awards were announced on Wednesday, and three of the four starting quarterbacks on Championship Sunday are among the MVP candidates.

Cincinnati’s Joe Burrow, Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes and Philadelphia’s Jalen Hurts are finalists for MVP. They join Bills QB Josh Allen and Vikings WR Justin Jefferson as candidates for the NFL’s most prestigious honor. Hurts, Jefferson and Mahomes were also named finalists for Offensive Player of the Year.

Sunday’s fourth quarterback,  San Francisco’s Brock Purdy, wasn’t left out, as he is one of three finalists for Offensive Rookie of the Year.

A nationwide panel of 50 media members who regularly cover the league completed voting before the start of the playoffs. The finalists were determined by The Associated Press and its new system, which asked voters for the first time to rank their top 5 MVP candidates and their top 3 for the other awards.

The winners will be announced at NFL Honors on Feb. 9, the Thursday before Super Bowl LVII.

Here’s a breakdown of each of the finalists for each award.

Most Valuable Player

Josh Allen, QB, Bills

Despite getting bounced in the Divisional Round of the playoffs, Allen still had an impressive season, finishing with 4,283 yards passing and 35 passing touchdowns. He added 762 yards rushing and seven touchdowns on the ground. However, he threw 14 interceptions, tied for second most in the league.

Joe Burrow, QB, Bengals

Burrow has now led the Bengals to back-to-back AFC Championship Game appearances. However, because this is a regular-season award, Burrow is probably a longshot. He finished with 4,475 yards passing and 35 touchdowns. In a head-to-head matchup, Burrow beat Mahomes and the Chiefs in Week 13.

Jalen Hurts, QB, Eagles

Hurts was considered a front-runner for MVP during most of the season as the Eagles jumped out to an 8-0 start. However, he suffered a shoulder injury in Week 15, causing him to miss the next two games. Hurts finished the season with 3,701 yards passing, 22 passing touchdowns, and added 760 yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground.

Justin Jefferson, WR, Vikings

Jefferson is the only non-quarterback to make the finalist list. One of only two unanimous choices for the All-Pro team, he led the NFL with 126 catches and 1,809 yards receiving, while adding eight touchdowns. Jefferson also broke the Vikings’ single-season receiving yards record, held previously by Hall of Famer Randy Moss.

Patrick Mahomes, QB, Chiefs

Mahomes, who was named league MVP after the 2018 season, looks like the favorite to win it this season after leading the league with 5,250 yards passing, 41 passing touchdowns and 47 total touchdowns. Kansas City finished as the AFC’s No. 1 seed with a 14-3 record and is preparing to play in the AFC Championship Game against the Bengals on Sunday.

Offensive Player of the Year

Tyreek Hill, WR, Dolphins

Hill was acquired in the offseason and helped revitalize the Dolphins’ struggling offense. He finished with 119 catches for 1,710 yards and seven touchdowns, and established a franchise single-season receiving yards record, surpassing Mark Duper.

Jalen Hurts, QB, Eagles

Hurts’ dual-threat ability makes him a contender for this award. His 3,701 yards passing, 22 passing touchdowns, 760 yards rushing and 13 rushing touchdowns give him an all-around game worthy of Offensive Player of the Year.

Justin Jefferson, WR, Vikings

Jefferson is unlikely to win MVP over a bunch of quarterbacks, but his 128 catches, 1,809 yards receiving and eight touchdowns make him a legitimate candidate for this award.

Patrick Mahomes, QB, Chiefs

As a top contender for MVP, Mahomes isn’t likely to win this award, too, if history is used as a guide. However, his numbers are so outstanding, he could be an exception.

Defensive Player of the Year

Nick Bosa, DE, 49ers

Bosa was the main weapon on a 49ers defense that allowed the fewest yards and points per game in 2022. He also led the league in sacks this season (18.5).

Chris Jones, DT, Chiefs

Jones might be an underrated player compared to Parsons and Bosa, but he finished the 2022 season with equally impressive numbers. He recorded 15.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and four passes defended.

Micah Parsons, DE, Cowboys

One season after winning Defensive Rookie of the Year, Parsons is competing for the most prestigious defensive award. He finished the season by stuffing the stat sheet with 65 total tackles, 13.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and three passes defended.

Offensive Rookie of the Year

Brock Purdy, QB, 49ers

Purdy, the last pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, took over for the injured Jimmy Garoppolo in Week 13 and led the 49ers to five straight wins to end the regular season. The past two weeks, he’s helped San Francisco reach its second straight NFC Championship Game with playoff wins against the Seahawks and the Cowboys. He has 16 touchdowns and just four interceptions in his seven starts, including the playoffs.

>> Read: Purdy Has Earned 49ers’ Future QB Job

Kenneth Walker III, RB, Seattle Seahawks

Walker was selected in the second round (41st overall) in the 2022 NFL Draft with hopes that he’d help get Seattle’s running game back on track. It worked, as he led all rookies in yards rushing (1,050) and touchdowns (9).

Garrett Wilson, WR, Jets

Taken with the 10th overall pick, Wilson made an immediate impact on the team’s offense. Despite New York’s carousel of quarterbacks, he finished  with 83 catches for 1,103 yards and four touchdowns. Wilson’s receptions and yards led all rookie receivers this season.

Defensive Rookie of the Year

Aidan Hutchinson, DE, Detroit Lions

Hutchinson was the second overall pick in the draft and finished with 52 tackles, 9.5 sacks, two fumble recoveries and three interceptions. He was a big reason the Lions finished 9-8 and had a chance to make the playoffs in Week 18.

Sauce Gardner, CB, New York Jets

The fourth overall pick in the draft helped transform the Jets’ defense, which allowed just 18.6 points per game. Gardner finished with 75 total tackles, two interceptions and 20 passes defended.

Tariq Woolen, CB, Seattle Seahawks

Woolen is the lowest-drafted player to make the finalist list for defensive rookie. The Seahawks selected him in the fifth round out of UT-San Antonio after he impressed at the NFL combine with a 4.26-second 40-yard dash. Woolen led all rookies and tied for the NFL lead with six interceptions, and he finished with 16 passes defended.

Comeback Player of the Year

Saquon Barkley, RB, Giants

After playing just 15 games and recording 627 rushing yards over the previous two seasons, Barkley rushed for 1,312 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2022. His return to form helped the Giants win their first playoff game since 2011.

Christian McCaffrey, RB, 49ers

McCaffrey was traded to the 49ers prior to the NFL’s trade deadline and made quite the impact on the team playing for an NFC Championship this weekend. After two straight injury-riddled seasons, he produced 1,139 yards rushing, eight touchdowns, 741 yards receiving and five receiving touchdowns.

Geno Smith, QB, Seahawks

Smith was given another shot to be a starting quarterback this season after he spent many years backing up the likes of Russell Wilson, Eli Manning and Philip Rivers. He led the league in completion percentage and broke Seattle’s single-season passing yards record, previously held by Wilson.

Coach of the Year

Brian Daboll, Giants

In his first year, Daboll led the Giants to their first playoff win since 2011 and their first winning record since the 2016 season. He is also credited with helping quarterback Daniel Jones have a career-best season.

Sean McDermott, Bills

The Bills had high expectations coming into the season, and they met them in the regular season before losing in the Divisional Round to the Bengals. McDermott’s Bills finished the season 13-3 and won another AFC East title.

Doug Pederson, Jaguars

In his first season, Pederson oversaw a franchise transformation. After the Jaguars finished with the worst record in the NFL in 2021, Pederson flipped the script in 2022, as Jacksonville finished 9-8, won the AFC South and completed the third-largest comeback in NFL postseason history against the Chargers in the Wild Card Round.

Kyle Shanahan, 49ers

Shanahan and the 49ers were expected to have success this season, and they did. The team won 13 games, but it’s all the adversity Shanahan had to deal with that lands him on this list. He was forced to play three quarterbacks and has designed an offense that allows Purdy, a seventh-round pick, to keep the offense moving like one of the best in the NFL.

Nick Sirianni, Eagles

In his second season in Philadelphia, Sirianni led the Eagles to a franchise-best 14 wins. Led by Hurts, who experienced considerable development under Sirianni, Philadelphia earned the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs.

Assistant Coach of the Year

Ben Johnson, Lions, OC

Johnson led a Lions offense that finished fourth in average yards per game. He also oversaw a career renaissance for quarterback Jared Goff and a career-best season for wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown. Johnson received some head coaching interviews but made the decision to remain in Detroit with Dan Campbell.

DeMeco Ryans, 49ers, DC

Ryans was responsible for the NFL’s best defense in 2022. San Francisco’s defense allowed the fewest points and yards per game this season. Ryans also helped get the best out of defensive stars Nick Bosa, Fred Warner, and even some less-known names like Talanoa Hufanga.

Shane Steichen, Eagles, OC

Steichen’s offense finished third in total yards and points per game. Steichen helped create the perfect balance between running with players like Hurts and Miles Sanders and feeding prime receiving targets like A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith.

Scroll to the Top