Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes claimed his second NFL MVP Award on Thursday while the Chiefs focus on their bid for the league’s most coveted prize in Super Bowl LVII.
Mahomes was recognized in the primetime NFL awards show at Symphony Hall in Phoenix, where football dignitaries gathered to hand out awards for the best of the 2022 season and witness the coronation of the Pro Football Hall of Fame class.
Justin Jefferson, an All-Pro wide receiver for the Minnesota Vikings in each of his first three NFL seasons, earned Offensive Player of the Year. Another unanimous All-Pro pick, San Francisco 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa, picked up Defensive Player of the Year honors.
Mahomes led the NFL with 41 touchdown passes and has the Chiefs (16-3) back in the Super Bowl for the third time in four seasons. Kansas City will oppose another MVP finalist, Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts, in its quest for another Lombardi Trophy on Sunday night.
The lopsided voting for MVP saw Mahomes receive 48 of the 50 first-place votes. Hurts and Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen each received one first-place vote.
Mahomes was named MVP and Offensive Player of the Year in 2018, then earned MVP of Super Bowl LIV following the 2019 season.
Jefferson, a unanimous All-Pro selection this season after posting league highs of 128 catches for 1,809 receiving yards, was honored ahead of quarterbacks Jalen Hurts and Patrick Mahomes and wide receiver Tyreek Hill.
Jefferson thanked his brothers, saying, “I mean, y’all made me who I am. You were all so hard on me. All the times I cried at home. You’re the reason I’m tough. I appreciate ya.”
That toughness contributed to Jefferson having a league-leading 28 receptions of 20-plus yards in 2022 and accounting for 28.3 percent of the Vikings’ total yards from scrimmage. He also led the NFL with 27 first-down receptions on third or fourth down.
Bosa was honored for his stellar 2022 production in 16 regular-season games: an NFL-best 18.5 sacks and 48 quarterback hits.
“To the No. 1 defense in the league, shout out,” Bosa said. “All my guys, you make my job a lot easier. It’s a team sport, I just do my job.
“If I’ve learned one thing in life, whatever end goal you have in life, it’s not going to be a smooth path. There’s going to be times when you’re questioning yourself. If you stay the course and you believe in yourself, there is going to be a light at the end of the tunnel.”
Other finalists for the award were Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones and Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons.
Defensive Rookie of the Year recognition went to New York Jets cornerback Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner. The first rookie to earn first-team All-Pro since Ronnie Lott in 1981, Gardner led the league with 20 passes defensed. He allowed one touchdown — in Week 2 against the Cleveland Browns — in 17 games.
After thanking his family, Gardner added, “I gotta thank Detroit. The east side of Detroit, man, seven miles. It was hard growing up, man, it really was. The neighborhood I stayed in, there was a lot of violence going on. But that was just adversity. That’s what it took for me to get here.”
The other finalists were Lions defensive end Aidan Hutchinson and Seahawks cornerback Tariq Woolen.
The Jets also picked up the rookie award on the other side of the ball, when wide receiver Garrett Wilson was tabbed the Defensive Rookie of the year. Wilson amassed 1,103 yards and four touchdowns on 83 receptions.
Other finalists were 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy and Seahawks running back Kenneth Walker III.
A longtime NFL backup, Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith was voted Comeback Player of the Year. A starter for the first time since his second NFL season in 2014, Smith pushed Seattle into the playoffs.
He was named to his first Pro Bowl, led the NFL with a 69.8 completion percentage and posted career-highs with 4,282 yards passing and 30 touchdowns. Other finalists were Giants running back Saquon Barkley and a 49ers midseason acquisition, running back Christian McCaffrey.
First-year New York Giants head coach Brian Daboll, who was the NFL’s Assistant Coach of the Year in 2020 with the Bills, now has another trophy.
Daboll was voted NFL Coach of the Year for his turnaround of the Giants from 4-13 to a wild-card berth and playoff victory. The Giants went 9-7-1 in the regular season, their best mark since 2016 (11-5).
Other finalists were Sean McDermott of the Bills, Doug Pederson of the Jacksonville Jaguars, Kyle Shanahan of the 49ers and Nick Sirianni of the Philadelphia Eagles.
Other awards, including the league MVP and the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, were to be announced later Thursday.
–Field Level Media