Though their teams didn't make it to the Super Bowl, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Cam Newton and Tim Tebow were big winners this weekend in Indianapolis. All four quarterbacks came home with awards Saturday night at the NFL Honors ceremony, along with several other NFL stars.
Rodgers won the AP Most Valuable Player Award, taking 48 of the 50 votes. He set the NFL record for passer rating (122.4) and tossed 45 touchdowns and only six interceptions in 15 starts. The Packers won 14 of those games and finished the regular season with the best record in the league.
Brees was named the AP Offensive Player of the Year for his record-setting season. He topped Dan Marino's 1984 mark for passing yards by throwing for 5,476 yards. He also threw 46 TD passes for the NFC South-champion Saints.
Newton won the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year and Pepsi Max Rookie of the Year awards. The No. 1 overall pick last April was an immediate star for the Panthers, setting an NFL record for rushing touchdowns by a QB with 14. He also became the first player in league history to throw for 4,000 yards and run for 500 yards in the same season.
Tebow was awarded the GMC Never Say Never Award. The Broncos' signalcaller led the team to six victories in games they were not leading heading into the fourth quarter. He also led Denver into the playoffs after inheriting the starting job with the team mired in last place in the AFC West at 1-4.
Other big winners on Saturday included Ravens teammates Terrell Suggs and Matt Birk. Suggs, an outside linebacker who registered 14 sacks and seven forced fumbles, was named the AP Defensive Player of the Year. Birk, the team's starting center, was named the Walter Payton Man of the Year for his excellence both on the field and off in the community.
Broncos OLB Von Miller won the AP Defensive Rookie of the Year Award. The No. 2 pick in the draft received 39 of the 50 votes for the honor after tallying 64 tackles and 11½ sacks, despite playing the last part of the season with a serious thumb injury.
First-year 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh, who led his team the NFC championship game a season after the Niners were 6-10, was named AP Coach of the Year. Lions QB Matthew Stafford won the AP Comeback Player of the Year Award after throwing for more than 5,000 yards.
Packers rookie KR Randall Cobb earned the Play of the Year for his 108-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the first game of the NFL regular season against the Saints.