Before the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers meet at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas for Super Bowl LVIII (Sunday, 6:30 p.m. ET, CBS), the best of the NFL gathered at the Resorts World Theatre for Thursday’s NFL Honors.
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson is the favorite to secure his second MVP after winning the award following the 2019 season.
To start the night, San Francisco star running back Christian McCaffrey won Offensive Player of the Year. Houston Texans rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud took home Offensive Rookie of the Year honors. Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett won his first Defensive Player of the Year award. Texans defensive end Will Anderson Jr. won Defensive Rookie of the Year. And Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski won Coach of the Year for the second time.
Here’s a look at who took home the awards and why:
Offensive Player of the Year
Christian McCaffrey | RB | San Francisco 49ers
In his first full season with the Niners, McCaffrey delivered one of the most productive seasons in franchise and league history. He led the NFL in scrimmage yards per game (126.4), scrimmage touchdowns (21), rushing yards (1,459), first downs (114) and 10-plus yard runs (44) while playing 16 games.
Those numbers were enough to earn McCaffrey a Pro Bowl berth and first-team AP All Pro honors as he also added his name to the NFL record books. McCaffrey boosted his total career games with a rushing and receiving score in the same game to 15, tied with Marshall Faulk for the most in league history, and became the third player in NFL history to post more than 2,000 scrimmage yards in a season for two different franchises.
“Everyone has those gym rats who just work so hard. … We got a guy like that, who’s also one of the most talented people in the league,” Niners coach Kyle Shanahan said. — Nick Wagoner
Defensive Player of the Year
Myles Garrett | DE | Cleveland Browns
After several years contending for this award, Garrett finally got over the hump to capture his first NFL Defensive Player of the Year honor.
He ranked just seventh with 14 sacks. But Garrett also spearheaded the NFL’s best regular-season defense. The Browns led the league in defensive efficiency, yards per game allowed (267) and three-and-out rate (32.9%), among several other categories. Garrett also finished second in pass rush win rate (30.5%) despite facing the third highest double-team rate (28.8%).
The Browns won four in a row late in the year, culminating with a playoff-clinching victory over the Jets on Dec. 28. During that stretch, Garrett had 35 pass-rush wins; only one other edge rusher had more than 20 (Pittsburgh’s T.J. Watt had 26).
“I know the focus is on sack numbers,” general manager Andrew Berry said. “That really doesn’t tell the whole story. … He played at a really high level for us down the stretch.” — Jake Trotter
Offensive Rookie of the Year
C.J. Stroud | QB | Houston Texans
Stroud earned this award through the countless rookie records he either tied or set. The former Ohio State standout led the Texans to their first divisional title since 2019 and was the first quarterback drafted in the top two of the draft since 1967 to win a playoff game in his rookie season. That win also made him the youngest to win a playoff contest, passing Michael Vick.
Stroud set the record for most pass attempts without an interception to start a career (191). He carried that momentum and also led the league in touchdown-to-interception ratio (23:5).
He finished the regular season with 4,108 passing yards — the third most for a rookie behind Andrew Luck (4,374 in 2012) and Justin Herbert (4,336 in 2020). His highest passing mark occurred in Week 9 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers when he threw for 470 yards, the most ever by a rookie. — DJ Bien-Aime
Defensive Rookie of the Year
Will Anderson Jr. | DE | Houston Texans
When Anderson came to the Texans, he wanted to set a standard that the rookies were here to “change the culture.” He was immediately impactful when he recorded a sack of Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson in Week 1.
The sack numbers slowed down, but he was still toward the top in advanced metrics. The No. 3 pick ranked third in pass rush win rate (25.8%). He also impacted the run game as he was sixth in run-stop win rate (36%) among defensive ends with at least 400 snaps.
He finished the season with 7 sacks, 10 tackles for loss and 22 QB hits despite suffering an ankle injury that made him miss two games. — DJ Bien-Aime
Coach of the Year
Kevin Stefanski | Cleveland Browns
The Browns have made the postseason just three times since returning to the NFL in 1999. Two of those came with Stefanski as head coach, and in both (including 2020) he was named Coach of the Year.
Stefanski guided Cleveland through a turbulent regular season to an 11-6 record. The Browns suffered season-ending injuries to numerous key players, including quarterback Deshaun Watson (shoulder) and running back Nick Chubb (knee).
Cleveland also became the first team since 1987 to start five different quarterbacks in a season. Still, the Browns set a franchise record with a winning score in the final two minutes of regulation on five occasions.
“That starts with Kevin,” general manager Andrew Berry said. “The way that he was able to lead and manage through challenges in adversity this year was absolutely phenomenal. … I know that our organization is in really good hands both now and for the foreseeable future with him.” — Jake Trotter