NEW YORK—Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning was named the NFL’s most valuable player for a record fifth time Saturday, on the eve of his Super Bowl appearance Sunday.
Manning, in his second season with the Broncos since being released by the Indianapolis Colts after undergoing four neck surgeries, set single-season NFL records by throwing for 5,477 yards and 55 touchdowns. His previous four MVP awards, already the most in league history, had come with the Colts.
The selection was made by the Associated Press and was announced during the “3rd Annual NFL Honors” show taped Saturday evening at Radio City Music Hall.
Manning did not attend and will be seeking his second career Super Bowl victory when the Broncos face the Seattle Seahawks in East Rutherford, N.J., Sunday. He received 49 of 50 MVP votes, with the other vote going to New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. Manning also was named the AP offensive player of the year Saturday.
Ron Rivera was named the AP’s coach of the year after leading the Carolina Panthers to a 12-4 record and the second seed in the NFC playoffs. The Panthers won 11 of their final 12 regular-season games following a 1-3 start. They lost an NFC semifinal at home to the San Francisco 49ers. But that didn’t diminish their regular season accomplishments in the eyes of the voters after the Panthers had gone a combined 13-19 over the previous two seasons.
“I have a great group of players that are coachable, that listen, do the things that are asked of them and believe in it as well,” Rivera said.
One of those Panthers players, linebacker Luke Kuechly, was named defensive player of the year. The second-year pro had 156 tackles, four interceptions and two sacks.
“It’s a great honor,” Kuechly said. “With these individual awards, I think it’s important to thank the guys around you.”
Green Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy was named the offensive rookie of the year. He rushed for 1,178 yards and 11 touchdowns after dropping to the second round of the NFL draft.
“It’s not a grudge thing,” Lacy said. “Or it’s not a, ‘You were picked first and I wasn’t but I did better than you’ type of thing. I just wanted to come out and just play the way I knew I was capable of playing.”
New York Jets defensive end Sheldon Richardson was named the defensive rookie of the year after a 78-tackle, 3-1/2-sack season. He edged Buffalo Bills linebacker Kiko Alonso by four votes, 23 to 19.
“It was a tossup to me,” Richardson said. “It was tight.”
San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers was named the comeback player of the year. Rivers threw for 32 touchdowns and had only 11 interceptions while leading the Chargers to the playoffs. He’d totaled 35 interceptions and had lost 12 fumbles over the previous two seasons.
Chicago Bears cornerback Charles Tillman was named the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year for accomplishments on and off the field.