– Packers’ QB Aaron Rodgers was voted as the AP 2011 NFL Most Valuable Player. Rodgers led the Packers to 15-1 record and NFC North title this season and is the third consecutive quarterback to be voted MVP, joining the Patriots’ QB Tom Brady (2010) and Colts’ QB Peyton Manning (2009). Rodgers threw 45 touchdowns in 2011, and had an NFL-best 122.5 quarterback rating. He earned 48 votes to two for Saints’ QB Drew Brees.
Ravens’ LB Terrell Suggs was voted the AP 2011 NFL Defensive Player of the Year. Suggs finished fourth in the NFL with 14 sacks, and forced seven forced fumbles, recorded two interceptions and was a major player in a Ravens’ defence that allowed the third fewest yards per game. Suggs’ 21 votes trumped 2011 NFL sacks leader Vikings’ DE Jared Allen’s 14. Other candidates receiving votes were 49ers defenders Justin Smith, Navorro Bowman and Patrick Willis, along with Packers CB Charles Woodson and Giants DE Jason Pierre-Paul.
Panthers’ QB Cam Newton was announced as the Associated Press’ NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year on Saturday. Newton set several team and league records, including the most rushing touchdowns in a season by a quarterback, and became the first player in NFL history surpass 4,000 passing yards and 500 yards rushing. No quarterback had won the award since Steelers’ QB Ben Roethlisberger in 2004. Newton received 47 votes to three for Bengals’ QB Andy Dalton, winning in a landslide.
Saints’ QB Drew Brees was voted as the AP 2011 NFL Offensive Player of the Year. In addition to breaking Dan Marino’s single-season passing record, Brees set league records for completions (450) and completion rate (71.6 percent) this season. Brees got 43 of the panel’s 50 total votes, with Packers’ QB Aaron Rodgers finishing a distant second with seven.
49ers’ coach Jim Harbaugh was named the AP 2011 NFL Coach of the Year. In his first season as an NFL head coach, Harbaugh led the 49ers to a 13-3 record and a berth in the NFC Championship Game. Harbaugh earned 45 votes to Packers’ head coach Mike McCarthy’s three and Broncos’ coach John Fox’s two votes. Harbaugh also re-started QB Alex Smith’s career, and helped coach the Niners defence that allowed the fourth fewest yards per game in 2011.
Lions’ QB Matthew Stafford was voted as the AP 2011 NFL Comeback Player of the Year. After appearing in just three games in 2010, Stafford started all 16 games and led the Lions to their first postseason since 1999. His 5,082 passing yards and 41 touchdowns both ranked third in the NFL. Stafford received 21 to Browns’ LB D’Qwell Jackson 16 votes. Panthers’ WR Steve Smith, Giants’ QB Eli Manning, Broncos’ DE Elvis Dumervil, and Patriots’ DE Andre Carter also received votes.
Broncos’ LB Von Miller was named the AP NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. The No. 2 overall pick in the draft, Miller spearheaded the Denver defence, recording 64 tackles and 11.5 sacks despite missing one game and being limited in each of the Broncos’ last four contests. Miller received 39 votes from the nationwide panel of media members, with 49ers’ LB Aldon Smith getting the other 11 votes. Smith finished with more sacks (14), but Miller was an every-down player in 2011.
– Former RB Curtis Martin was one of six players elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday. Also selected for enshrinement were DT Cortez Kennedy, OT Willie Roaf, C Dermontti Dawson and DE Chris Doleman. DB Jack Butler was voted in by the senior committee. Fourth all-time with 14,101 rushing yards, Martin also tallied 3,329 receiving yards and 100 total touchdowns. He was a first-team All-Pro selection at 31, and played in five Pro Bowls. Notable omissions from this year’s class included WR Cris Carter, WR Tim Brown, RB Jerome Bettis and coach/executive Bill Parcells.
– Check out this great Budweiser commercial that will air during the Super Bowl:
– Red Wings’ G Jimmy Howard (broken finger) will miss 4-6 weeks and will not require surgery, but his hoping to come back ahead of that estimate. ”I’m hopeful it won’t take the four-to-six weeks that they’re calling for. Hopefully, it’s only a couple of weeks. I’m being optimistic. I don’t really know what the time line is, to be honest. Hopefully, I can be back even sooner.” Howard broke his finger on Thursday and was initially projected to miss anywhere from two games to two weeks. He will be re-evaluated on Tuesday.
– Kings’ F will host a “Pancakes with Penner” fundraiser with the Kings Care Foundation. Penner infamously suffered back spasms as he sat down to a pancake breakfast prepared by his wife in early January. The left-winger missed Los Angeles’ 1-0 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets on January 7 as he recovered from the injury. ”Pancakes with Penner” will have 75 fans and their guests join Penner for a buffet breakfast at an IHOP pancake restaurant in Los Angeles.
– Bruins’ D Dennis Seidenberg (face) took “close to 20 stitches” after being hit face first into the glass on Saturday, according to head coach Claude Julien.
– Nets’ F Brook Lopez (foot) jumped rope, ran, and did some jumping on Thursday, and was positive about his rehabilitation when talking with reporters. Lopez said that he will need to work on his lateral movement and pivoting before being able to practice, but also noted that his timetable is still up in the air. “I just took a little pocket schedule to Timmy (Walsh, the Nets’ athletic trainer) and told him to point to a game (I could return for). He folded it up and put it in his pocket.” He is currently in the sixth week of a 6-8 week timetable, and could reach the back end of the timetable.
– Sting’ F Nail Yakupov has been suspended 2 games for not attending the Top Prospects game.
– Today TNA Champion Bobby Roode got a strong endorsement from WWE star The Rock on Twitter today. The Rock tweeted:
“@REALBobbyRoode I dig your work. Keep movin’ the crowd and kicking that ass. (tell Bubba his calves still aren’t as big as mine)”
– Promoting today’s World Wrestling Fan Xperience Champions Showcase Tour event at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City, Philippines, former WWE Women’s Champion Melina was asked at a press conference Friday if she planned to follow the footsteps of other WWE Divas who have posed for Playboy.
“Never say never, but as of now, no.”
– The official relaunch of WWE’s YouTube channel continues – with the debut of “WWE Backstage Fallout.” Backstage fallout is similar to TNA Reaction, featuring in-character interviews with WWE superstars and divas following their segments from Friday’s Smackdown episode. In the debut episode – Natalya, Sheamus and Cody Rhodes:
– It was reported Friday that the official website of WWE developmental league Florida Championship Wrestling removed Calvin Raines, Leroy Parks, Marcus Owens and Peter Orlov from their roster page, which indicates they have been released. The wrestler known was Peter Orlov has changed his Twitter handle to @AlexKoslovCom as well as name, Alex Koslov. He also commented,
“Please everyone vait in great suspense for first vords from mouth of horse, sanks!”
– An insane trick shot video has gone viral on YouTube. Check out some of these amazing shots:
– Matt Hardy’s court cases from his various arrests last summer have been continued to March 1, according to court records. Hardy was scheduled for court in Moore County, North Carolina yesterday on charges including driving while impaired & exceeding safe speed, felony possession with intent to distribute, felony possession, felony maintaining a vehicle/dwelling for drugs, misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia and misdemeanor violation of court order.
– Thursday’s special Impact Wrestling show from the UK drew a 1.15 cable rating, with 1,613,000 viewers. This is down just a bit from last week’s 1.17 rating and 1,680,000 viewers. The show was about even with the 2012 average of 1.62 million viewers and ranked #28 among cable TV shows last night. In the various demos the show ranked #23 among males 18-34, #13 among males 18-49, and #40 among adults 18-49. The demos were down all the way across the board except with young male viewers, where the 12 – 17 demo was the highest since December.