Mike Florio talks with former Ravens coach and current FOX and NFL Network analyst Brian Billick about a host of NFL topics, including elite quarterbacks, the future of Michael Vick in Philadelphia and Tim Tebow in New York, player safety in the realm of concussions, what’s bugging Eli Manning and more.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
PFT Live: Brian Billick on elite QBs
For the second time, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is the Most Valuable Player of the National Football League.
Rodgers was announced as 2014 league MVP as the culmination of tonight’s NFL Honors event in Phoenix. Rodgers had previously won the award for the 2011 season.
It’s no surprise that the award went to Rodgers, who had a phenomenal statistical season: Rodgers completed 341 of 520 passes for 4,381 yards, with an incredible touchdown-interception ratio: He finished the year with 38 touchdown passes and just five interceptions.
The postseason ended in disappointment for Rodgers, who saw his Packers blow a big lead in the NFC Championship Game and lose to the Seahawks. But in the regular season, Rodgers was the best player in football. He was recognized for that tonight.
After shaking off a major knee injury to establish himself as the best tight end in the NFL, New England’s Rob Gronkowski has been named the comeback player of the year.
Gronk, who was a unanimous All-Pro, was given the award at tonight’s NFL Honors event in Phoenix. Members of the Gronkowski family picked up the award for Rob, the most successful of the many athletes in the family, as Rob is at the Patriots’ team hotel getting ready for the Super Bowl.
Of the 50 voters for the NFL awards, 27 picked Gronkowski. In second place were Eagles receiver Jeremy Maclin and Cowboys linebacker Rolando McClain with seven votes each, followed by Broncos cornerback Chris Harris with three votes, Ravens running back Justin Forsett and Texans running back Arian Foster with two votes, and Cardinals linebacker Larry Foote and Bills quarterback Kyle Orton with one vote each.
Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis, whose foundation helps underprivileged children, has been named the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year — the only award that recognizes players for their community service as well as their playing ability.
Davis received the award at tonight’s NFL Honors event in Phoenix.
“I am honored to be selected as the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year,” Davis said. “This award means a great deal to me, as it symbolizes the valued work that the NFL, its players, and its 32 teams do in the community. I am blessed to have such a strong support system in my family, the Carolina Panthers and the NFL, which allows me to make an impact in the communities we serve.”
Davis, who had 129 tackles for the Panthers last season, will get a $50,000 donation made to the charity of his choice.
The award was voted upon by Fitzgerald’s fellow players. It is named for the founder of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
One example of Fitzgerald’s respect for those he competes against came last season, when he delivered a textbook block on unsuspecting Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman. While Fitzgerald knocked down Sherman, he did not hit him as hard as he could have. As the players ran back to their huddles, Sherman patted Fitzgerald on the helmet.
Afterwards, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll publicly praised Fitzgerald for the physical-but-clean way he plays the game.
The 31-year-old Fitzgerald is entering his 12th NFL season.
Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald is the NFL’s defensive rookie of the year.
Donald got the award at tonight’s NFL Honors, capping a season in which he recorded nine sacks, including one sack in eight of the Rams’ last 11 games.
Of the 50 media members who vote on the NFL’s awards, 25 chose Donald as the defensive rookie of the year. Ravens linebacker C.J. Mosley was next with 18 votes, followed by Raiders linebacker Khalil Mack with six votes and 49ers linebacker Chris Borland with one vote.
In the least surprising news to come out of tonight’s NFL Honors event, Texans defensive end J.J. Watt has been named the defensive player of the year.
It was obvious that Watt would win the award because it’s obvious that Watt is the NFL’s best defensive player. There’s plenty of debate about who the second-best defensive player in the NFL is, but there’s no debate about who’s first.
Watt was selected unanimously by the 50 media members who vote on the NFL’s awards.
The biggest question about Watt now is whether he can continue to play at the dominant level he has shown off for the last three seasons. If he does, he’ll be not just the best defensive player in the NFL at the moment, but perhaps the greatest defensive player ever to play the game.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame cleared the decks of a number of finalists who had been debated for years, as they ushered in an eight-man class to Canton Saturday night.
First-year eligible linebacker Junior Seau was elected to the Hall of Fame, along with running back Jerome Bettis, defensive end Charles Haley, guard Will Shields and wide receiver Tim Brown.
They’ll be joined this summer by seniors nominee Mick Tingelhoff and contributor candidates Bill Polian and Ron Wolf, who were chosen in separate up-down votes which required at least 80 percent to be elected.
Brown, the longtime Raiders receiver/return man, was in his sixth year as a finalist, as he was stuck in previous years behind Hall of Famers Cris Carter and Andre Reed.
Likewise, Haley was in his sixth trip as a finalist, as he was finally recognized his contributions to five Super Bowl Champions in San Francisco and Dallas.
Bettis was in his fifth year in the final 15, and Shields was making his fourth trip that far.
Seau, however, didn’t need that much time, as the late Chargers, Dolphins and Patriots linebacker needed the shortest discussion of any of the 18 candidates discussed.
Those five modern era finalists emerged from a strong group of finalists, which were debated in a nearly nine-hour meeting Saturday.
The players who filled slots six through 10, and stand a solid shot at the Hall next year include linebacker Kevin Greene, quarterback Kurt Warner, tackle Orlando Pace, wide receiver Marvin Harrison and coach Tony Dungy.
The first five players eliminated from the original list of 15 modern era finalists were coaches Don Coryell and Jimmy Johnson, kicker Morten Andersen, running back Terrell Davis and safety John Lynch.
Those remaining players will be eligible again next year, along with a crop of first-year eligible players which includes quarterback Brett Favre, wide receiver Terrell Owens, guard Alan Faneca and safety Darren Sharper.
After leading the injury-plagued Cardinals to the playoffs, Bruce Arians has been named the NFL’s coach of the year.
Arians, who kept the Cardinals together after they lost both starting quarterback Carson Palmer and backup quarterback Drew Stanton, was named the recipient of the coach of the year award at NFL Honors. A panel of 50 members of the media voted on the award.
This is the second time Arians has been named the NFL’s coach of the year; he also won the award after the 2012 season, when he took over the Colts after Chuck Pagano was stricken with leukemia and led the Colts to the playoffs.
To earn two coach of the year awards in his first three seasons as a head coach is an extraordinary accomplishment, for an extraordinary coach.
Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray was named the NFL’s offensive player of the year for the 2014 season.
Murray finished the regular season with 392 carries for 1,845 yards and 13 touchdowns, plus another 57 catches for 416 yards. His production was a big part of the Cowboys snapping their string of 8-8 seasons and making the playoffs.
Going forward, it remains to be seen whether Murray will keep helping the Cowboys win. Murray becomes a free agent in March, and the Cowboys may not have the cap space to afford to keep him.
But for now, Murray’s award is a tribute not just to his own season but to that of a great Cowboys offensive line, and to a year when Dallas finally turned the corner and returned to the postseason.
The man who built one of the NFL’s top teams of the 1990s is reportedly headed to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Former Packers G.M. Ron Wolf is a member of the Hall’s Class of 2015, Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Saturday evening. Wolf gained induction as a contributor.
The 76-year-old Wolf is perhaps best known for trading a first-round pick to the Falcons for quarterback Brett Favre in 1992. The move was a masterstroke, as Favre became one of the top passers of his generation, leading Green Bay to two Super Bowls, including victory in Super Bowl XXXI.
The choice for offensive rookie of the year in the NFL in 2014 was an easy one.
Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who shook off an injury-plagued start of the season to become one of the league’s most exciting playmakers, has been named the NFL’s offensive rookie of the year. The award was announced on Saturday night at the NFL Honors event in Phoenix.
The NFL’s awards are voted on by a panel of 50 members of the media, and in the case of this award, there was widespread agreement: Beckham got 42 votes, with Cowboys guard Zack Martin getting seven and Buccaneers receiver Mike Evans getting one.
Beckham missed the first four games of the season and spent three more as only a small player in the Giants’ offense. But over the second half of the season, Beckham was the best wide receiver in the NFL. After the Giants’ Week Eight bye, Beckham never had fewer than 90 yards in any game, and despite that slow start he finished the year with 91 catches for 1,305 yards and 12 touchdowns.
The NFL had a talented class of rookie wide receivers this season, but there was no question who was the best: Beckham, by far.
Via his verified Twitter account, former Rams and Steelers tailback Jerome Bettis indicated Saturday evening that he has been selected to the Hall of Fame’s Class of 2015.
Wrote Bettis: “So happy to be amongst the games greatest players!! My Family and I are truly honored and blessed!”
Ed Bouchette, the Steelers’ beat writer for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and a member of the Hall’s selection committee, confirmed in a story for the newspaper that Bettis had made the Hall.
Bettis rushed for 13,662 yards in 12 NFL seasons, sixth-most in league history.
Super Bowl week was only the fourth week for PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio, and it was by far the best yet. In fact, it could be the best we’ll ever have, until next year at this time. At the earliest.
Producers Rob “Stats” Guerrera and Kristen Coleman put together — and held together — a guest list that was second to none in sports radio this week.
From Friday working backward to Monday, with links to the video of the interviews, were segments with Cardinals coach Bruce Arians, Hall of Fame linebacker Derrick Brooks, Broncos receiver Demaryius Thomas, Bears defensive end Jared Allen, Hall of Fame tackle Jackie Slater, Broncos cornerback Chris Harris Jr., Ravens running back Justin Forsett, Dolphins executive V.P. of football operations (as of Monday) Mike Tannenbaum, Vikings receiver Greg Jennings, Saints tight end Jimmy Graham, Cardinals owner Michael Bidwell, Eagles quarterback Nick Foles, Bengals receiver A.J. Green, Bills coach Rex Ryan, Falcons cornerback Desmond Trufant, Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman, former Eagles, Rams, and Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil, Eagles running back LeSean McCoy, Saints quarterback Drew Brees, former Raiders receiver Tim Brown, Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon, former Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson, Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles, Super Bowl XL MVP Hines Ward, Panthers tight end Greg Olsen, Bills running back Fred Jackson, Packers legend Jerry Kramer, Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor, former Cardinals safety Adrian Wilson, former NFL defensive player of the year Jason Taylor, Rams linebacker James Laurinaitis, Browns cornerback Joe Haden, and Steelers defensive end Brett Keisel.
Media guests included Peter King of TheMMQB.com, Tom Curran of CSN New England (twice), Paul Burmeister of NBCSN’s Pro Football Talk, Darin Gantt of PFT, MDS of PFT (twice), Greg Cosell of NFL Films, Ross Tucker of NBCSN and others, and Bob Glauber of Newsday.
That’s 42 total guests. In five days.
You can listen to the audio from all five shows by clicking the show logo in the upper right corner of the page.
The Patriots’ starting center looks on track to play in Super Bowl XLIX.
Stork had been listed as questionable on Friday’s injury report.
According to the NFL, a “probable” designation means a player has a 75 percent chance of playing, whereas “questionable” infers a player is 50-50 to take part in the game.
Stork (6-4, 311) did not play in the AFC Championship vs. Indianapolis because of his injury. A fourth-round pick from Florida State, Stork has started 12-of-14 games in which he’s played this season, including the Patriots’ divisional-round win vs. Baltimore.
Stork was the lone player on either club designated as questionable on Friday’s injury report. Both teams now list seven players apiece as probable, with none designated as doubtful or out.
One day after appearing on the injury report with a knee injury, Seahawks strong safety Kam Chancellor looked no worse for wear at Saturday’s walk-through, according to the media pool practice report.
According to pool reporter D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Chancellor “did not appear to be favoring either leg” one day before Seattle plays New England in Super Bowl XLIX.
“He looked pretty good today,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll told Ledbetter on Saturday. “We will make sure we test him in pregame, but he remarkably looked great today, and so that’s all we have to go on.”
Chancellor sustained the knee injury in a tumble near the end of practice on Friday. Per Will Carroll of Bleacher Report, Chancellor suffered a bruised knee.
A three-time Pro Bowler, the 26-year-old Chancellor had a major impact in Seattle’s 43-8 romp vs. Denver in Super Bowl XLVIII, notching 10 tackles.
All Seahawks players took part in the walk-through, which was held indoors and lasted less than an hour, according to the pool report.