NFL awards: Matt Ryan, Khalil Mack and Dallas Cowboys end up big winners

The NFL came together on Saturday night to give out its major awards, including MVP.

Here are the list of winners:


Ryan had a career season, throwing for 4,944 yards and 38 touchdowns. He’ll start Super Bowl LI for the Falcons on Sunday, and on Saturday he was named the league’s offensive player of the year.

“He’s attacked this year as hard as anyone I’ve ever seen attack a year and it’s really cool when you see someone put that much in and you get the results,” Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan said earlier this week.

[Related: Matt Ryan’s spectacular and unexpected MVP season]

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Oakland Raiders DE Khalil Mack

Mack was predicted by many to win defensive player of the year, and he lived up to the hype.

Mack, in his third season, won his first defensive player of the year award. Mack had 11 sacks for a Raiders team that broke out in a big way, getting an AFC wild-card spot. Mack also made some huge plays, with five forced fumbles and an interception that he returned for a touchdown.

Mack, who is just 25 years old, was a fantastic pick in the 2014 draft, in which the Raiders also drafted quarterback Derek Carr. He went fifth overall in that draft. Mack should help keep the Raiders in contention for a few years to come.

OFFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott

In a bit of an upset, Prescott beat teammate Ezekiel Elliott for the award.

The two Cowboys went to the stage together after Prescott was named the winner.

“Do we have a knife so I can cut this in half?” Prescott said.

Elliott seemed to have the inside track to win, after rushing for an NFL-best 1,631 yards. He also had 15 touchdowns. But Prescott had a great season too, filling in for injured Tony Romo and leading the Cowboys to an NFC East championship. He finished the season with 23 touchdowns and four interceptions.

DEFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Los Angeles Chargers DE Joey Bosa

Bosa held out of preseason, but he was worth the wait. He beat out Jacksonville Jaguars rookie Jalen Ramsey and Atlanta Falcons linebacker Deion Jones to win the defensive rookie of the year award.

When Bosa accepted the award on stage he referenced it being a “tough year,” presumably in reference to the criticism he got holding out, but he was excited to win the defensive rookie of the year award.

“I’m really happy about it,” Bosa said. “I don’t wear my emotions on my sleeve like a lot of guys, but this is something I really wanted.”

Bosa, the third pick of the draft out of Ohio State, had 10.5 sacks in just 12 games. He was a force off the edge for the Chargers and is a young superstar for the team as it moves to Los Angeles.

COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Green Bay Packers WR Jordy Nelson

Nelson immediately thanked the Packers’ trainers upon receiving the comeback player of the year award. That was fitting, considering Nelson missed a full season after an ACL tear but came back good as new.

Nelson led the NFL with 14 receiving touchdowns, and he had 1,257 yards. The Packers won six games in a row to end the regular season and win the NFC North. The Packers missed Nelson when he was out during the 2015 season, and he was glad to be back helping the offense.

“You realize how much you miss it, when you miss the whole season,” Nelson said.

COACH OF THE YEAR: Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett

Garrett was named coach of the year for taking a team that had to start a pair of rookies in key roles – Prescott at quarterback due to Romo’s injury, and Elliott at running back – to the best record in the NFC this season. He didn’t accept much praise for winning the award.

“This is an extension of our football team,” Garrett said. “I accept it on their behalf.”

WALTER PAYTON MAN OF THE YEAR: New York Giants QB Eli Manning and Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald

The award for the Walter Payton Man of the Year, which recognizes charity work off the field, was shared by Fitzgerald and Manning. It’s the third time in the award’s history there have been co-winners.

Khalil Mack was named NFL defensive player of the year. (AP)
Khalil Mack was named NFL defensive player of the year. (AP)

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Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!