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Packers' Aaron Rodgers wins second consecutive NFL MVP

NFL: NFC Divisional Round-San Francisco 49ers at Green Bay Packers
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers during a NFC Divisional playoff football game Jan. 22 against the San Francisco 49ers at Lambeau Field.
Jeff Hanisch / USA Today Sports
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Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was selected the AP NFL Most Valuable Player on Thursday during the NFL Honors celebration at Inglewood, Calif., earning the designation for the second year in a row and becoming a four-time winner.

Rodgers, who guided the Packers to the NFC's No. 1 seed in this season's playoffs, also was named MVP 2011, 2014 and 2020.

The only other player to win the honor at least four times was Peyton Manning, who was a five-time MVP. Manning presented the award to Rodgers on Thursday.

In 16 games this season, Rodgers passed for 4,115 yards and 37 touchdowns against just four interceptions in leading the Packers to a 13-3 record. Green Bay was eliminated in the divisional round of the playoffs by the San Francisco 49ers.

Rodgers thanked his teammates and gave credit to Packers coach Matt LaFleur for putting him in a position to have success.

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"You're a huge part of this and I love you and I appreciate you," Rodgers said. "Thanks for trusting me, supporting me, empowering me and making things easy for me. I appreciate you, buddy."

Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt was chosen the NFL Defensive Player of the Year, while Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp was named NFL Offensive Player of the Year.

Watt's 22.5 sacks in the 2021 season tied the NFL record set by the New York Giants' Michael Strahan in 2001.

The award was presented to Watt by his brother J.J. Watt of the Arizona Cardinals, a three-time defensive player of the year (2012, 2014, 2015).

"My teammates, coaches back home in Pittsburgh, this truly is not possible without you guys," said T.J. Watt, a first-round pick by the Steelers in 2017 who has 72 career sacks. "There are so many guys that put in so much work that goes unnoticed -- and that goes for the guys in the cafeteria to the guys who are taping ankles. This one is for all of you guys."

Kupp claimed the Offensive honor after claiming the wide receiver triple crown, leading the league in receptions (145), yards (1,947) and touchdowns (16). The last wide receiver to lead the league in all three categories was Steve Smith in 2005.

Kupp's exploits helped the Rams to a spot in Sunday's Super Bowl against the Cincinnati Bengals. In Los Angeles' 20-17 NFC Championship Game victory against the San Francisco Giants, Kupp had 11 catches for 142 yards and two touchdowns.

"I have my teammates and coaches who have made it an absolute joy to come in and do the work every single day," Kupp said. "I have enjoyed it."

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Kupp's teammate, offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth, received the NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year award for his charitable contributions off the field. Whitworth has a unique perspective on Sunday's Super Bowl as somebody who played for both teams. His first 11 seasons came with the Bengals before he played the past five seasons with the Rams.

Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin Tucker was honored with NFL Moment of the Year for his record-breaking, 66-yard field goal at Detroit on Sept. 26 as time expired in a 19-17 victory.

Bengals wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase was named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. Chase, the No. 5 overall selection in last year's draft, had 81 receptions for 1,455 yards and 13 touchdowns for the AFC champions.

Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons was named unanimous NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year after recording 13 sacks and 84 tackles. The No. 12 selection in last year's draft out of Penn State had three forced fumbles in 16 games.

Quarterback Joe Burrow was named NFL Comeback Player of the Year after guiding the Bengals to Sunday's Super Bowl. Burrow's rookie season in 2020 was cut short after 10 games because of a devastating knee injury sustained against the Washington Football Team. He tore the ACL and MCL in his left knee while also damaging his PCL and meniscus.

The Tennessee Titans' Mike Vrabel was named NFL Coach of the year after guiding his team to a 12-5 record and a No. 1 seed in the AFC for this season's playoffs.

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