Packers’ Rodgers 2021 PFWA NFL MVP; Rams’ Kupp Offensive Player of the Year; Steelers’ Watt Defensive Player of the Year

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who threw for 4,115 yards and 37 touchdowns and led the league in passer rating, is the 2021 NFL Most Valuable Player chosen in voting conducted by the Professional Football Writers of America (PFWA).

Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp, who is the fourth player to win the NFL’s receiving triple crown by leading the league in receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns, is the league’s Offensive Player of the Year.

Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt, who tied the NFL record for sacks in a season with 22.5, is the PFWA’s Defensive Player of the Year.

Rodgers, the 48th MVP honored by the PFWA, wins the award for the second consecutive season, the fifth player in NFL history to win back-to-back PFWA MVP awards (Houston Oilers RB Earl Campbell in 1978-79, Green Bay Packers QB Brett Favre in 1995-96, St. Louis Rams RB Marshall Faulk in 2000-01 and Indianapolis Colts QB Peyton Manning in 2008-09). This is Rodgers’ fourth overall PFWA MVP award (2011, 2014, 2020, 2021) which ties him with Manning for the most in the history of the PFWA’s MVP honor. He is the ninth consecutive quarterback selected MVP by the PFWA and the 32nd QB to win the award overall. The fourth PFWA honor for the Packers quarterback extends Green Bay’s record of PFWA MVP awards to seven (quarterbacks Bart Starr in 1966 and Favre in 1995 and 1996).

Rodgers, in his 17th NFL season, started 16 games, completed 366 of 531 passes for 4,115 yards with 37 touchdowns and only four interceptions for a league-leading 111.9 passer rating. He led the league in interception percentage (0.75) for an NFL-record sixth time and for the fourth straight season. Rodgers led the NFL in TD/INT ratio (9.25), the third-best mark in NFL history with 500-plus attempts in a season. He was third in completion percentage (68.9) and was tied for fourth in the league in TD passes. Rodgers was sixth in the NFL in yards per attempt (7.75) and 10th in passing yards. He had 13 games with multiple TD passes and no interceptions, the most in a season in NFL history. Rodgers was the NFC Offensive Player of the Week for Week 15 and the NFC Offensive Player of the Month for December. He was selected to the PFWA’s 2021 All-NFL and All-NFC teams.

Kupp, in his fifth season, is the fifth Rams player to receive the PFWA’s Offensive Player of the Year honor since the award was instituted in 1992 (QB Kurt Warner in 1999, RB Marshall Faulk in 2000 and 2001, and RB Todd Gurley in 2017) and the first wide receiver to win the award.

Kupp started all 17 games and led the league in receptions (145), receiving yards (1,947) and receiving touchdowns (16). He was 22 catches, 331 receiving yards and two TDs ahead of the second-place player in each statistical category. He joins Jerry Rice (1990), Sterling Sharpe (1992) and Steve Smith Sr. (2005) as players who led the league in those categories in a single season. His 1,947 receiving yards is second in NFL history behind only Calvin Johnson’s 1,964 yards in 2012. Kupp also led the league in receptions of 25-plus yards (23), and he broke an NFL mark with 13 straight games with 90 or more receiving yards. He was named NFC Offensive Player of the Month for September and October. He was selected to the PFWA’s 2021 All-NFL and All-NFC teams.

Watt, in his fifth season, is the PFWA’s Defensive Player of the Year for the first time, and his honor is the second by a Steelers player (LB James Harrison in 2008) since the award was instituted in 1992. He is the first linebacker to win the award since Baltimore’s Terrell Suggs in 2011 and the ninth overall linebacker presented the PFWA Defensive Player of the Year honor.

Watt started all 15 games he played in, and he had 64 total tackles (48 solo), 21 tackles for loss, 22.5 sacks for minus-111.5 yards, 39 quarterback hits, five forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. He had 11 games with at least one-half sack and eight contests with multiple sacks. Watt was selected as the AFC Defensive Player of the Week three times in Weeks 6, 13 and 17. He was selected to the PFWA’s 2021 All-NFL and All-AFC teams.

2021 MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: QB Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
2021 OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: WR Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams
2021 DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: LB T.J. Watt, Pittsburgh Steelers

PFWA NFL MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: 1966 – Bart Starr, Green Bay Packers; 1967-74 – no selections; 1975 – QB Fran Tarkenton, Minnesota Vikings; 1976 – QB Bert Jones, Baltimore Colts; 1977 – RB Walter Payton, Chicago Bears; 1978 – RB Earl Campbell, Houston Oilers; 1979 – RB Earl Campbell, Houston Oilers; 1980 – QB Brian Sipe, Cleveland Browns; 1981 – QB Ken Anderson, Cincinnati Bengals; 1982 – QB Dan Fouts, San Diego Chargers; 1983 – QB Joe Theismann, Washington Redskins; 1984 – QB Dan Marino, Miami Dolphins; 1985 – RB Marcus Allen, Los Angeles Raiders; 1986 – LB Lawrence Taylor, New York Giants; 1987 – WR Jerry Rice, San Francisco 49ers; 1988 – QB Boomer Esiason, Cincinnati Bengals; 1989 – QB Joe Montana, San Francisco 49ers; 1990 – QB Randall Cunningham, Philadelphia Eagles; 1991 – RB Thurman Thomas, Buffalo Bills; 1992 – QB Steve Young, San Francisco 49ers; 1993 – RB Emmitt Smith, Dallas Cowboys; 1994 – QB Steve Young, San Francisco 49ers; 1995 – QB Brett Favre, Green Bay Packers; 1996 – QB Brett Favre, Green Bay Packers; 1997 – RB Barry Sanders, Detroit Lions; 1998 – RB Terrell Davis, Denver Broncos; 1999 – QB Kurt Warner, St. Louis Rams; 2000 – RB Marshall Faulk, St. Louis Rams; 2001 – RB Marshall Faulk, St. Louis Rams; 2002 – QB Rich Gannon, Oakland Raiders; 2003 – RB Jamal Lewis, Baltimore Ravens; 2004 – QB Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts; 2005 – RB Shaun Alexander, Seattle Seahawks; 2006 – RB LaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego Chargers; 2007 – QB Tom Brady, New England Patriots; 2008 – QB Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts; 2009 – QB Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts; 2010 – QB Tom Brady, New England Patriots; 2011 – QB Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers; 2012 – RB Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings; 2013 – QB Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos; 2014 – QB Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers; 2015 – QB Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers; 2016 – QB Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons; 2017 – QB Tom Brady, New England Patriots; 2018 – QB Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs; 2019 – QB Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens; 2020 – QB Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers; 2021 – QB Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers.

PFWA OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: 1992 — QB Steve Young, San Francisco 49ers; 1993 — RB Emmitt Smith, Dallas Cowboys; 1994 — QB Steve Young, San Francisco 49ers; 1995 — QB Brett Favre, Green Bay Packers; 1996 — QB Brett Favre, Green Bay Packers; 1997 — RB Barry Sanders, Detroit Lions; 1998 — RB Barry Sanders, Detroit Lions; 1999 — QB Kurt Warner, St. Louis Rams; 2000 — RB Marshall Faulk, St. Louis Rams; 2001 — RB Marshall Faulk, St. Louis Rams; 2002 — QB Rich Gannon, Oakland Raiders; 2003 — RB Jamal Lewis, Baltimore Ravens; 2004 — QB Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts; 2005 — RB Shaun Alexander, Seattle Seahawks; 2006 — RB LaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego Chargers; 2007 — QB Tom Brady, New England Patriots; 2008 — QB Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts; 2009 — QB Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts; 2010 — QB Tom Brady, New England Patriots; 2011 — QB Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers; 2012 — RB Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings; 2013 — QB Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos; 2014 — RB DeMarco Murray, Dallas Cowboys; 2015 — QB Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers; 2016 — QB Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons; 2017 — RB Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams; 2018 — QB Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs; 2019 — QB Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens; 2020 — RB Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans; 2021 – WR Cooper Kupp.

PFWA DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: 1992 — DT Cortez Kennedy, Seattle Seahawks; 1993 — DE Bruce Smith, Buffalo Bills; 1994 — CB Deion Sanders, San Francisco 49ers; 1995 — LB Bryce Paup, Buffalo Bills; 1996 — DE Bruce Smith, Buffalo Bills; 1997 — DT Dana Stubblefield, San Francisco 49ers; 1998 — DE Reggie White, Green Bay Packers; 1999 — DT Warren Sapp, Tampa Bay Buccaneers; 2000 — LB Ray Lewis, Baltimore Ravens; 2001 — DE Michael Strahan, New York Giants; 2002 — LB Derrick Brooks, Tampa Bay Buccaneers; 2003 — LB Ray Lewis, Baltimore Ravens; 2004 — S Ed Reed, Baltimore Ravens; 2005 — LB Brian Urlacher, Chicago Bears; 2006 — DE Jason Taylor, Miami Dolphins; 2007 — S Bob Sanders, Indianapolis Colts; 2008 — LB James Harrison, Pittsburgh Steelers; 2009 — CB Charles Woodson, Green Bay Packers; 2010 — LB Clay Matthews, Green Bay Packers; 2011 — LB Terrell Suggs, Baltimore Ravens; 2012 — DE J.J. Watt, Houston Texans; 2013 — DE Robert Quinn, St. Louis Rams; 2014 — DE J.J. Watt, Houston Texans; 2015 — DE J.J. Watt, Houston Texans; 2016 — DE Khalil Mack, Oakland Raiders; 2017 — DE Calais Campbell, Jacksonville Jaguars; 2018 — DT Aaron Donald, Los Angeles Rams; 2019 — CB Stephon Gilmore, New England Patriots; 2020 — DT Aaron Donald, Los Angeles Rams; 2021 – LB T.J. Watt, Pittsburgh Steelers.

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