On the eve of the biggest game in the NFL football season, the National Football League pays homage to best players and coaches in the league with the annual NFL Honors.
Rob Riggle hosted the gala event from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis – the site of Super Bowl LII.
The first award for the night was for Defensive Player of the Year and went to Aaron Donald of the Los Angeles Rams.
And when it was announced that several members and former members of the United States military – including 12 Medal of Honour winners – were in attendance, the house gave them a standing ovation.
The USAA Salute to Service Award goes to a dependent of military personnel, this year that award went to Andre Roberts who holds football camps and visits veterans in the hospital.
The award for Offensive Rookie of the Year went to Alvin Kamara of New Orleans Saints
The Offensive Player of the Year Award went to Todd Gurly of the Los Angeles Rams.
Award winning actor Sterling K. Brown presented the inaugural NFL Game Changer of the Year Award to 14 year old female football player Sam Gordon. The first female to win an award of any kind on the NFL Honors stage, she started a girls football league in Utah. The league she started filled all of its spots on the first day.
In her acceptance speech Gordon said that equality was their Super Bowl; adding that Utah will be the first state to have female football teams.
Todd Gurly and Carson Wentz took home the FedEx Air and Ground Players of the Year.
The award for Defensive Rookie of the Year went to Marshon Lattimore of the New Orleans Saints.
The 2018 Class of the NFL Hall of Fame are:
and Ray Lewis
The Philadelphia Eagles Offensive Line won the Offensive Line of the Year Award.
The Art Rooney Sportsman of the Year Award went to Luke Kuechly of the Carolina Panthers. The players themselves vote for the winner of this award.
The Comeback Player of the Year Award went to Keenan Allen.
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees won the Clutch Play of the Year Award.
This year the NFL again allowed player to celebrate big plays and touchdowns. The Touchdown Celebration of the Year Award went to the Philadelphia Eagles for the Electric Slide.
The Bridgestone Performance Play of the Year went to the Minnesota Viking for their miraculous catch that is being called the Minneapolis Miracle. Vikings quarterback Case Keenaum accepted the award.
Houston Texans DeSean Watson won the Greatness on the Road Award.
The Coach of the Year Award went to Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay.
After the In Memorium segment, comedian Kevin Hart presented the Most Valuable Player of the Year Award to New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. This is Brady’s third MVP Award. He is the oldest player to ever receiver the award.
The final award for the night was for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award. Former Man of the Year Award winner Peyton Manning presented the award to Houston Texans defensive player J.J. Watt who raised millions of dollars when Hurricane Harvey destroyed the city of Houston. His fundraiser for hurricane relief topped the $30 million dollar mark after originally setting a goal of $200,000. Even a season ending leg injury did not stop Watt from helping to rebuild his city.
feature photo credit: By Austin Kirk – NFL Footballs, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=50398215