NFL

Mahomes, Hurts and Burrow among NFL MVP finalists

By Sports Desk January 25, 2023

Three of the four quarterbacks who have led their teams to their conference's championship game have been named finalists for the NFL's Most Valuable Player Award.

Kansas City Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes, Philadelphia Eagles' Jalen Hurts and Cincinnati Bengals' Joe Burrow are among the five finalists announced on Wednesday.

Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen and Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson were also tabbed as finalists.

Mahomes, the current betting favourite to win the honour for the second time in his career, Hurts and Jefferson are also finalists for Offensive Player of the Year along with Miami Dolphins wide receiver Tyreek Hill.

The 2018 NFL MVP led the league with 5,250 passing yards and 41 touchdown passes while helping the Chiefs to an AFC-best 14-3 record. Top-seeded Kansas City will host Burrow's Bengals in the conference title game on Sunday.

Hurts compiled 3,701 passing yards, 760 rushing yards and 35 total touchdowns to lead the Eagles to a 14-3 record and the NFC's No. 1 seed. Philadelphia will host a San Francisco 49ers team guided by quarterback Brock Purdy, one of three finalists for Offensive Rookie of the Year, in Sunday's conference championship.

Purdy, the final pick of the 2022 draft who has gone 7-0 since replacing an injured Jimmy Garoppolo, is joined by Seattle Seahawks running back Kenneth Walker and New York Jets wide receiver Garrett Wilson as finalists.

San Francisco's stout defence was also represented with end Nick Bosa one of three finalists for Defensive Player of the Year. Dallas Cowboys edge rusher Micah Parsons, the runner-up for the award last season, and Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones are also up for the honour.

49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan was also named a finalist for NFL Coach of the Year along with the New York Giants' Brian Daboll and Jacksonville Jaguars' Doug Pederson, both of whom directed their teams to playoff appearances in their first seasons.

San Francisco garnered two other award finalists in running back Christian McCaffrey and defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans. McCaffrey joins Giants running Saquon Barkley and Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith as candidates for Comeback Player of the Year, while Ryans is a finalist for Assistant Coach of the Year.

Eagles offensive coordinator Shane Steichen and Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson are the other Assistant Coach of the Year finalists.

The Defensive Rookie of the Year award will go to either Jets cornerback Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner, Lions defensive end Aidan Hutchinson or Seahawks corner Tariq Woolen.

All of this season's winners will be announced at the NFL Honors event in Phoenix on February 9, three days before Super Bowl LVII will be held at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizozna.

Voting was conducted before the start of the playoffs by a nationwide panel of 50 media members who regularly cover the league.

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    While all the matchups have been known since the conclusion of the 2023 regular season, and some games were revealed in the last few days, the league released the remainder of the schedule on Wednesday.

    The latest schedule update included the American Thanksgiving triple-header featuring the Chicago Bears visiting the Detroit Lions, followed by the New York Giants at the Dallas Cowboys and wrapping up with the Miami Dolphins travelling to Green Bay to face the Packers.

    The following day on Black Friday, the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs will host the Las Vegas Raiders.

    Earlier in the day, the NFL announced the five international games and the Christmas Day doubleheader.

    Christmas, which falls on a Wednesday, will see the Chiefs visiting the Pittsburgh Steelers, followed by the Houston Texans hosting the Baltimore Ravens.

    On Boxing Day, the Chicago Bears will host the Seattle Seahawks on Thursday Night Football.

    The Chiefs and Ravens will kick off the season in Kansas City on September 5 in a rematch of last season's AFC Championship Game.

    The following night, the NFL will play its first game in South America with the Philadelphia Eagles and Packers squaring off in São Paulo, Brazil.

    The first Sunday Night game of the season features the Detroit Lions hosting the Los Angeles Rams in a rematch of their thrilling wild-card game.

    The first Monday Night Football game will see Aaron Rodgers make his return after rupturing his Achilles tendon just four snaps into his Jets career with New York visiting the defending NFC champion San Francisco 49ers.

    Other Week 1 highlights include Russell Wilson appearing in his first game for the Steelers, as Pittsburgh visits the Atlanta Falcons, and No. 1 pick Caleb Williams making his NFL debut with the Chicago Bears hosting the Tennessee Titans.

    Other rookie quarterbacks likely to take the field in Week 1 include No. 2 pick Jayden Daniels and the Washington Commanders visiting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, No. 3 pick Drake Maye and the New England Patriots visiting the Cincinnati Bengals, and J.J. McCarthy, the 10th overall pick, of the Minnesota Vikings visiting the Giants.

    The Jim Harbaugh era in Los Angeles begins with the Chargers hosting the Raiders.

     

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    The Jacksonville Jaguars will take part in the other two games held in London, and could face a rookie quarterback in each. Jacksonville will host the Chicago Bears at Tottenham Stadium on Oct. 13 and will meet the New England Patriots at Wembley Stadium one week later on Oct. 20.

    Chicago selected 2022 Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams with the first overall pick in this year's draft, while the Patriots chose North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye with the third overall pick.

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    "We are delighted to announce these exciting matchups across London and Munich, in addition to the historic first game in São Paulo, Brazil, to complete the 2024 International Games slate," NFL executive vice president of club business, major events & international Peter O'Reilly said in a league press release. “As the league and its 32 teams continue to prioritise international growth, we look forward to building on the incredible fan experiences seen in Europe while taking the game to new fans in South America."

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    The contract makes Winfield the NFL’s highest-paid defensive back and the first safety to ever hold that distinction.

    Winfield’s contract includes $45m in guaranteed money. He had been scheduled to make about $17m next season under the franchise tag.

    Winfield’s agent David Mulugheta posted the news on social media with a screen capture of the moment he informed Winfield that the deal was done.

    "Couldn't be happier to make this call and let Antoine know he just made HISTORY! The first time that a safety is the highest-paid defensive back in the NFL," Mulugheta wrote.

    "In a year where the value of safeties has been questioned, the Buccaneer Organization, the Glazer Family and GM Jason Licht have stepped up and taken care of one of their most valuable family members.

    "Congratulations Antoine, you have accomplished something that has never been done before. You will forever be etched in history as the first. I appreciate your trust and cannot wait to see you back on the field."

    Winfield, 25, is the son of retired defensive back Antoine Winfield Sr. and was drafted by the Buccaneers in the second round in 2020.

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