Eagles

Falcons' Matt Ryan wins MVP; Cowboys' Dak Prescott Rookie of the Year

Falcons' Matt Ryan wins MVP; Cowboys' Dak Prescott Rookie of the Year

HOUSTON -- Matt Ryan and the Dallas Cowboys were big winners Saturday night.

The Atlanta Falcons quarterback was voted The Associated Press 2016 NFL's Most Valuable Player and top offensive player. Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott took Offensive Rookie of the Year and Jason Garrett was selected Coach of the Year by a nationwide panel of 50 media members who regularly cover the league.

On the eve of the Super Bowl in which he will face off with two-time league MVP Tom Brady, who finished second in this year's balloting, Ryan easily outdistanced Brady 25-10 for MVP. He beat Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers 15 to 11 for Offensive Player of the Year.

Ryan, of course, was not on hand at the "NFL Honors" TV show. But in a taped acceptance speech, he said:

"I just want to say thank you. This is an incredible honor for me. Obviously, there are so many other great candidates and players who had amazing seasons.

"I want to thank all my teammates. Obviously, without them, none of this is possible. We've had so many guys on our team make great plays and have great seasons for us, so thank you to those guys."

Garrett drew 25 votes for best coach, beating out New England's Bill Belichick (14).

"This is an extension of our football team and I really accept it on their behalf," said Garrett, who took over as Dallas coach in 2010. "I coach with some really great guys and I'm really fortunate to coach with so many great players that go about it the right way, and it's really just an extension of that. It's a team award."

Prescott, in a two-man race with his running back, Ezekiel Elliott, won 28 to 21. The QB brought the RB onstage to share in his special moment.

"He deserves it just as much as I do from his yards, his catches," Prescott said. "The way we handled things in the backfield is always together."

Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, apparently headed to San Francisco after the Super Bowl to be head coach of the 49ers, took the assistant coaching award.

Packers receiver Jordy Nelson , returning from a devastating knee injury, was selected Comeback Player of the Year.

Oakland edge rusher Khalil Mack slipped past 2016 Super Bowl MVP linebacker Von Miller for Defensive Player of the Year, 18-17.

San Diego lineman Joey Bosa won top defensive rookie honors in a landslide.

"I don't really set goals like this for myself very often, awards," said Bosa, who missed the first four games after a holdout. "But I definitely wanted this one. I'm really happy I got it done."

Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald and Giants quarterback Eli Manning shared the Walter Payton Man of the Year award.

"Quite simply this is the most meaningful honor an NFL player can receive, and I am flattered beyond words that the selection committee deemed me worthy of it," Fitzgerald said. "More than anything it is a reflection on my parents whose words and example taught my brother and me the value of service and the importance of giving back."

Manning called it "an honor to be mentioned in the same breath with Walter Payton."

"None of us do what we do on behalf of charity or in our communities to get recognized," Manning added. "We do it because we truly care. You want to make a difference in people's lives and in our communities. But to be recognized and know that people do notice your work is nice."

Is it believable when Eagles call themselves underdogs?

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Twitter/@RealDGunnNBCS

Is it believable when Eagles call themselves underdogs?

On the latest edition of Eagle Eye, a Philadelphia Eagles podcast, Derrick Gunn and Barrett Brooks share stories from their fishing trip over the weekend. Is it believable when the Eagles keep calling themselves underdogs? How OTAs are different today compared to when Barrett played. Also, Johnny Manziel is playing football again. Will we ever see him back in the NFL?

Also, how Barrett won an Emmy working on Hard Knocks.

1:00 - Gunner and Barrett's weekend fishing trip.
5:00 - Guys caught a hot streak fishing.
6:30 - What is Gunner's family like?
10:30 - Do you believe it when the Eagles use an underdog mindset?
14:30 - Difference between OTA's today compared to when Barrett played.
17:00 - Barrett won an Emmy working on Hard Knocks
21:00 - Guys think the Browns (yes those Browns) will be competitive this season.
25:30 - Johnny Manziel is back in football.

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Zach Ertz is only other player to leave field with Jason Witten's jersey

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USA Today Images

Zach Ertz is only other player to leave field with Jason Witten's jersey

For a long time, Zach Ertz has always said that he’s emulated future Hall of Famer Jason Witten. Ertz loved the way he played and the way he handled himself on and off the field. 

Turns out it’s mutual. 

Because after Ertz went on social media to say goodbye to Witten after the longtime Dallas Cowboy retired recently, Witten returned the favor and praised Ertz. 

That’s pretty crazy. Witten played 15 years, a total of 247 games including the playoffs. And, according to him, the only other person to ever leave the field with his jersey is Ertz. It's become commonplace for players in the league to trade jerseys after games. During an NFL season, a peek into someone's locker will reveal a few jerseys of different colors. Witten's was probably be in demand, but Ertz is the only player to ever get one. 

It’s clear that Ertz gained Witten’s respect and Witten has probably heard the praise from Ertz before. He heard it again when Ertz tweeted earlier in May. 

“First off, I want to say congratulations to someone that had a profound impact on my career, by just being the man he is!” Ertz wrote. “At 17 years old when I was trying to figure out what a tight end meant and what they embodies I started following the tight end for the Cowboys. Everything he did on the field and off, I tried to emulate.” 

Oddly enough, this season Ertz made his first Pro Bowl, but couldn’t go because the Eagles were in the Super Bowl. Guess who took his place? Yup, Witten. 

Earlier this spring, Ertz said it’s strange to think that other tight ends are now growing up and trying to emulate him. He’s just trying to set as good an example as Witten did.