*PATRIOTS, PACKERS DOMINATE SELECTIONS FOR NFL 101 AWARDS RECOGNIZING TOP PLAYERS & COACHES OF 2007
Inaugural Lamar Hunt Award for Professional Football to be Presented to Living Members of "The Foolish Club" - the Visionary Group that Launched the American Football League*
(Kansas City, MO) - Six high-achieving players and coaches who made the 2007 National Football League season one of the most memorable in years were announced today as winners of the annual NFL 101 Awards - the nation's only awards event dedicated exclusively to professional football.
The group of honorees is headlined by the New England Patriots and Green Bay Packers, both of which landed their head coach and quarterback on the list of honorees. Bill Belichick earned AFC Coach of the Year and record-setting QB Tom Brady was selected as AFC Offensive Player of the Year. Similarly, Mike McCarthy was voted as NFC Coach of the Year and his legendary QB Brett Favre was chosen as NFC Offensive Player of the Year. The Defensive Players of the Year are safety Bob Sanders of the Indianapolis Colts for the AFC and defensive end Patrick Kerney of the Seattle Seahawks for the NFC.
A national media committee, comprised of 101 sportswriters and broadcasters who cover the NFL, selected the winners in each award category in a nationwide vote at the conclusion of the regular season.
In addition to these award winners, the Committee of 101 announced the recipient of the inaugural Lamar Hunt Award for Professional Football, a new award created to honor the life and legacy of the late owner of the Kansas City Chiefs. Given in recognition of visionary leadership that has helped the NFL become the preeminent pro sports league in America, the first ever award will go to the group of original American Football League pioneers known as "The Foolish Club."
The three living members of that group - Bud Adams, Ralph Wilson and Barron Hilton - will be present to accept the honor at this year's awards dinner. Regarded as the founder of the AFL, Hunt's work in assembling that group of original owners and launching a new league to rival the NFL, which later led to a merger, was considered one of his greatest contributions to the game of professional football.
All of the award winners will be presented with trophies at the 38th Annual NFL 101 Awards gala in Kansas City on Saturday, March 8, 2008 at the Westin Crown Center. The prestigious black-tie awards event was founded in 1969 and has evolved into what many sports insiders consider the finest awards event of its kind.
"The 101 Awards dinner has hosted many of the greatest players and coaches in the history of professional football during the event's 38-year history," said Bill Nelson, Chairman of the Committee of 101. "This year's group of individual honorees certainly ranks among the most impressive classes ever assembled. The collective achievements by these men are extraordinary."
In addition to the national winners, the awards dinner will recognize two Chiefs players: the 2007 Derrick Thomas MVP recipient, defensive end Jared Allen, and the Mack Lee Hill Award winner, rookie receiver Dwayne Bowe.
A limited number of tickets at $165 are available for this year's event. Ticket and sponsorship inquiries should be directed to Erik Miner at (913) 681-6990. The 101 Awards are sponsored by the Committee of 101 and serves as a benefit for the Chiefs Children's Fund, a 501(c)3 Foundation that distributes funds to various children's charities throughout the Kansas City area.
ABOUT THE 2007 NFL AWARD WINNERS
AFC OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Tom Brady - Quarterback, New England Patriots
-Named the NFL MVP after unparalleled season that included an all-time record 50 touchdown passes and throwing only 8 interceptions.
-Compiled 2nd highest QB Rating in NFL history with 117.2 while throwing for 4,806 yards.
-Led Patriots to team's fourth Super Bowl in seven years; he's already the only quarterback in NFL history to start and win three Super Bowls before his 28th birthday.
-Led team to the NFL's first undefeated season since the 1972 Miami Dolphins.
NFC OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Brett Favre - Quarterback, Green Bay Packers
-Became the NFL's all-time leader in touchdown passes (442), completions (5,377), attempts (8,759) and wins (162).
-Finished regular season with an NFL record 253 consecutive starts.
-First player to ever win 3 MVP awards and he did it in consecutive years.
-Led Packers to NFC North Division Championship and an appearance in the NFC Championship game.
AFC DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Bob Sanders - Safety, Indianapolis Colts
-Is the heart and soul of a Colts defense that helped Indy to a 13-3 season and another AFC South Division title.
-Named the 2007 NFL Defensive Player Of The Year by Associated Press.
-Recorded 132 tackles (74 solo), 2 interceptions, 6 deflections and 3.5 quarterback sacks.
-Elected to second Pro Bowl in his career.
NFC DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Patrick Kerney - Defensive End, Seattle Seahawks
-Led the NFC with 14.5 sacks and 5 forced fumbles in his first season with Seahawks.
-Joined Seahawks after 8 seasons with Falcons and helped lead Seattle into the playoffs as the NFC Western Division champs.
-In addition to his sack totals, he posted 60 tackles (49 solo), one interception and two pass deflections.
AFC COACH OF THE YEAR
Bill Belichick - Head Coach, New England Patriots
-Led New England to an unprecedented NFL season that resulted with his 5th Super Bowl appearance and the league's first undefeated team since the 1972 Miami Dolphins.
-Only head coach in NFL history to win 3 Super Bowls in a 4 year span.
-In 8 seasons as New England's head coach, his Pats have won 4 conference titles, 6 division crowns, 14 playoff victories and 3 Super Bowl championships.
-2007 AP Coach of the Year.
NFC COACH OF THE YEAR
Mike McCarthy - Head Coach, Green Bay Packers
-Engineered remarkable return to prominence for Packers franchise in 2007, compiling 13-3 regular season record, capturing the NFC North Title, a playoff victory over Seattle and berth in NFC Championship Game (losing in overtime to NY Giants).
-Took over a 4-12 Packers team two years ago and led them to 8-8 as rookie coach last year and then to 13-3 this year.
-Kansas City connection includes time as assistant coach for Chiefs and recently being inducted into Baker University Athletic Hall of Fame; he was an all-conference tight end at Baker, helping the school to NAIA Division II runner-up finish as a senior captain.