The National Football League is the most prestigious professional football league in all of North America. It is one of the most followed professional sports leagues in the world and also one of the most valuable.
The NFL, like many other sports tournaments, has a variety of trophies and recognitions it gives to standout players and teams for their performances on and off the field. Asides from league honours, most of which are presented on a gala night before the Super Bowl, many other organizations in the US also present awards to players after the Super Bowl. As a result, the NFL has a wider scope of recognition, compared to other professional sports leagues in North America.
This article lists all the trophies and recognitions awarded in the NFL. Our focus will be on team and individual awards handed out based on field performance.
Vince Lombardi Trophy
This trophy is presented each year to the team that wins the Super Bowl, which is the NFL national championship game and one of the most watched finals games in the world. The first trophy was designed in 1967 and awarded to the Green Bay Packers.
In 1970, the award was named after the Packers’ legendary head coach Vince Lombardi who led the team to win Super Bowls I and II. The Pittsburgh Steelers and New England Patriots are tied for most Lombardi Trophies with six each. The Los Angeles Rams are the latest recipients of the Vincent Lombardi Trophy.
George Halas Trophy
This trophy is presented each year to the winner of the NFC championship game. The NFC finals game determines which NFC team represents the Conference at the Super Bowl.
The award was named in honour of Chicago Bears founder George Halas. Since 2002, the NFC has comprised 16 teams who compete for the George Halas trophy. The Cowboys have won the most NFC championships (8). LA are the current holders of the George Halas Trophy after seeing off the San Francisco 49ers to win their 5th title.
Lamar Hunt Trophy
This trophy is given each year to the winner of the AFC championship match, a game which determines the team to represent the AFC at the Super Bowl. The Trophy is named after Chiefs founder Lamar Hunt.
The New England Patriots are the franchise with the most Lamar Hunt Trophies. 2022 champions Cincinnati Bengals won the 3rd AFC title after seeing off the Kansas City Chiefs in a rather shocking fashion.
NFL Most Valuable Player Award (MVP)
The NFL MVP award is presented each year to the player voted as the most valuable in the entire league during the season in question. The Associated Press NFL MVP is the most renowned MVP award, although other organizations, like the Pro Football Writers and United Press International (UPI) have also selected MVPs over the years.
In 1957, Jim Brown became the first recipient of the maiden AP NFL MVP award. Hall of Famer Peyton Manning is the player with the most MVP honours in history (5). Aaron Rodgers is the latest recipient of the league MVP award and has won four in total.
NFL Offensive Player of the Year
This award is given to the player considered to have produced the best offensive performance during each NFL regular season. The award is voted by different press organizations, such as the AP and PFWA. Again, the AP award is the most widely recognized. Cooper Kupp is the current NFL Offensive Player of the Year.
NFL Defensive Player of the Year
The DPOY award is voted by various media selectors, such as the AP and PFWA. The Newspaper Enterprise Association was the originator and sole selector for this award, presenting it every year from 1966 to 1997.
Outside linebacker T.J Watt is the latest recipient of this award and became the 8th Steelers player to win a DPOY award. No other team has produced more DPOYs in league history.
NFL Rookie of the Year
This award is given each season to the top offensive and defensive freshmen in the league. It has been awarded by several organizations like the UPI. The UPI recognized the best rookies in both the National and American Football Conferences.
The AP has handed offensive and defensive Rookie of the Year Awards every year since 1957 and 1966, respectively. Pepsi has been awarded an all-around Rookie of the Year honour since 2002. The Pepsi and AP awards are the widely recognized selections.
Bengals wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase was named the Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year and the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year last season, while Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons took home the AP DROY award.
NFL Comeback Player of the Year
This award is given to the player deemed to have had a stellar season after overcoming adversity, such as injury, poor performance, or not playing in the NFL the previous year. The award has been presented by the AP, PFW, Sporting News, and UPI. Cincinnati quarterback Joe Burrow took home the AP award for last season.
The Pete Rozelle Trophy (Super Bowl MVP Award)
This trophy is presented to the most valuable player of the championship game between the AFC and NFC champions. The winner of this award is determined by a fan poll and a committee of football writers and pundits who vote at the end of the game. Fan votes were added in 2001 and make up 20% of the total count while the media votes make up 80%.
The award was named after former NFL commissioner, Pete Rozelle, and has been given since Super Bowl I in 1967 and has been presented by the NFL since 1990. Tampa Bay Buccaneers superstar quarterback Tom Brady has won the most Super Bowl MVPs in history. He won four with the Patriots and one with the Buccs. Rams quarterback Cooper Kupp won the Super Bowl LVI MVP in February.
The Baltimore Ravens are the favourites to win Super Bowl LVII. Find out the latest NFL lines and player props on FanDuel.
NFL Coach of the Year
This trophy is handed out by several organizations, such as the AP, UPI, and PWA. The AP first presented its award in 1957, but considerations initially didn’t include coaches in the AFL. Former Detroit Lions head coach George Wilson was the first to receive the AP Coach of the Year Award after finishing the season with an 8-4 record.
Former Baltimore Colt/Ravens and Miami Dolphins head coach Don Shula has won it a record four times. Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel was voted the 2021 NFL Coach of the Year by the AP after finishing the season 12-5.
The AP has also presented an award for the best assistant coach in the league since 2014.
NFL Pro Bowl
The NFL Pro Bowl is the league’s all-star match between outstanding players of the AFC and NFC. Players are voted into the Pro Bowl each season by the coaches, players, and fans.
The first of its kind was played in January 1951. Until 2010, the NFL Pro Bowl was held the weekend before the Super Bowl. However, the all-star match is now being played the Sunday before the Super Bowl. As a result, players on Super Bowl teams that year are not eligible to take part.
Tom Brady holds the record for most Pro Bowl invitations (15).
This is an honour given to the best player in each field position at the end of every season. Various press organizations select an All-Pro roster comprising 22 players, each representing an offensive or defensive position on the field, and additional selections for special teams.
All-Pro selections by the AP and PFWA are the most renowned selections today.
PFWA All-Rookie Selections
This is the All-Pro selections for rookies. It is an honour given to the best rookies in each field position every season. The PFWA is in charge of selecting players for the all-rookie team and has been doing so since the 1974 NFL season.