ATLANTA (AP) -- Patrick Mahomes’ breathtaking breakthrough season earned him the NFL’s Most Valuable Player award.
The Chiefs quarterback landed a pair of honors at NFL Honors on Saturday night, taking The Associated Press 2018 MVP and Offensive Player of the Year awards. In his second pro season, Mahomes led Kansas City to its first AFC title game since 1993 with some of the most creative and clutch plays the league has seen in years.
“I’m so humbled,” he said. “This is just the beginning. We’ve got a long ways to go.”
Mahomes received 41 votes from a nationwide panel of media members who regularly cover the league. New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees got the other nine.
With only one previous start, Mahomes entered the season as something of a curiosity in Kansas City after the Chiefs traded veteran Alex Smith to open up the job. It didn’t take long to erase any doubts as Mahomes led the Chiefs to their first AFC title game since the 1993 season, throwing for 50 touchdowns, 5,097 yards and had a 113.8 QB rating, trailing only Brees.
Mahomes’ ingenuity — the guy can throw from all angles and make plays inside and outside the pocket — energized the Chiefs’ fan base and excited fans across the league.
“The play is never dead. He can find new ways to get you the ball,” Chiefs All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce said. “It may look like a screwball, a slider here or there, but it’ll get to you eventually.”
Mahomes is the sixth straight quarterback and 11th of the past 12 years to win MVP. No Kansas City player had won the award since the Chiefs joined the NFL in 1970.
Earlier, he was selected as the top offensive player, beating Brees 30 votes to 16.
Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald, who will play in Sunday’s Super Bowl against New England, took his second straight Defensive Player of the Year award.
Chicago’s Matt Nagy, in his first season with the Bears, was voted Coach of the Year.
Colts quarterback Andrew Luck was chosen the Comeback Player of the Year, following a lost 2017 season to a shoulder injury with a sensational 2018 campaign.
Giants running back Saquon Barkley was the top offensive rookie, while the defensive rookie award went to Indianapolis linebacker Darius Leonard.
For his work as defensive coordinator of the Chicago Bears, Vic Fangio got the head coaching gig in Denver. He also won The Associated Press 2018 NFL Assistant Coach of the Year Award on Saturday.