NEW YORK – The Associated Press NFL Awards for the 2010 season will be announced on NFL Network during Super Bowl week, culminating with the Most Valuable Player award on game day, Sunday, Feb. 6.
It is the first time the awards will be showcased on a national network. Each one will be distributed by the AP as it is simultaneously announced on TV.
The winners were selected by a 50-member panel of the media covering the league.
The honors start with AP Comeback Player of the Year on Monday, Jan. 31, followed by:
— Offensive Player of the Year, Tuesday, Feb. 1;
— Coach of the Year, Wednesday, Feb. 2;
— Offensive and Defensive Rookie of the Year, Friday, Feb. 4;
— Defensive Player of the Year, Saturday, Feb. 5.
The awards will air all week on NFL Total Access at the Super Bowl, which begins at 7 p.m. EST. The MVP will be announced on NFL GameDay Morning at the Super Bowl pre-game show, which starts at 9 a.m. EST.
"We're elated to announce AP's annual pro football honors on the NFL Network in the run up to the Super Bowl," said Lou Ferrara, AP's vice president and managing editor for sports. "This will provide a showcase for the awards after years of building a strong and credible voting system for picking the winners."
The MVP award dates to 1961, when Green Bay's Paul Hornung won. The NFC champion Packers have prime contenders for the honor this year in linebacker Clay Matthews and quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
A quarterback has been voted MVP in each of the last three seasons: the Indianapolis Colts' Peyton Manning twice — he holds the overall record with four MVPs — and the New England Patriots' Tom Brady once.
Brady also is considered a front-runner this year, along with Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick, Houston Texans running back Arian Foster, Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Roddy White, and two Chicago Bears, defensive end Julius Peppers and linebacker Brian Urlacher.
Brady, Vick, White and Foster figure to be major contenders for top offensive player. Likely candidates for the defensive award include Matthews, Peppers, Urlacher, safety Troy Polamalu and linebacker James Harrison of the AFC champion Pittsburgh Steelers, and Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed and defensive tackle Haloti Ngata.
St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford, Tampa Bay Buccaneers receiver Mike Williams and running back LeGarrette Blount, and Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey are among the front-runners for the offensive rookie honor. On defense, the top rookies could include Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndahmukong Suh, Patriots cornerback Devin McCourty and Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden.
Coach of the Year is expected to be wide open. Past winners in contention include the Bears' Lovie Smith, the Falcons' Mike Smith, the Patriots' Bill Belichick and the Eagles' Andy Reid.
Comeback player choices likely will range from Vick to Urlacher to Peppers to Patriots receive Wes Welker, Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora, and Seahawks receiver Mike Williams.