On the eve of his first Super Bowl appearance, Panthers quarterback Cam Newton received his first MVP award, collecting 48 of the 50 votes by media members. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer each received one vote.
Despite losing no. 1 receiver Kelvin Benjamin to a torn ACL in the preseason, Newton helped carry Carolina to a 15-1 record. He finished with a career-high 35 passing touchdowns, a career-low 10 interceptions, and 3,837 passing yards — the fewest by an MVP quarterback since Steve Young in 1992. Like Young, Newton created additional value on the ground, adding 636 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns.
Newton, who had not received an MVP vote before this season, was also named the league’s Offensive Player of the Year. Texans defensive lineman J.J. Watt received his third career Defensive Player of the Year award after a 17.5-sack season.
As reported by ProFootballTalk’s Michael David Smith, The Boston Herald’s Ron Borges voted for Palmer and NBC’s Fred Gaudelli voted for Brady. Several Associated Press voters revealed their vote for Newton during the NFL Honors show.