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Top Coaches and Players from AFC and NFC Selected in Nationwide Media Balloting as Winners of NFL 10

January 13, 2011

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KANSAS CITY, MO (January 13, 2011) – Two coaches who have directed major team turnarounds will be joined by two extraordinary quarterbacks and two defensive standouts as the 2010 winners of the annual NFL 101 Awards – the nation’s only awards event dedicated exclusively to professional football.

The 2010 season award winners will be presented with trophies at the 41st Annual NFL 101 Awards gala in Kansas City Saturday, March 5, 2011, 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.

After finishing 4-12 with the Kansas City Chiefs in his first season as head coach, Todd Haley guided Kansas City to a 10-6 regular-season record in 2010 and is the AFC Coach of the Year. The six-game turnaround marked the largest in franchise history. Haley’s team, powered by the NFL’s top-ranked rushing game, won the AFC West division title and made its first playoff appearance since 2006. Mike Smith was selected as NFC Coach of the Year leading the Atlanta Falcons to 13-3 record, the NFC West crown and top seed in the playoffs. Smith was a 101 winner in 2008 after leading the Falcons to one of the biggest turnarounds in NFL history in his first year as head coach. Atlanta placed seven players on the Pro Bowl roster this season.

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is the AFC Offensive Player of the Year and Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick is the NFC Offensive Player of the Year.  This marks the second time Brady has received the award and is Vick’s first such recognition.  Brady led the league in passing this season and broke his own record for touchdowns-to-interceptions ratio. Vick is just the second player in NFL history to finish a season with at least 3,000 yards passing, 500 yards rushing and a quarterback rating of 100.0.

Clay Matthews, linebacker for the Green Bay Packers, is the NFC Defensive Player of the Year, while safety Troy Polamalu of the Pittsburgh Steelers is the AFC Defensive Player of the Year. Matthews tied for fourth in the NFL with 13.5 sacks and led a defense that finished fifth in total yards allowed per game. Polamalu spearheaded a defense ranked first in the NFL in rushing yards allowed per game. Despite missing significant time with an injury, Polamalu tied for second in the league with seven interceptions.

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 fourth recipient of the Lamar Hunt Award for Professional Football, created in 2007 to honor the life and legacy of the founder of the Kansas City Chiefs.  Given in recognition of visionary leadership that has helped the NFL become the preeminent pro sports league in America, this year’s award winner is NFL Films. Founded in 1962 by Ed Sabol and then guided for many years by his son, Steve, NFL Films has revolutionized sports cinematography and been a major factor in the soaring popularity of professional football over the last five decades.  NFL Films has filmed, produced and sold some of the league’s most inventive and unique programming, winning 97 Emmys along the way.

“The Lamar Hunt Award for Professional Football has special meaning to all of us at NFL Films because, just like Lamar Hunt with the AFL and the Chiefs, NFL Films began with one man’s vision – Ed Sabol’s,” said Steve Sabol, who will accept the award on behalf of NFL Films at the 101 Awards gala. “We are flattered and honored to be recognized for our contributions to the game of football, especially because of the name on the award.”

The awards show hosts for the evening will be NFL Network sportscaster Paul Burmeister and CBS football analyst Rich Gannon, a former NFL Most Valuable Player and two-time 101 Award winner.

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