Mangini led the Jets to a 10-6 record in his first season as head coach
The NFL 101 Awards – the nation's only awards event dedicated exclusively to the National Football League – announced the six individual recipients for the 2006 season at a news conference today in Kansas City.
The AFC Coach of the Year is the NFL's youngest head coach, Eric Mangini of the New York Jets. The New Orleans Saints captured two of the awards – Sean Payton as NFC Coach of the Year and quarterback Drew Brees as NFC Offensive Player of the Year. NFL Most Valuable Player LaDainian Tomlinson of the San Diego Chargers was voted the AFC Offensive Player of the Year. Both defensive award winners are repeat honorees – Miami Dolphins defensive end Jason Taylor, who won the same AFC Defensive Player of the Year award in 2001, and Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher, who won the NFC award for the second straight season.
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.
The six recipients will be presented with trophies at the 37th Annual NFL 101 Awards gala, presented by Legacy Investment Partners. The prestigious, multi-media awards show is scheduled for Saturday, March 3, 2007 at the Westin Crown Center Hotel in Kansas City. The black-tie event was founded in 1969 and has evolved into what many sports insiders consider the finest awards event of its kind.
"This civic Salute to Professional Football is a wonderful tradition that brings the best players and coaches in the NFL each year to Kansas City for a first-class celebration of football," said Bill Nelson, Chairman of the Committee of 101. "Having reached its 37th year, the event certainly has become a significant off-season event for the NFL. We congratulate the six award winners for the 2006 season and look forward to paying tribute to their outstanding achievements."
In addition to the six national winners, the awards dinner will recognize several Chiefs players: the 2006 Derrick Thomas MVP recipient, running back Larry Johnson, the Mack Lee Hill Award winner, rookie defensive end Tamba Hali, and a special recognition to center Casey Wiegmann. The Chiefs will also induct the 37th member into the team's Hall of Fame.
A limited number of tickets at $165 are available for this year's event. Ticket and sponsorship inquiries should be directed to Erik Miner at (913) 681-6990. The 101 Awards are sponsored by the Committee of 101 and serves as a benefit for the Chiefs Children's Fund, a 501(c)3 Foundation that distributes funds to various children's charities throughout the Kansas City area.
ABOUT THE 2006 NFL AWARD WINNERS
AFC OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
LaDainian Tomlinson; Running Back; San Diego Chargers
Put together one of the most productive offensive seasons by a running back in NFL history, leading the league in rushing with 1,815 yards and set the all-time NFL record for touchdowns with 31.
Also threw two touchdown passes and made 56 receptions for 506 yards.
Led San Diego to NFL-best 14-2 regular season record and AFC West title.
NFC OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Drew Brees; Quarterback; New Orleans Saints
Led the NFL with a team-record 4,418 passing yards.
Threw for over 300 passing yards in eight games during the season.
Signed with the Saints as an unrestricted free agent in 2006 after five years in San Diego and became the key figure in Sean Payton's new offense.
AFC DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Jason Taylor; Defensive End; Miami Dolphins
Defensive statistics were remarkable: 62 tackles, 13 1/2 sacks, 10 forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, two interceptions - both returned for touchdowns - 11 passes defended and 14 quarterback hurries.
Voted the Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year.
NFC DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Brian Urlacher; Linebacker; Chicago Bears
Leader of the ferocious Bears defense that has powered the team to the NFC Championship Game.
Voted to his sixth Pro Bowl and second consecutive Defensive Player of the Year
Is just fifth player in NFL history to win Defensive Rookie of the Year and later Defensive Player of the Year, joining Joe Greene, Jack Lambert, Lawrence Taylor and Dana Stubblefield.
AFC COACH OF THE YEAR
Eric Mangini; New York Jets
Youngest head coach in the NFL who led the Jets to a 10-6 record and Wild Card Playoff spot in his first season.
Won 5 of the last 6 games, including the final 3, to make the playoffs
Orchestrated a six-game turnaround from previous 4-12 Jets team.
NFC COACH OF THE YEAR
Sean Payton; New Orleans Saints
First-year head coach who energized a franchise and a city by leading New Orleans to the NFC South Championship with a 10-6 record.
Coached the Saints to the first NFC Championship Game appearance in franchise history after taking over a 3-13 team.
Was named the Associated Press NFL Coach of the Year.