Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan, who led the top-scoring offense in the NFL with franchise records in passing yards (4,944) and touchdowns (38), was selected as the 2016 NFL Most Valuable Player and Offensive Player of the Year, chosen in voting conducted by the Professional Football Writers of America (PFWA).
Oakland Raiders defensive end Khalil Mack, who had a sack in an NFL record-tying eight consecutive games and 11 sacks overall, was named the 2016 Defensive Player of the Year.
Ryan, in his ninth NFL season, is the 43rd MVP honored by the PFWA. He is the first Atlanta Falcons player to earn the honor and the fourth consecutive quarterback to be selected MVP.
Ryan started all 16 games in 2016, and completed 534 of 373 passes (69.9 completion percentage; third in the NFL) for 4,944 yards, 38 touchdowns, only seven interceptions and a 117.1 passer rating as the Falcons won the NFC South and gained the NFC’s No. 2 seed with an 11-5 record behind a club-record 540 points scored. He set franchise records in passing yards, touchdowns, completion percentage and passer rating. Ryan’s 117.1 rating was the fifth-highest in a season in NFL history. He had a passer rating of 100 or better in 12 games, tying Patriots QB Tom Brady and former 49ers QB Steve Young for the most 100-plus rating games in a single season in NFL history. He led the NFL with 9.3 yards per pass attempt, the highest mark since the St. Louis Rams’ Kurt Warner in 2000 and the best for any quarterback attempting 500 or more passes, and he also led the league with 13.3 yards per completion.
Ryan set an NFL record by completing touchdown passes to 13 different receivers, 15 receivers caught at least one pass from him and he had 12 multi-TD pass games. He was selected as the NFC Player of the Month for September, NFC Offensive Player of the Week twice (Weeks 9 and 17) and was selected to the PFWA’s 2016 All-NFL and All-NFC teams.
Mack, in his third season, had 77 total tackles (56 solo) and 11 sacks for 75 yards. He also had one interception, four passes defensed, five forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. During his eight-game sack streak, he had three straight games with a sack/fumble. He was the first player since 2009 to record an interception, sack, forced fumble, fumble recovery and a touchdown in a single game as he accomplished the feat against Carolina at home for Week 12 AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors. He also earned AFC Defensive Player of the Week for Week 9, AFC Defensive Player of the Month for November and was selected to the PFWA’s 2016 All-NFL and All-AFC teams.
Mack is the first Raiders player to earn the PFWA’s Defensive Player of the Year honor since it was first awarded in 1992.
2016 MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: QB Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons
2016 OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: QB Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons
2016 DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: DE Khalil Mack, Oakland Raiders
PFWA NFL MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: 1966 – Bart Starr, Green Bay Packers; 1967-74 – no selections; 1975 – QB Fran Tarkenton, Minnesota Vikings; 1976 – QB Bert Jones, Baltimore Colts; 1977 – RB Walter Payton, Chicago Bears; 1978 – RB Earl Campbell, Houston Oilers; 1979 – RB Earl Campbell, Houston Oilers; 1980 – QB Brian Sipe, Cleveland Browns; 1981 – QB Ken Anderson, Cincinnati Bengals; 1982 – QB Dan Fouts, San Diego Chargers; 1983 – QB Joe Theismann, Washington Redskins; 1984 – QB Dan Marino, Miami Dolphins; 1985 – RB Marcus Allen, Los Angeles Raiders; 1986 – LB Lawrence Taylor, New York Giants; 1987 – WR Jerry Rice, San Francisco 49ers; 1988 – QB Boomer Esiason, Cincinnati Bengals; 1989 – QB Joe Montana, San Francisco 49ers; 1990 – QB Randall Cunningham, Philadelphia Eagles; 1991 – RB Thurman Thomas, Buffalo Bills; 1992 – QB Steve Young, San Francisco 49ers; 1993 – RB Emmitt Smith, Dallas Cowboys; 1994 – QB Steve Young, San Francisco 49ers; 1995 – QB Brett Favre, Green Bay Packers; 1996 – QB Brett Favre, Green Bay Packers; 1997 – RB Barry Sanders, Detroit Lions; 1998 – RB Terrell Davis, Denver Broncos; 1999 – QB Kurt Warner, St. Louis Rams; 2000 – RB Marshall Faulk, St. Louis Rams; 2001 – RB Marshall Faulk, St. Louis Rams; 2002 – QB Rich Gannon, Oakland Raiders; 2003 – RB Jamal Lewis, Baltimore Ravens; 2004 – QB Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts; 2005 – RB Shaun Alexander, Seattle Seahawks; 2006 – RB LaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego Chargers; 2007 – QB Tom Brady, New England Patriots; 2008 – QB Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts; 2009 – QB Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts; 2010 – QB Tom Brady, New England Patriots; 2011 – QB Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers; 2012 – RB Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings; 2013 – QB Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos; 2014 – QB Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers; 2015 – QB Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers; 2016 – QB Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons.
ABOUT THE PFWA: The Professional Football Writers of America (PFWA) is the official voice of pro football writers, promoting and fighting for access to NFL personnel to best serve the public. The PFWA is made up of accredited writers who cover the NFL and the 32 teams daily. Jeff Legwold, who covers the Denver Broncos for ESPN.com, is the organization’s president for 2015-17, while Bleacher Report national columnist Dan Pompei is the PFWA’s first vice-president and ESPN’s Jim Trotter is the organization’s second vice-president. Follow the PFWA at ProFootballWriters.org and on Twitter at @PFWAwriters.