NOTE: CollegeFootballPoll.com's Dave Congrove is a voting member of the Bert Bell and Greasy Neale Awards.
Maxwell Football Club Director, Mark Wolpert, announced that Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson has been selected as the winner of the 61st Bert Bell Professional Player of the Year Award, and that the Ravens head coach John Harbaugh has been chosen as the winner of the 31st Greasy Neale Professional Coach of the Year Award.
In only his second NFL season, Jackson exploded into one of the league's most dangerous offensive weapons as he finished the regular season with 3,127 passing yards, and 36 touchdowns and added 1,206 yards rushing and 7 scores on the ground. He broke Michael Vick's mark for single-season rushing yards by a quarterback and his 36 passing touchdowns beat Vinny Testaverde's record for the most thrown in a season in Ravens history. Jackson became the first quarterback in league history to have 3,000 passing yards and 1,000 rushing yards in a season. In addition to his Bert Bell honor, Jackson was named to the Pro Bowl and also selected as a 1st team All-Pro by the Associated Press.
Jackson joins Hall of Fame RB Earl Campbell (1979), Philadelphia Eagles QB Carson Wentz (2017) and Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes as the only players to have won the Bert Bell Award in their second NFL season. Jackson also joined Peyton Manning, Cam Newton, Drew Brees, Earl Campbell, O.J. Simpson and Roger Staubach in a elite group that won the Maxwell Award as a college player and the Bert Bell as a professional.
In his 12th season as head coach Harbaugh led the Ravens to a 14-2 record and a AFC North Championship a No.1 seed in the AFC playoffs. Harbaugh crafted an offensive scheme perfectly suited for quarterback Lamar Jackson, an offense predicated on the run and an almost college-like option attack mixed with RPO. The Ravens finished the 2019 regular season with 3,296 rushing yards, the most rushing yards by any team in NFL history during a season. In an era where the passing game reigns supreme, Harbaugh weaponized the Ravens running attack and built it to fit his personnel. The 2019 Ravens became the first team in NFL history to average at least 200 passing yards and 200 rushing yards per game in the same season and outscored their opponents by 249 points which was the largest point differential in the league this season.
Harbaugh has led the Ravens to 128 wins (including playoffs) since his tenure began in 2008, the fourth-most wins in the NFL over that span, and has surpassed Brian Billick for the most wins by a head coach in Baltimore Ravens franchise history. In his twelve-year tenure as Ravens head coach, Harbaugh has led the Ravens to nine winning seasons and only one losing season. His 10 playoff wins are the second most by any head coach in the NFL since 2008. In addition to winning Super Bowl XLVII, Harbaugh has guided the Ravens to four AFC North division championships and three AFC Championship appearances.
Jackson and Harbaugh will be honored Friday, March 6, 2020 at the 83rd Maxwell Football Club National Awards Gala, which will be held at the Tropicana Casino & Resort in Atlantic City, NJ. Also receiving awards at this event will be Joe Burrow - LSU (Maxwell Award), Chase Young - Ohio State (Chuck Bednarik Award), Nathan Milne - Muhlenberg College (Andy Talley Regional Coach of the Year Award), Roland Rivers III - Slippery Rock University (Brian Westbrook Regional Player of the Year Award), Ed Orgeron - LSU (George Munger College Coach of the Year Award), Anthony Munoz - Cincinnati Bengals / NFL HOF (Tropicana Legends Award), and MFC/adidas National High School Players of the Year Bryce Young (Mater Dei HS - Alabama) and Bryan Bresee (Damascus HS - Clemson). The Club will be announcing additional winners of special awards later this month.