Maxwell Football Club Director, Mark Wolpert, announced that Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has been selected as the winner of the 62nd Bert Bell Professional Player of the Year Award, and that Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians has been chosen as the winner of the 32nd Greasy Neale Professional Coach of the Year Award.
CollegeFootballPoll.com's Dave Congrove is a voter of both awards
Rodgers set personal bests as well as franchise records in both TD passes (48) and completion percentage (70.7). He also led the league in passer rating (121.5) and interception percentage (1.0), becoming the first QB to lead the NFL in all four of those categories in the same season since Steve Young in 1994. The 121.5 passer rating fell just short of his NFL record from 2011, but he now holds the top two single-season marks in league history. For the second straight year, Rodgers led the Packers to a 13-3 record – this time earning the NFC's No. 1 seed – and another appearance in the NFC Championship Game. His passer rating was 107 or better in 14 of 16 games, and 120 or more 10 of those times.
Rodgers, who also won the Bert Bell in 2011, joins a very select group of players who have won the award multiple times. This group includes Peyton Manning (2003-2004-2013), Rich Gannon (2000-2002), Brett Favre (1995-1996), Steve Young (1992-1994), Randall Cunningham (1988-1990-1998) and Johnny Unitas (1959-1964-1967).
In his 2nd season as Tampa Bay head coach Arians led the Buccaneers to an 11-5 regular season and their first playoff berth since 2007. Tampa advanced through the playoffs to reach and win Super Bowl LV, the first wild card team and first team only having one Pro Bowler to do so since the 2010 Packers and 2007 Giants respectively. They joined the 1985 Patriots, 2005 Steelers, 2007 Giants, and 2010 Packers as the only NFL teams to win three straight playoff games on the road, defeating three Super Bowl MVP quarterbacks Drew Brees (XLIV), Aaron Rodgers (XLV), and Patrick Mahomes (LIV) along the way. Under Arians the team set a new high for most points scored (492) and most total touchdowns (59) in a season.
Arians becomes a 3x winner of the Greasy Neale Award having previously been honored in 2012 (Indianapolis Colts) and in 2014 (Arizona Cardinals). He joins Tony Dungy (1997-2005), Dick Vermeil (1999-2003), Sean Payton (2006-2009) and Andy Reid (2000-2002-2010-2018).
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic the Maxwell Football Club will not host an awards gala in 2021. Award presentations for Rodgers and Arians will be conducted later in the year when restrictions are eased.