Normally, the occasion on the eve of the Super Bowl — a two-hour prime-time awards particular by which the league and the Associated Press identify their annual award winners and the Pro Football Hall of Fame class is introduced — is a crimson carpet affair stuffed with a number of of the league’s greatest stars dressed to the nines with and followers cheering exterior the venue as they’d arrive.

Instead, NFL Honors this yr was produced prematurely, airing on CBS on Saturday. Here are some of the highlights:

Notable award winners included Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who gained the Associated Press NFL MVP award for the third time in his profession.

Rodgers profitable this award wasn’t shocking. The shock, nonetheless, got here as he low-key introduced in his acceptance speech that he received engaged.

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But to who? He did not reveal.

“It’s an honor to win this award for the third time,” Rodgers mentioned on the CBS broadcast. “2020 was definitely a crazy year filled with lots of change, growth, some amazing, memorable moments. One hundred eighty straight days of having my nose hair scraped. And I’m playing for, you know, very little fans or no stands the entire season. I got engaged, and I played some of the best football of my career.”

In his thank yous, Rodgers included his teammates, the Packers teaching workers, his unnamed fiancee — and he even slipped within the identify Jodie Foster.

Alex Smith wins comeback participant of the yr

Additionally, Washington Football Team quarterback Alex Smith, who wanted 17 surgical procedures after struggling a life-threatening leg harm, gained comeback participant of the yr honors.

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Smith sustained the devastating harm after being sacked towards the Houston Texans in November 2018 and suffered a spiral and compound fracture to his proper tibia and fibula. He fought for his life after contracting sepsis — the physique’s life-threatening response to an infection — and almost needed to have his leg amputated.

“From obviously a lot of anxiety and potential doubt about obviously how my leg is going to hold up, to an amazing rush of thrill, excitement, that feeling of going out there again and playing, I never thought I’d get that back,” Smith mentioned.

Peyton Manning, Charles Woodson and Calvin Johnson first-ballot Hall of Famers

Peyton Manning is the one beginning quarterback to have gained Super Bowls with two completely different franchises — although he would possibly acquire some firm as quickly as Sunday if Tom Brady and the Buccaneers win Super Bowl LV.

Manning has now performed one thing else that Brady doubtless will do at some point: He’s been elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his first yr of eligibility.

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Also getting of their first yr on the poll are cornerback/security Charles Woodson and extensive receiver Calvin Johnson. The relaxation of the class of 2021 is security John Lynch, offensive lineman Alan Faneca, extensive receiver Drew Pearson, coach Tom Flores and contributor Bill Nunn.

Manning, chosen first total within the 1998 NFL draft by the Indianapolis Colts, reached 4 Super Bowls. He gained Super Bowl XLI — and was named the sport’s MVP — with the Colts and Super Bowl 50 — his last NFL sport — with the Denver Broncos.

At the time of his retirement, Manning held NFL information in profession passing yards (71,940), profession passing touchdowns (539) and consecutive seasons with not less than 25 passing touchdowns (13). He earned Pro Bowl honors 14 occasions and and was named the league’s most beneficial participant 5 occasions.

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Earlier this week, Brady mentioned Manning “was someone that I always just admired as a quarterback, as a leader of a team.”

“I always looked up to Peyton because he was a little bit older than me, and he was always doing things the right way,” Brady mentioned Wednesday. “His team was always in it. I know our teams had a rivalry against one another. When you went against a Peyton Manning-led team, you were going against (one of the best teams) in the league. It’s no real surprise that he’d be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. An amazing player.”

‘You’re giving me an opportunity at immortality’

Typically, within the Super Bowl host metropolis, the Hall of Fame choice committee would meet and vote on the day earlier than the sport. In earlier years, a number of of the finalists can be sequestered in lodge rooms, ready to see if they’d get “the knock” from Pro Football Hall of Fame president David Baker.

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But as a result of of the pandemic, the vote happened nearly final month. And Baker traveled to the electees, knocking on a number of doorways, and, in Woodson’s case, shocking him exterior as he was with a digicam crew being interviewed. Manning was shocked at Empower Field at Mile High in Denver, Colorado.

For the 70-year-old Pearson, who final yr mentioned, “They broke my heart” when he discovering out he wasn’t getting in as half of the class of 2020, was shocked in entrance of Hall of Famers in Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach and Cowboys proprietor Jerry Jones.

“I promise I’ll live up to what the Hall of Fame is all about and now you’re giving me a chance at immortality,” an emotional Pearson mentioned to Baker.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame’s class of 2021 might be enshrined August 8 in Canton, Ohio. The ceremony for the class of 2020, which was postponed final yr as a result of of the pandemic, might be August 7.

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