Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Manning, Peterson head honorees at 101 Gala March 2 in Kansas City


Two of the biggest names in the NFL in 2012 – Denver Broncos quarterback Payton Manning and Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson – headline the honorees for Kansas City’s 43rd salute to professional football.

They will be joined by defensive sack artists J.J. Watson of the Houston Texans and Aldon Smith of the San Francisco 49ers and coaches Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks and Chuck Pagano and Bruce Arians of the Indianapolis Colts at the annual NFL 101 Awards Gala to be held Saturday, March 2, at the Westin Crown Center.

Founded in 1969, this year’s 101 is presented by Perfect Output and ECCOP Select.

In addition to the honorees, the Committee of 101 selects the Lamar Hunt Award for Professional Football. Created in 2007 to honor the life and legacy of the founder of the Kansas City Chiefs, the award is given in recognition of visionary leadership that has helped the NFL become the preeminent pro sports league in America.

This year’s recipient will be announced in February.

Manning, who was named AFC Offensive Player of the Year, and Peterson, the NFC’s top offensive player, are also the two leaders for NFL Comeback Player of the Year after coming back from career threatening injuries in 2012.

Manning’s 101selection is his seventh – but the first as a member of the Broncos. He was also named to the Pro Bowl for a record 12th time. Sidelined last year by a neck injury while with the Indianapolis Colts, Manning led the Broncos to the AFC West title with a 13-3 record.

The top passer in the AFC with a 105.8 rating and tied for first in completion percentage (68.6), Manning threw for 4,659 yards and 37 touchdowns, statistically his second best season in a 15-year career.

Peterson returned to action after suffering a torn ACL at the end of the 2012 season to lead the NFL in rushing with 2,097 yards, just nine yards short of Eric Dickerson’s all-time record, Averaging a league best 131.1 yards per game, Peterson earned a fifth Pro Bowl selection while leading the Vikings into the playoffs with a 10-6 record.

Watts earned AFC Defensive Player of the Year honors with an NFL-best 20½ sacks, one more than Aldon Smith who led the NFC with 19½. Both are first-time 101 selections. Watts led Houston (12-4) to the AFC South title, breaking up 16 passes – five of which ended up as interceptions – and recovering four fumbles.

A former Raytown High School and University of Missouri standout drafted in the seventh round two years ago, Smith led the 49ers to an 11-4-1 record and the NFC West championship with one interception and three forced fumbles.

Colts head coach Chuck Pagano and offensive coordinator Brue Arians are co-winners of the AFC Coach of the Year Award after they took a 2-14 team in 2011 to an 11-5 record and wild card playoff berth in 2012. Pagano began the season as head coach but had to leave the team Oct. 1 to be treated for leukemia. In his absence. Arenas guided the Colts to a 9-3 record before Pagano returned for the final game.

Carroll led the Seahawks to an 11-5 record, the third most wins in Seattle history, and an NFC playoff win at Washington, the Seahawks’ first road playoff win in nearly 30 years. Winners were selected by a national media committee made up of 101 sportswriters and broadcasters who cover the NFL on a regular basis.

Proceeds from the event will be directed to the Truman Medical Center Charitable Foundation. Former Chiefs quarterback Rich Gannon, a CBS football analyst and former NFL Most Valuable Player and two-time AFL winner, and NFL Network sportscaster Paul Burmeister will host the event.