NEW YORK -- The Carolina Panthers wanted to be playing in New Jersey on Sunday. Instead, they were the big winners at the "NFL Honors" ceremony in New York on Saturday night.
Both of the above awards had a number of great candidates. Still, it was eye-opening that Pete Carroll, Bruce Arians and Chip Kelly received just eight combined votes. Andy Reid and Bill Belichick came in second and third, respectively, in the voting behind Rivera.
Kuechly won a crowded defensive-player field, where Robert Mathis came in second. Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman split the Seahawk vote. NaVorro Bowman, our pick, was ignored. Robert Quinn came in fourth.
There weren't a ton of other major surprises, although we were pleasantly surprised to see Jets defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson win Defensive Rookie of the Year. Peyton Manning won the MVP award, as expected.
The coolest moment of the night came when the 2014 Pro Football Hall of Fame class was announced. It was the first time this was done at "NFL Honors," and it won't be the last. The ovation for the seven men was like a scene out of a movie.
Michael Strahan and Walter Jones are headed to Canton, but the biggest news was one name that was left off this list. We're stunned that Marvin Harrison was not inducted.
The complete list of award winners are below. First, a few observations from our intrepid reporter Marc Sessler:
» Andre Reed and Ray Guy stood out as the most thrilled to make the Hall of Fame. Both men waited a long time for this moment, and they were relieved. There was an audible gasp when Guy, a Veterans Committee candidate, was announced.
"There's been a lot of frustration (over the wait)," Guy said, before calling it a "moment so precious."
Guy says the news gives a younger generation of punters hope. It will be a cool Raiders moment when John Madden presents Guy in Canton.
» Reed repeatedly praised Buffalo as a sports town.
"That was one of the greatest cities to play for," Reed said.
Here is a list of the winners:
» Don Shula High School Coach of the Year: Mike Grant, Eden Prairie (Minn.) H.S.