NEW YORK CITY – Three former Cal football players – Keenan Allen, Ron Rivera and Aaron Rodgers – were recognized at the NFL Honors show at Radio City Music Hall in New York City on Saturday evening. Cal was the only college football program in the nation to have more than one former player honored at the event.
Rivera was the Associated Press’ NFL Coach of the Year, while Allen was selected as the Pepsi NEXT Rookie of the Year. Rodgers won the GM Never say Never Moment of the Year.
Rivera led Carolina to an NFC South title and a 12-4 regular-season record. The Panthers won 11 of their final 12 regular-season contests after starting 1-3 and made the playoffs for the first time since 2008.
Allen led all NFL rookies in the regular season with 71 catches, 1,046 receiving yards and eight touchdown catches for a San Diego Chargers’ team that rallied towards the end of the season to earn a wild-card spot in the playoffs. Allen had eight catches for 163 yards and two touchdown receptions in a playoff loss to Cincinnati to also lead all rookies in the postseason in those categories.
Rodgers’ honor came for a 48-yard touchdown pass to Green Bay wide receiver Randall Cobb on fourth-and-8 with 38 seconds remaining of a Week 17 showdown at Soldier Field. The winning touchdown lifted Green Bay to its third straight NFL North title and into the NFL Playoffs. Rodgers was playing in his first game back from a broken collarbone that sidelined him for the previous seven contests.