Just a few days before Super Bowl LVI, a lot is going on in the NFL besides the championship game coming up on Sunday. The NFL Honors are coming, but whether they can be held with no talk about a massive league discrimination lawsuit remains to be seen.
NFL Honors To Be Held on Thursday
The eleventh edition of the NFL Honors will be held on Thursday night at YouTube Theater in Los Angeles. The annual awards will name the most recent class to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame along with the AP awards for the league’s individual honors for the 2021-22 NFL season.
Aaron Rodgers is the front-runner for the league’s MVP. He led the NFL in passer rating at 111.9 and threw 37 touchdowns with just four interceptions in the regular season. Tom Brady and the Rams’ WR Cooper Kupp are also in the running for the award.
Offensive Player of the Year honors are expected to go the Rams’ WR Cooper Kupp, who finished the regular season with 1,947 receiving yards and 16 touchdowns. He also averaged 114.5 yards per game.
The Steeler’s TJ Watt is the most probable pick for Defensive Player of the Year after his record-setting season. The Bengals’ Ja’Marr Chase is the leader for Offensive Rookie of the Year after his outstanding first season, which isn’t over yet.
Smith, Allen Newest Head Coach Hirings
The Houston Texans have hired Lovie Smith as their next head coach. He was the Texans’ defensive coordinator in 2021 and has 20 years of coaching experience in the league. He came to Houston after spending time as head coach at the University of Illinois, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the Chicago Bears. He took the Bears to the Super Bowl in his third year with the franchise after a 13-3 finish in the regular season.
The New Orleans Saints have promoted defensive coordinator Dennis Allen to be their next head coach. He had held the assistant position since 2015. He was previously head coach of the Oakland Raiders for more than two seasons and was fired just four games into the 2014 season when the team started 0-4 in 2014. Allen previously spent five seasons as the secondary coach for the Saints and was part of the coaching staff in their championship season of 2010.
Goodell to Face Reporters at Annual NFL News Conference
The NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will likely face many difficult questions during the league’s annual news conference on Wednesday afternoon. Reporters will want to know what the league plans on doing about the lack of head coaching jobs for Black and minority coaches amid the pending class-action lawsuit filed by Brian Flores against the NFL.
Flores is suing the league and three NFL teams for alleged racial discrimination in their hiring practices. At last year’s news conference, Goodell addressed the fact that only two minority coaches were hired to fill the seven openings that were available. He said at the time that it “wasn’t what we expected, and it’s not what we expect going forward.”
The Rooney Rule is clearly not changing how things work. It requires that teams interview at least two minorities for each head coaching opening and at least one minority for each coordinator position hiring. About 70% of the league’s players are Black, with only two of the 32 teams currently employing black head coaches.