Lamar Jackson has joined historic company.
The 27-year-old quarterback was named the NFL's Most Valuable Player for the second time Thursday at NFL Honors in Las Vegas. Jackson is just the 11th player in league history to be named MVP multiple times.
After winning his first in 2019 by unanimous vote, joining Tom Brady as the only unanimous winners in league history, Jackson fell just one vote short of doing it again. Jackson received 49 of 50 first place votes.
Jackson joins a legendary list that includes Patrick Mahomes, Joe Montana, Kurt Warner and Steve Young as two-time MVP winners. Peyton Manning is the all-time leader with five MVPs, followed by Aaron Rodgers (four) and three-time winners Brady, Jim Brown, Brett Favre, and former Baltimore Colts Hall of Fame quarterback Johnny Unitas.
But no quarterback ever won two MVPs so young. Jackson did it in just six seasons, and only three as a full-time starter who played the entire year.
"First and foremost I want to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ," Jackson said on stage after accepting the award. "Without Him, nothing is possible.
"I want to thank my organization, the Baltimore Ravens, for finally getting a deal done," Jackson said with a chuckle. "Shout out to (General Manager) Eric (DeCosta), shout out to (Owner) Steve (Bisciotti), Coach (John) Harbaugh), the whole unit. My offensive line, I can't thank them enough for what they've done. I'm not out there blocking, catching the ball, doing everything. It's a team thing for these awards. And I want to thank my family at home. You guys have a great night, and that's all folks."
Jackson put an exclamation point on his regular season from Weeks 11-17 to lock up the MVP. The Ravens won six straight games to finish with the league's best record (13-4) and Jackson was named AFC Offensive Player of the Month for December/January.
A second MVP award seems fitting for a player who is unique, electrifying, and still ascending. He throws from every arm angle, leaves defenders grasping for air, and makes fans rise from their seats.
Sometimes even Jackson can't explain how he does what he does. One of his signature moments occurred in Week 15 against the Jaguars, when he somehow ducked under Dawuane Smoot to avoid a sack, then lofted a pass to Isaiah Likely for a leaping catch.
After Jackson made the throw, Smoot looked at Jackson in disbelief. Week after week, Jackson made memorable plays.
Jackson threw 14 touchdown passes and just two interceptions during his final six regular games, leading Baltimore to the AFC North title and a first-round bye. He finished the regular season with career highs in passing yards (3,678), completions (307), completion percentage (67.2), and average yards per completion (8) while throwing 24 touchdown passes and just seven interceptions.
While Jackson's pocket presence and accuracy improved, he remained an electrifying runner who made would-be tacklers miss with regularity. Jackson led the Ravens and all NFL quarterbacks with 821 yards rushing, averaging 5.5 yards per carry while continuing to stress defenses with his arm and mobility. In November, Jackson became the fastest quarterback in league history to reach 5,000 yards rushing, achieving that milestone 22 games faster than Michael Vick.
In his first season with Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken, Jackson was given more freedom to change plays, routes and protections at the line of scrimmage and embraced the responsibility. He became a more vocal and purposeful leader, a mindset he called "locked in,", and the team responded to the tone he set.
"You've seen a lot of changes he's done to be not just the star player but also the leader of the team," said Pro Bowl cornerback Marlon Humphrey, who has been Jackson’s teammate for six seasons. "From getting the extra workout, being the first one in, breaking the team down, the speeches, getting on guys.
"It's been really encouraging. He gets his big contract and he's really filled all the roles, upped them from what he's already done. He's always going to step up his play, but how he's carried himself, leadership wise — people see it and people really respect it."
Many of Jackson's best games came against teams that also reached the postseason. He threw for a season-high 357 yards in a 38-6 rout over the Lions. He threw for two touchdowns and 259 yards when the Ravens defeated the 49ers on Christmas night, outplaying 49ers MVP finalists Christian McCaffrey and Brock Purdy.
Jackson's final regular season game may have been his best, a 56-19 rout over the Dolphins in which Jackson threw for 321 yards and a season-high five touchdowns. That victory clinched the AFC North and the No. 1 seed for Baltimore, and it became a forgone conclusion that Jackson would win the MVP.
During his six-year career, the Ravens are 58-19 during the regular season when Jackson starts. The season didn't end the way he hoped against the Chiefs in the AFC Championship, but Jackson was the driving force in getting the Ravens to within one victory of reaching the Super Bowl. Winning his second MVP is a significant achievement, and it won't diminish his determination to win a championship.
"In the National Football League, unless you don't make the playoffs, your last game is not a success unless you win the Super Bowl. You have to understand that," Head Coach John Harbaugh said last week. "When you don't win the last game, especially a home AFC Championship game, which is so rare and so hard to get to, then it's like, 'Whoa, is it a success (or) is it a failure?'
"Lamar Jackson is a phenomenal success. He's a phenomenal success as a football player. He's a phenomenal success as a person, as a leader, as a family man. In my opinion, there's nobody better in this league, especially nobody better for the Baltimore Ravens and for this organization and for this city."