Rodgers overwhelming pick for AP's most valuable player
The best quarterbacks bring fans out of their seats. Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning did exactly that Saturday night when the NFL Most Valuable Player accepted the trophy from the only four-time winner of the award.
The Green Bay quarterback won the 2011 Associated Press award in a landslide. Manning, the hometown hero who didn't play a down this season because of neck surgery, handed it to him. Manning was greeted with a standing ovation when he came on stage at the Murat Theatre in Indianapolis during NFL Honors, a prime-time special on NBC. Moments later, the crowd was back on its feet for Rodgers.
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"It means a lot to be recognized as a consistent player and contributing on my team," Rodgers said. "I think it's an award that relies on a player having the support of his teammates, obviously, guys blocking, guys running, guys catching, guys making plays. But I'm very honored to receive the award."
Speaking to Manning, who didn't miss a game for 13 seasons before 2011, Rodgers added: "We're all really excited to see you back on the field next year."
Rodgers earned 48 votes to two for New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees in balloting by a nationwide panel of 50 media members who regularly cover the NFL. The Packers star is the first Green Bay player honored since Brett Favre concluded a run of three straight seasons as MVP in 1997.
Brees won Offensive Player of the Year for the second time.
Other winners included Baltimore defensive end/linebacker Terrell Suggs, Defensive Player of the Year; San Francisco's rookie coach Jim Harbaugh, Coach of the Year; and Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford, Comeback Player of the Year. The top two picks in last April's draft took the rookie awards: Carolina QB Cam Newton and Denver linebacker Von Miller.
■ Ticket sales for the NFL's annual game in London have been suspended while the St. Louis Rams try to solve a problem regarding the lease on their stadium. NFL UK said in a statement on its Web site that the Rams "have expressed optimism that a resolution is near," and it expects the ticket sales to resume shortly. The Rams are scheduled to host the Patriots at Wembley on Oct. 28 and have agreed to give up a home game in each of the next three seasons to play in London. That apparently clashes with the team's lease on the Edward Jones Dome, where the Rams play their regular home games.
Knight breaks nose in Pistons' win
Greg Monroe had 24 points and 16 rebounds, and the Detroit Pistons beat the New Orleans Hornets 89-87 Saturday in a matchup of two of the NBA's worst teams. Former Kentucky point guard and Pistons rookie Brandon Knight sustained a broken nose early in the game when he was hit by Monroe's elbow. Rodney Stuckey added 17 for Detroit (6-20), which won consecutive games for the second time this season and had five scorers in double figures. New Orleans (4-20) lost its fifth straight. Trevor Ariza led the Hornets with 26.
■ Derrick Rose scored 21 points and had 13 assists, and Luol Deng added 21 points in his return after missing seven games due to injury, as the Chicago Bulls easily beat the Milwaukee Bucks 113-90 Saturday night. Playing before a sellout Bradley Center crowd that seemed to be filled with more fans rooting for the Bulls, Deng scored on a layup from Rose just 76 seconds into the game.
The Bucks trailed by 24 at halftime and never threatened in the second half, resting all five starters in the fourth quarter.
■ Blake Griffin had 21 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists, and DeAndre Jordan had 18 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Clippers to a 107-81 victory at Washington. Mo Williams added 17 for the Clippers, who won for the fifth time in six games. Nick Young and John Wall each scored 14 for Washington, which lost its fourth game in a row and dropped to 4-20 this season.
West Virginia cancels game with FSU
West Virginia has canceled its Sept. 8 football game at Florida State. School officials told Florida State late Friday they would pay a $350,000 escape fee to shelve the trip.
Florida State Athletics Director Randy Spetman said Saturday he's disappointed that West Virginia would not honor the first half of a home-and-home agreement that calls for Florida State to visit Morgantown, W.Va., next year. He now has a short timeline to find an opponent to replace the Mountaineers on Florida State's schedule.
■ Utah State's Michael Smith ran for 124 yards and one touchdown to lead the North to a 24-19 victory over the South in the Players All-Star Classic at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock, Ark.
Smith's 80-yard touchdown run in the third quarter gave the North at 17-16 lead.
"I'm just grateful that was I was out here for this," Smith said. "There's not always an opportunity, and I was glad I got mine.
"Coaches kept telling us to stretch (the play) outside a couple more yards the tight end, and if they over play, just cut back and go. That happened, and I just used my speed to get to the end zone."
Louisiana State quarterback Jordan Jefferson led the South on two scoring drives, one he capped with a 7-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. Former Kentucky linebacker Danny Trevathan and punter Ryan Tydlacka played for the South, but stats were not available at press time.
Levin up 6 in front of record Phoenix crowd
Spencer Levin remained in control in the Phoenix Open in front of the largest crowd in tournament history, shooting a 3-under 68 on Saturday to take a six-stroke lead into the final round in Scottsdale, Ariz. The crowd of 173,210 in perfect conditions at TPC Scottsdale's Stadium Course broke the record of 170,802 set in the third round in 2008. Levin, five strokes ahead after the completion of the second round Saturday morning, had four birdies and a bogey to reach 17 under. The bogey on the par-5 15th was his first since the opening hole of the tournament.
Webb Simpson was 11 under after a 68. At No. 6 in the world, he's the highest-ranked player in the field. Henry Clay graduate Josh Teater followed his 68 and 69 in the first two rounds with a 71 Saturday and was the best of the three Kentuckians in the event at 5 under, three strokes back. Campbellsville native J.B. Holmes was at even par after a 72, and Franklin resident Kenny Perry shot 72 for a 1 over heading into the final round.
■ Former British Open Champion Paul Lawrie recovered from a penalty for dropping his ball on a marker to shoot a 5-under 67 Saturday and take a one-shot lead over Nicolas Colsaerts into the final round of the Qatar Masters. Lawrie took advantage of calmer conditions at Doha Golf Course to make six birdies for an 8-under total of 136 after two rounds.
Yanks GM Cashman's wife files for divorce
The wife of Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman has filed divorce papers, a day after prosecutors charged a woman with stalking him and extorting money over an extramarital affair. Mary Cashman filed the paperwork Friday in Stamford, Conn. Her lawyer didn't immediately return a phone message Saturday. A spokesman for Brian Cashman said the family wouldn't have any comment.
The last word
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady on growing up with three sisters:
"They dressed me up a few times in their clothes and painted my nails once, but it was nice."