Eric Berry Wins NFL Comeback Player of the Year from The Mothership
He wasn't just fighting for his career; he was fighting for his life.
Now, 430 days after his first round of chemotherapy, Kansas City Chiefs safety
Eric Berryhas been named the NFL's Comeback Player of the Year for 2015.
The award was announced on Saturday night at the NFL Honors show, which was hosted by Conan O' Brien and took place in San Francisco, California.
Chiefs.com Video: Eric Berry's NFL Honors Acceptance Speech
Marcus Peters Wins AP Defensive Rookie of the Year Award from The Mothership
Kansas City Chiefs cornerback
Marcus Petershad the best season of any rookie defensive player in the NFL as he was named the AP Defensive Rookie of the Year during the NFL Honors show on Saturday night.
The show was hosted by Conan O' Brien and was held at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco, California.
This prestigious award is voted upon by 50 media members around the country who cover the NFL.
Chiefs.com Video: Marcus Peters' NFL Honors Acceptance Speech
Chiefs.com Video: Norma Hunt Reflects on 50 years of Super Bowls
Chiefs' Eric Berry named NFL's comeback player of the year from The Kansas City Star
Multiple players and coaches noted that the way Berry dealt with his cancer ordeal galvanized the team as they bounced back from a 1-5 start. Berry also led with his play on the field, as he earned his fourth Pro Bowl nod by racking up 55 tackles, two interceptions and 10 pass deflections during a season in which he was also named first-team All-Pro selection.
During a tearful speech at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, Berry thanked many people, including his parents, Chiefs coach Andy Reid, outside linebacker Justin Houston and his best friends, Jason Stanley and Savion Frazier, among others.
Chiefs' Eric Berry, Marcus Peters recognized with prestigious awards from Chiefs Digest
Two main pieces of the Kansas City Chiefs defense drew recognition Saturday night from The Associated Press.
Safety Eric Berry was named the NFL Comeback Player of the Year, while cornerback Marcus Peters was named the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year.
Berry's return to football less than a year after being diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma proved one of the league's best stories the past season.
Through his offseason workouts, the ones that put him on the brink of exhaustion and almost always sent him to tears, Kansas City Chiefs safety Eric Berry had Saturday night in mind.
He wasn't exactly envisioning winning the NFL's comeback player of the year, which he did. But Berry did envision what the award symbolized, which was a return to normal after his bout with cancer. Winning the award meant Berry not only played a full season for the Chiefs, but played well enough to be recognized for it.
Chiefs' Marcus Peters named NFL's defensive rookie of the year from The Kansas City Star
Talk about a dream scenario.
No one represents his city more than Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters, a proud Oakland native. So really, what better place to receive the NFL defensive rookie of the year award â which he was awarded Saturday night during the league's NFL Honors program â than San Francisco, which is a short drive across the Bay Bridge.
"It means a lot, you know," Peters said. "It shows all my hard work and trusting and sacrificing that I had to do to get to this point. It's been a hell of a year for me, to turn around and think back last year around this time, what I was going through."
Chiefs matriarch Norma Hunt elated to attend 50th consecutive Super Bowl from The Kansas City Star
When Sunday rolls around, Chiefs matriarch Norma Hunt - one of 16 living people who have attended every single Super Bowl game - will surely find herself performing a pair of pregame rituals her family has kept alive for 40-plus years.
First Norma - the widow of Chiefs founder Lamar Hunt and the mother of team chairman Clark Hunt - will take a picture in front of the logo for that year's game.
"It proves that I was there, right," Norma said with a laugh.
Then shortly thereafter, Clark and her youngest son, Daniel, will kiss her on the cheek, an extension of the ritual she and Lamar had every year before his death in December 2006.
"We had so much fun going together for 40 years," Norma said. "I love all of our little traditions."
How Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt became one of the most respected men in the NFL from The Kansas City Star
There cannot be too many collections of bigger egos than the billionaires who own NFL teams. They are rich and they are powerful. They travel on private jets, receive police escorts on game days and do not have to look far to find someone to run an errand or tell them they're right.
This is the context in which Clark Hunt, who became the Chiefs' chairman when his father passed away 10 years ago this December, has emerged as a primary leader among some of the most powerful figures in sports. He is low-key enough that friends had to find out about his father's passing from someone else, and unassuming enough that he didn't tell his college soccer coach about a childhood accident that left him with lifelong foot pain.
In a room full of egos, Hunt stands out with subtlety. In a room full of bombast, he brings measured tones and carefully chosen words. In a room full of folks used to getting their way, he is described by many as chasing the collective good.
KC Star Photo Gallery: Chiefs Chairman Clark Hunt through the years
Former Chiefs coach Hank Stram's legacy looms large from The Kansas City Star
There never was and never will be another one like Stram, the colorful, charming, staccato-chirping innovator who three years after the devastating 35-10 loss guided the Chiefs to their only Super Bowl triumph with a 23-7 clobbering of Minnesota.
Such memories surged toward his widow, Phyllis, in the Arrowhead Stadium tunnel at halftime of the Chiefs' Sept. 17 game with Denver during a reunion of Chiefs Super Bowl teams.
Surrounded by players her husband loved and who loved him, all so much older now, others conspicuous by their absence, she sat and cried.
"God, there's almost more dead than alive now," she said as she recently sat in the living room of Dale and his wife, Janet.
Eyes moistening again as she thought of the September ceremony, she said, "The happiness and sadness of the moment just got to me."
Eric Berry named NFL's Comeback Player of the Year from NFL.com
Berry dominated the race for Comeback honors, netting 38 of the 50 votes. Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer finished second with six votes ahead of Vikings running back Adrian Peterson with four. San Francisco linebacker NaVorro Bowman and Bucs running back Doug Martin each grabbed a solo vote.
At 27, Berry still has plenty of time left to add to his legacy as one of the league's top safeties.
In his return to action, Berry played in all 16 games for the Chiefs and earned First-Team All-Pro honors for the second time in his career. He finished the season with two interceptions and 61 tackles, but SB Nation's Danny Kelly explained that his impact for the Chiefs defense goes beyond the box score:
He's constantly moving around -- playing in the deep middle, up in the slot against a receiver or tight end, up in the box against the run, and a little bit of everything in between. Honey Badger gets a lot of love for his versatility and that's well deserved, but Berry does a good amount of moving around too, and I saw him play zone, play man coverage, support the run and do some blitzing to boot. He's an integral and dangerous piece of the Chiefs' elite defense, and he's a fun player to watch.
He was an integral part of a dominant Chiefs pass defense that helped Kansas City put together its incredible run from 1-5 to arguably most improbable playoff berth in league history. During their 10-game win streak from Week 7 to the end of the regular season, the Chiefs led the league in interceptions, opponent passer rating, completion percentage and yards per attempt allowed.
The 23-year-old is the fourth Chiefs player to earn the Defensive ROY award and the first since Dale Carter (1992). Peters' selection also snapped a long drought for defensive back winners, one that reached back to Charles Woodson in 1998.
Joe Montana is the latest NFL player to reveal the ill effects of playing professional football from The Washington Post
The former San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs player said he's experiencing aches all over his body, which are holding him back from doing the activities he once could. In the interview, Montana mentions his hands, knees, elbows and neck all causing debilitating pain. The Hall-of-Famer said he's had three neck fusions to date and the nerve damage has spread to one of his eyes.
When Tom Pratt sat to watch a rare replay of Super Bowl I a few weeks ago, he noticed how the game has changed in the past 50 years.
It didn't come as a surprise to him. Now an assistant for the Arizona Cardinals,Pratt, 80, coached in Super Bowl I, directing the defensive line for the Kansas City Chiefs, who lost to the Green Bay Packers on Jan. 15, 1967.
But watching it helped Pratt appreciate how the game has evolved.
Wright wound up having a sensational career at Houston, and his 14 touchdowns in 1969 were tied for the most in college football. He was a first-round pick of the Chiefs in 1971, but injuries marred his NFL career, and he had just six touchdowns in four seasons with the Chiefs.
Other NFL players have since adopted a variety of touchdown celebrations, including Oilers wide receiver and kick returner Billy "White Shoes" Johnson, Cowboys wide receiver Butch Johnson, Falcons, 49ers, Cowboys and Washington cornerback Deion Sanders, who copied Wright's high-step moves into the end zone, and now Newton, who is the first quarterback to celebrate his touchdowns with so many dance moves.
49ers' Boldin NFL Man of the Year from The San Jose Mercury News
Len Dawson, who won the NFL Man of the Year honors in 1973, was on hand for the ceremony Saturday. The former Kansas City Chiefs star said the award still has a special place in his heart.
"It shows that we aren't just football players," Dawson, 80, said. "We're people who are concerned about a lot of things that don't involve football.
"Particularly at the quarterback position, people know who you are. So if you can do something to help other people, then that's the thing to do."
1995 Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs ran away in a pretty tough AFC West (no one worse than 8-8), with a 13-3 record thanks to a defense led by four Pro Bowlers that held opponents to a league-low 15 points per game. But on a frigid day at Kansas City's Arrowhead Stadium which saw wind chills reach 15 below, the Chiefs wound up on the short end of a defensive struggle against the Colts in the divisional playoffs, 10-7.
In the beginning
Hank Stram graduated from Lew Wallace High School in 1941. He was and is a legend in the city and the Glen Park area of the Steel City. While with the Hornets he played in the first game at Hobart's Brickie Bowl. Stram's Silver Bell Club, which awards scholarships each year to Polish/Slovak student-athletes in Lake and Porter counties, showed his devotion to Northwest Indiana. He once told The Times:
"I jump in the car and it automatically takes me to Lew Wallace, St. Mark's (where he attended grade school), and all the other old places...''
...Playing for Stram was another Gary native, Fred "The Hammer" Williamson, a 1956 Gary Froebel graduate. He's been credited for being the first player to wear white shoes in the pro game. And Williamson was a showman before the Super Bowl experience followed. Williamson boasted he would use his "hammers," or forearm blows to the head, to destroy the Packers' receivers
Fundraiser set for NFL ref Bill Schuster from The Rochester Democrat & Chronicle
Before that Week 7 game in Kansas City, Chiefs head coach Andy Reid gave Schuster a hug and wished him well.
Then, afterward, Chiefs safety Eric Berry, whom he'd never met, approached Schuster. "He gives me a big hug and says, 'You're in my thoughts and prayers.' It probably lasted 30 seconds, but it seemed like forever," Schuster said.
Berry missed the end of the 2014 season after being diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma, but was back playing last year.
"He sought me out. That was really nice of a player to do that for an official," Schuster said.
Goodell proposes what might be called Odell Beckham Jr. Rule from The Morning Call
Mara, a member of that committee, said Friday's discussion of the proposal was the first he'd heard of it, but that he is "inclined to go in that direction" to "maybe take it out of the officials' discretion."
He noted that there would need to be careful consideration of which personal fouls would be counted toward an ejection; an incidental facemask penalty, for example, should not, in Mara's view.
Kansas City Chiefs CEO Clark Hunt likened it to a soccer player being sent off after getting two yellow cards in a game.
Mission High alums a fixture in Super Bowl history from The Valley Morning Star
Mission native Bobby Ply remembers looking into the stands during Super Bowl I and seeing the 60,000 fans filling only about half of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum...
...Ply was one of the first to ever take the field in a Super Bowl, playing on special teams for the Kansas City Chiefs when they faced the Green Bay Packers in 1967.
Derek Wolfe, Travis Kelce rise from UC roommates to riches from Cincinnati.com
Even though the two compete against each other twice a year in the AFC West, there's a commonality and motivation within each other's success. Two guys who spent a lot of long nights in that Clifton apartment, along with Travis' brother, Jason, who starts at center for the Philadelphia Eagles, wondering why people didn't think they were good enough. With each session, the chips on their shoulders grew larger.
"I'm so happy for him," Wolfe said. "That's the thing, we all push each other. Forget all that other crap. Let's just ball and do what we do. Who cares if we don't get the hype, let's just do what we do."
What they did was prove a host of critics wrong.
The very first Super Bowl was played half a century ago on Jan. 15, 1967, and today, 11Alive was joined by one of the few still-living players from that first game.
Solomon Brannan played as a defensive back for the Kansas City Chiefs during that game against the Green Bay Packers.
Super Sunday's Humble Origins Explored in Dartmouth Professor's New Book from The Valley News
In Chapter 2, we meet the game's coaches: the mercurial disciplinarian Vince Lombardi, of the Green Bay Packers, and the sharply dressed, jovial Hank Stram of Kansas City. The quirks and qualities or each are enunciated, such as Lombardi's "5 o'clock social hours," where players and media were invited to join him and his wife, Marie, for drinks and piano playing after a hard day of practice.
Stram, we discover, was born Henry Louis Wilczek. As told to Frommer by Stram's son, Dale, the name Stram was derived from the German word for "strapping, strong" and initially was the nickname of Hank's Polish father, a wrestler. The Chiefs coach - or "corch," as he pronounced it - had been known as Hank Stram since childhood, but didn't change his name legally until entering U.S. military service in 1943.
50 years of memories: Star Tribune staffers share their favorite Super Bowl moments from The Minneapolis Star Tribune
Grant was old school to the core. He was also no man to forgive a lippy opponent. When his team lost to Kansas City his coaching opponent, Hank Stram, was caught on a mike gloating about the Vikings defense running around like a Chinese fire drill.
Several years later, in the final game of the 1974 season in Kansas City, the Vikings had the game won in the fourth quarter. Stram was in trouble with Chiefs ownership, having a miserable season. Grant kept his war horses on the field and scored at every opportunity to win 35-15. A few months later, Stram was out of a job.