NFL Honors, the prime-time television program during which The Associated Press individual league awards are revealed, will be held on a Thursday for the first time, and will be broadcast live by ABC.
The show on Feb. 10 will originate from the YouTube Theater at the SoFi Entertainment District in the Los Angeles suburb of Inglewood, California, and also will be available on NFL Network and ESPN+.
In addition to the AP’s awards for MVP, Coach of the Year, Comeback Player, Offensive Player and Offensive Rookie, Defensive Player and Defensive Rookie and Assistant Coach of the Year, the program will feature the league’s Walter Payton Man of the Year announcement.
The 2022 Pro Football Hall of Fame class also will be revealed during the telecast, which begins at 9 pm EST.
Other awards presented will include the Salute to Service, the Deacon Jones Award to the NFL sacks leader and the Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award.
“We have been wanting to do Thursday for a few years,” said Mark Quenzel, the senior vice president, head of content for NFL Media. “The primary reason has been that we wanted to spread out some of the bigger events. We have ‘Opening Night’ on Monday and a whole bunch of things, the commissioner’s press conference.
“With NFL Honors and the Super Bowl obviously being on Saturday and Sunday, we thought it would be great to move it earlier in the week and have more tentpole events.”
ABC and ESPN+, under the Disney umbrella, replace NBC as the broadcaster. NBC, which will have the game, is also televising the Winter Olympics from Beijing in February.
The venue was a no-brainer considering it is in the complex that includes the home of the Rams and Chargers.
“It is a spectacular venue,” Quenzel said, “arguably the nicest venue we have been in, taking away nothing from the others. It’s brand new and built right next to the stadium, has 6,000 seats, which ties it with Radio City Music Hall, and it is state of the art. And then it is surrounded by the beautiful stadium and the grounds and lake around it.”
Some have wondered why the Hall of Fame announcement isn’t a stand-alone show. Quenzel explains that not only does the introduction of the year’s new class belong in NFL Honors, but it’s one of the highlights.
“I’m a huge fan of the Hall of Fame and the league is closely associated with the hall, and I think having it as part of this show is better for everybody,” Quenzel said, noting that the hall announcement comes midway in the two-hour telecast, a key spot for any awards show. “Strength in numbers. Certainly it is a centerpiece, so are the AP awards.
“Look at the aggregate accolades that go together. I am not sure anything put on its own would be as strong as with the support of the other accolades.”
No host has been determined yet, nor have the entertainers for NFL Honors. But the players — present and past — get the spotlight anyway.
“NFL Honors has always been an intersection of the NFL and entertainment,” Quenzel said. “This show kinds of manifests itself this way. To do NFL Honors a couple hundred feet from where the Super Bowl will be played and in the entertainment capital of the world is about as good as it gets.”