2003 Postseason Awards
It seems fitting Peyton Manning and Steve McNair shared The Associated Press Most Valuable Player award. After all, their teams finished with the same record and tied atop the AFC South. In just the third tie since the award began in 1957, the premier passers each received 16 votes.
Jamal Lewis rushed past the 2,000-yard mark, took the Baltimore Ravens to their first division title and won The Associated Press Offensive Player of the Year award. The powerful-yet-speedy running back who rushed for 2,066 yards and 14 touchdowns, set an NFL single-game mark with 295 yards rushing against Cleveland in the second game of the season, then ran for 205 against the Browns in Game 15.
Ray Lewis is as fearsome and dependable as anyone in football, and that earned him his second Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year award. Lewis is the fifth player to win the award more than once. Only Lawrence Taylor won it three times, and one Hall of Famer, Ronnie Lott, believes Lewis is on course to be the best linebacker ever.
Anquan Boldin was so dominant as an NFL newcomer that he unanimously won The Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year award. The sensational wide receiver of the Arizona Cardinals opened the season with the greatest debut in league history, catching 10 passes for 217 yards and two TDs in a loss at Detroit. He never slowed down, and all 50 people on a nationwide panel of sports writers and broadcasters covering the NFL voted for Boldin.
Although he didn't start until the season finale, Terrell Suggs was so impressive for the Baltimore Ravens that he earned The Associated Press' Defensive Rookie of the Year award. Suggs, an outside linebacker with a pass-rushing burst reminiscent of Lawrence Taylor, had 12 sacks out of a 3-4 alignment in which he often served as an end.
Jon Kitna's whole career has been about comebacks. Written off in college, he made it to the NFL as an undrafted free agent. He led the Seattle Seahawks to the playoffs, only to lose his job. He came to the Cincinnati Bengals as a starter and lost his job again. Now, he has pulled off the most unexpected comeback of all.
Bill Belichick owns three Super Bowl titles and, after his best coaching job, he won The Associated Press Coach of the Year. In a year of masterful coaching throughout the league, Belichick led the New England Patriots to the NFL's best record, 14-2. The Patriots, fighting off injuries almost from the outset of the schedule, won their final 12 games, setting franchise records for winning streak and victories in one year.
Postseason award winners Steve McNair, Jamal Lewis and Ray Lewis will start for the AFC.
Co-MVP Peyton Manning kept the quarterback spot on The Associated Press All-Pro Team all to himself, easily beating out the league's other Most Valuable Player, Steve McNair, to make the squad for the first time. Kansas City had the most All-Pros with five: running back Priest Holmes, tight end Tony Gonzalez, guard Will Shields, tackle Willie Roaf and kick returner Dante Hall.