Micah Parsons has been in the discussion for Defensive Rookie of the Year practically since his first snap in a Cowboys uniform, and on February 10, it became official. With a unanimous vote, the Associated Press named Parsons the DROY during the star-studded NFL Honors program. He was the first Cowboys player ever to win that honor.
Since being drafted with the 12th overall pick in 2021, Parsons has been part of the resurgence of a dominant Dallas defense. Though he was drafted as a linebacker, Parsons filled in at defensive end for significant chunks of the season and continuously made impact plays.
In his rookie season, Parsons accumulated a total of 13 sacks in only 16 games. Parsons missed the season finale after testing positive for COVID-19. He returned to play against the San Francisco 49ers in the Wild Card Round and recorded a tackle for loss in the game.
Parsons, who nicknamed himself “The Lion,” accepted the award wearing an enormous bejeweled pendant over a dark suit. He kept his acceptance speech brief, thanking God, his family, and the Cowboys organization.
Parsons was also a candidate for Defensive Player of the Year and, had he captured that honor, would have been only the second player in NFL history to win both awards; however, T.J. Watt of the Pittsburgh Steelers was named DPOY. Watt tied the NFL single-season sack record at 22.5 this season.
Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott was a candidate for Comeback Player of the Year after starting every game in 2021 and leading the Cowboys to one of the highest-scoring offenses in the NFL.
Prescott suffered a serious ankle fracture in Week 5 of the 2020 season but was able to battle back and throw for 4,449 yards this season, the second-most in his career. Instead, the award went to Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow, who returned from a knee injury last season and will be starting in the Super Bowl on Sunday.
The AP Offensive Rookie Player of the Year award also went to a Cincinnati Bengals player, receiver Ja’Marr Chase. Chase set numerous franchise records in his first season. He totaled 1,455-yards on 81 receptions and scored 13 touchdowns.
The 2022 NFL Hall of Fame Class was announced during the Honors event. Cowboys linebacker DeMarcus Ware was on the ballot in his first year of eligibility but was not named to the Hall this season.
Inductees include defensive tackle Richard Seymour (Patriots, Raiders), offensive tackle Tony Boselli (Jaguars), defensive lineman Bryant Young (49ers), linebacker Sam Mills (Saints, Panthers), safety LeRoy Butler (Packers), Coach Dick Vermeil (Rams, Eagles, Chiefs), wide receiver Cliff Branch (Raiders), and the first inductee who was not a member of a team, referee Art McNally.
The Honors event was hosted by actor and comedian Keegan-Michael Key, with awards handed out by a mixture of players and Hollywood stars. This is the first year that the awards ceremony was held on the Thursday before the Super Bowl.
The event was held virtually last year due to COVID-19 and was held on the Saturday before the Super Bowl in prior years.