Panthers’ Kueckly, Rivera clean up on top NFL awards

nfl-keucklyThe Carolina Panthers would rather be playing in Sunday’s Super Bowl, but they received several consolation prizes for a successful season with Saturday’s announcement of The Associated Press’ 2013-14 NFL Awards.

Carolina linebacker Luke Kuechly was named The AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year, adding to his top defensive rookie award of 2012, and Panthers coach Ron Rivera was named AP Coach of the Year for taking his team to the playoffs.

Kuechly received 19 votes from a nationwide panel of 50 media members who regularly cover the leaguet. He beat out Indianapolis All-Pro linebacker Robert Mathis, who earned 11 1/2 votes. Kuechly had 96 tackles for a defense ranked only behind the NFC champion Seattle Seahawks. He also had four interceptions, two sacks, eight passes defensed.

Rivera took his team to division champion this season, earning him the Coach of the Year award. The Panthers went 12-4 to take the NFC South and get a first-round playoff bye. They lost to San Francisco in the divisional round. Rivera received 21 1/2 votes, outdistancing Kansas City’s Andy Reid, who got 13 1/2 votes after his first season with the Chiefs.

Photo courtesy of NFL

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