MIAMI — What we all assumed was an inevitably as far back as November became a reality on Saturday night, the eve of Super Bowl LIV. At NFL Honors, Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson was officially named the MVP of the 2019 season by a unanimous vote. Jackson is the second-ever unanimous MVP in NFL history, joining Tom Brady (2010) in an exclusive club. Furthermore, Jackson is only the ninth player to win both the Heisman Trophy and NFL MVP. It hadn’t been done since Cam Newton, who won the Heisman in 2010, captured MVP honors in 2015.

The award comes after a record-breaking year that vaulted the Ravens to the top of the AFC — before a surprising one-and-done in the playoffs. But before their season ended in disappointment, the Ravens emerged as one of the best stories in football, almost entirely because of their quarterback. In only his second season and his first full year as a starter, Jackson didn’t just throw for 3,127 yards, a league-best 36 touchdowns, and the league’s third-highest passer rating (113.3), he also broke Michael Vick’s single season rushing record for a quarterback with 1,206 rushing yards and scored seven touchdown on the ground, bringing his touchdown total to 43. 

It’s worth noting he did all of that in only 15 games, as he sat out in Week 17 due to the Ravens having already clinched home-field advantage in the playoffs. With Jackson under center, the Ravens went 13-2. One year removed from Patrick Mahomes‘ historic 5,000-yard, 50-touchdown MVP season, Jackson provided the NFL with an equally awesome MVP performance. 

For roughly half the season, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson appeared to be very much in the thick of the MVP conversation. But as the Ravens ripped off win after win after win (they went from 2-2 to 14-2), Wilson and the Seahawks failed to keep pace. Add in Mahomes’ dislocated kneecap that cost him almost three full games, and it was pretty clear by mid-November that Jackson was going to take home MVP honors, which was confirmed on Saturday. 

It’s the second straight year that a quarterback in his first full season as a starter has beaten out a future Hall of Famer who has never captured MVP honors. Last year, it was Drew Brees who fell short due to a second-year quarterback submitting a historic season. This year, it was Wilson’s turn.

Meanwhile, after a stunning early exit in the playoffs, Jackson ended his 2019 season on a high note.