So let’s get this straight.
Saints quarterback Drew Brees’ performance in 2008 merited not a single vote for the Associated Press MVP award. Not one. Not even half of one.
But Brees did enough to be named the league’s offensive player of the year. By the same Associated Press (and likely the same voters) that determine the MVP.
Our only explanation is that all postseason voting was performed under the influence of egg nog. (Or Yoo-hoo.)
How can it be that Brees got 22 votes for one award, and none for the other?
And please don’t give us the “he was a fabulous performer but was simply not valuable to his team because they missed the playoffs” crap. A quarterback has a clear and obvious connection to the fate of his team. Piling up a bunch of passing yards without doing enough to be regarded as “valuable” makes such a quarterback no better than a kicker.
In our view, it’s another example of the profound problems with the AP voting procedures. A system based on fifty first-place-only (unless we’re dealing in fractions) votes simply doesn’t work.
(Maybe we’ve found a way around it. Since votes can be split, then the voters can create their own Heisman-style system by giving one guy 1/2 of the vote, another one 3/10, and a third player 2/10.)
Meanwhile, there continues to be a presumption that these awards are in some way the “official” NFL postseason prizes. As NFL spokesman Greg Aiello has told us, they’re not. The only official awards are Super Bowl MVP, Pro Bowl MVP, and Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year.
That said, the NFL should have “official” awards, and the awards should be distributed at a banquet held in the days preceding the Super Bowl, and televised on ESPN or NFLN. (But no one has asked our opinion on that or any other matter. Which explains the ongoing financial and popular success of the sport.)
Until the league sets up its own postseason awards, folks will continue to believe that the flawed system utilized by the AP — in which a quarterback who throws for 5,069 passing yards can get no votes for MVP and 22 for offensive player of the year — represents the official, league-approved recognition of on-field excellence.
Behind Brees, Colts quarterback Peyton Manning and Vikings running back Adrian Peterson tied for second place, with nine votes each. Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers received six votes. Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams pocketed two. And Falcons running back Michael Turner and Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith (really?) received one.
Curious ommissions include Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner (who received an MVP vote and threw for 754 more yards that Rivers), Titans running back Chris Johnson (who received an MVP vote), and Texans receiver Andre Johnson (who led the league in receptions and receiving yards).
So let’s get this straight.