Posted on: January 2, 2009 8:14 pm
Michael Turner - 17 TD's and second in rushing yards at 1699. Definitely a huge role in turning the Falcons around. It can be argued, however, that Jerrious Norwood could do an adequate job in filling the RB position as he ran for nearly 500 yards and had 5.1 ypc average - more than half a yard better than Turner. The passing game was also solid with Matt Ryan and Roddy White. Turner only had six catches to help that phase out. Maybe Offensive Player of the year is possible, but there were enough other things that played big roles in the Falcons success to keep from crowning him Most Valuable Player.
DeAngelo Williams - 20 total TD's and third in rushing at 1515. Many of the same reasons as Turner that he didn't get a lot of consideration. Jonathan Stewart had 10 TD's and 800 plus rushing yards and Steve Smith had 1400 plus receiving yards and 7 TD's. His non-existance in the first half of the season didn't help either.
Brandon Jacobs - Inconsistancy with injury plagued him. Derrick Ward did a fine job filling in for him - even a 200 plus yard game. Its likely that much of the credit goes to the Giants O-line.
Adrian Peterson - Lead league in rushing with 1760 rushing yards with a decent 10 TD's. He simply needed to score more and fumble less. But with the Vikings lacking a threat at QB, it can be argued that he was the most valuable to his team out of these three RB's. Not a chance the Vikings make the playoffs without him. Again, the fumbles hurt him too much. He put the rock on the ground 9 times.
Chad Pennington - 3653 passing yards, 19 TD passes, 7 picks, 97.4 rating. He was the epitomy of game-manager this year. Unfortunately, an MVP must be a game-changer. Ronnie Brown was more of that for the Dolphins than Pennington was. Why he was second in votes is somewhat puzzling, given the resumes of the other candidates this year.
Matt Ryan - Great rookie season, but he got his award for that. He wasn't the most valuable player on his team as Michael Turner most certainly was.
Kurt Warner - It was his to lose at the midpoint of the season, but in each of the six weeks leading up to Week 17, his interception total matched his touchdown passes total. Can't have that. He also had two of the top five receivers in the league to throw to in Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin.
Phillip Rivers - Great "Offensive player of the year" stats. But a lack of leadership and an 8-8 record is no means for an MVP.
Defensive Players - I am certainly not saying that guys like James Harrison and Ed Reed aren't deserving because obviously, they certainly are. But defenses pride themselves much more as units than offensives do. When you think of greatness on the defensive side, you think the Steel Curtain, the Purple People Eaters, the '85 Bears, and the '00 Ravens. Obviously, you can draw legendary names from each of these defenses but, because there aren't as many stats and such, there isn't the individualism aspect that there is on offense. When you think greatness on the offensive side, you think individuals - Joe Montana, Walter Payton, Jerry Rice, etc. There are differing opinions on this issue but I believe the MVP should go to a player on offense. That is why there is the Defensive Player of the year award. And defenses really get rewarded when the team wins a Super Bowl because, after all, defenses win championships.
That leaves us with Peyton Manning. If you haven't already, please read this week's Monday Morning QB article by Sports Illustrated's Peter King at http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/20
index.html. Its amazing how he overcame the obstacles that this season brought forth and was able to go on a nine game tear to finish it out. He is truly deserving of it. As a leader and fourth quarter general, he is unequaled by any active player. And his stats are worthy too. I, personally, hate the Colts and the success they have year in and year out. But that success is because of Peyton Manning. You take him out of the equation and the Colts don't make it to seven playoff appearances in the past seven years. Maybe three or four - and certainly not this year after starting 3-4. He is the ultimate player-coach and is every bit as deserving of the MVP as he got credit for.
But congrats to all the players who had an excellent regular season. It was a fun one to watch and I'm even more excited for what the platoffs have to offer.