NFL: Brees named Offensive Player of Year award
Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 6, 2009
NEW YORK ó Drew Brees understood what breaking a record set by Dan Marino would mean to the New Orleans Saints.
So coming up 15 yards short was disappointing to the Saints quarterback, who won The Associated Press 2008 NFL Offensive Player of the Year award Tuesday.
Brees threw for 5,069 yards, 15 fewer than Marino’s 1984 mark and only the second time someone has eclipsed 5,000 yards passing in a season.
“The only reason I still even think about it is because I know how much it would have meant to the offensive line and the skill position guys,” Brees said. “Those guys were 10 times more upset than I was about not getting the record. I just feel like they really, especially down the stretch, looked at that as something that, for all the heartache and all the ups and downs we had this season, that was something they hang their hats on.
“So that’s who I wanted to get it for, so that’s why I’m still upset. I’m over it, for myself, but I guess I’m not over it for them.”
Although the Saints were 8-8 and didn’t make the playoffs, Brees performed so well he earned 22 votes in balloting by a nationwide panel of 50 sports writers and broadcasters who cover the league. That easily beat Peyton Manning, the NFL Most Valuable Player for the third time for Indianapolis, and Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson. They tied for second with nine votes each.
San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers received six votes, and Carolina running back DeAngelo Williams (2), Atlanta running back Michael Turner (1) and Carolina wide receiver Steve Smith (1) also got votes.
“I don’t come out from week to week and say I have to throw for 300 (yards),” Brees said. “I don’t think about that. It’s really about what I can do to help this team win.
“Certainly in this offense, being the quarterback, you’re in the driver’s seat. You have the opportunity to control every play and have it in your hands. Every play is about me making good decisions and putting it in a guy’s hands who is open or our playmakers working to their strengths. That’s my job.”
Brees tied with Rivers, his former teammate with the Chargers, with a league-leading 34 touchdown passes. Brees was fourth in passer rating (96.2) and led the league in attempts (635) and completions (413).
He also spent much of the season without key weapons like receiver Marques Colston, running back Reggie Bush and tight end Jeremy Shockey, who were plagued by injuries.
Yet Brees kept throwing ó and connecting.