NFC South: Most Valuable Player award

More on Matt Ryan and MVP

December, 26, 2012
On Saturday night/Sunday morning, I wrote this column in which I said Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan has resurrected his campaign for the Most Valuable Player award with his play in recent weeks.

Ryan had been getting a lot of MVP talk early in the season, but that seemed to fade around midseason. But I’m not the only one saying Ryan’s back in the MVP conversation.

Mike Sando leads this week’s MVP Watch with Ryan and currently has him ranked No. 2 to Peyton Manning. No offense to Manning, who is an excellent candidate, but I’ll throw out one other stat for those that like to point out the Falcons have had an easy schedule.

In games against teams with winning records, the Falcons are 4-0. In those games, Ryan has thrown seven touchdowns and just one interception.

Not that it matters, but I already hit our SportsNation poll and gave Ryan a No. 1 vote. If you’re an Atlanta fan, you might want to do the same thing.

Drew Brees gets consolation prize

February, 4, 2012
New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees has been named NFL Offensive Player of the Year by the Associated Press. Nice honor, but I view that as a sign of things to come and I’m not talking about something good.

I’m talking about the Most Valuable Player Award. That hasn’t been announced yet. But, unless my instincts and everything I’ve heard are wrong, Brees isn’t going to be the MVP. The conventional wisdom is that award will go to Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers.

No offense to Rodgers, who certainly had a great year. But I don’t think I’m the only one who finds it strange that Brees had one of the greatest seasons ever by a quarterback (or any player) and he’s not the MVP.

Brees set an NFL record for passing yards in a season (5,476) and his numbers were as good or better than Rodgers’ in just about every category.

I see two reasons why it’s seemed like a foregone conclusion that Rodgers will be the MVP. First, the Packers went 15-1. Second, the Packers are a national team.

You can’t really change that now and the difference between Green Bay’s 15-1 mark and New Orleans’ 13-3 record isn’t that much, especially when you consider that both teams came up short of the NFC Championship Game.

But there are two ways to remedy this going forward. The first one is simple. The Saints have to go out and win more games than the Packers, with Brees still putting up huge numbers. The second is for the Saints to become a bit more of a national team.

They’re close. They’ve got a dedicated local fan base and a pretty large national profile, which has grown tremendously since the arrival of Brees and coach Sean Payton in recent years. But there’s still room for growth.

The way to achieve that growth is for Brees to continue to play the way he has and the Saints to win a bunch of games.

If by some wild chance, Brees does win the MVP, I’ll jump back in. But I think the Offensive Player of the Year is his consolation prize.

Update: The announcement just came. Rodgers was named MVP.

Some honors for the NFC South

January, 17, 2012
The Pro Football Weekly/Pro Football Writers of America All-Rookie team and All-NFL team are out and we’ve got some pretty slight NFC South representation.

On the rookie team, Carolina quarterback Cam Newton, Atlanta receiver Julio Jones, Atlanta punter Matt Bosher and Atlanta special teams player Akeem Dent all made the team.

Newton also was the Rookie of the Year, but this is not to be confused with the Associated Press Rookie of the Year award, which will be announced at a later date.

Only two division players made the All-NFL team. They were New Orleans guards Jahri Evans and Carl Nicks.

Also, we should note New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees did not win the Most Valuable Player award. As expected that went to Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers. Again, this isn’t the same as the Associated Press Most Valuable Player award. That’s viewed as the most prestigious award and player contracts often include incentives for winning that.

Your chance to vote for Brees

January, 11, 2010
I’ve heard from a lot of New Orleans fans who were disappointed quarterback Drew Brees finished such a distant second to Peyton Manning in the Most Valuable Player award voting.

Well, here’s your chance to do something about it. This time, you can vote.

Brees is a finalist for the FedEx Air NFL Player of the Year award. Manning and Brett Favre are the other finalists. If you want to give Brees the credit you think he deserves, go here and vote.