No MVP? No Playoffs? No Problem: Drew Brees Wins AP Offensive Player of the Year

Vincent JacksonCorrespondent IJanuary 6, 2009

In the NFL's highest-scoring season in 25 years, its most prolific passer had his most explosive season.

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees was named Offensive Player of the Year by the Associated Press on Tuesday. Captain of the NFL's highest-scoring offense, Brees,  came 16 yards from breaking Dan Marino's single-season passing yards record of 5,084 set back in 1984.

Brees also tied for the NFL lead in touchdown passes (34) with ex-Charger teammate Philip Rivers.

Not even in MVP voting consideration, the four-time Pro Bowler tied an NFL record for 300-yard passing games in a season with 10, set by Rich Gannon in 2002.

The Saints did not make the playoffs for the second consecutive season with an 8-8 record but Brees earned 22 of 50 possible first-place votes.

Vikings running back Adrian Peterson and Colts quarterback Peyton Manning (named league MVP last week) each earned nine votes. 

Playing a good portion of the season without key weapons such as Marques Colston, Reggie Bush, and tight end Jeremy Shockey, Brees finished fourth in the NFL in passer rating (96.2) and led the league in passing attempts (635) and completions (413). 

Since coming to New Orleans in 2006, Brees has thrived in Sean Payton's offensive system and has been nothing short of spectacular while eclipsing single-season franchise passing records in each of his first three years. 


Brees on winning the award

"Each year I've gotten better, especially over the last five years," he said. "When I go back to 2004 in San Diego, every year I feel so much more comfortable. I really feel like I've refined my routine and continued to find what works for me. It changes a little bit every year. I tweak it every year to make it a little better, but by doing so, I make myself a better player."


Head Coach Sean Payton

"When you look at the body of work for him and you look at what he's been able to do with the number of guys being hurt," Payton said, "you look at his efficiency down the field with throws over 20 yards, over 30 yards.

"His completion percentage, his red zone, his third-down scoring offense, he's first in every one of those categories. He's worked extremely hard, and when you see what he does in preparation during the work week, it's amazing."