Drew Brees, this season's NFL Offensive Player of the Year, will have to wait until next season to collect his first MVP Award.
First, he will have to re-sign with the New Orleans Saints.
Brees has been steadily improving since his 2001 rookie season with the San Diego Chargers. More so, after San Diego decided to put their future in Philip Rivers as they let Brees leave in free agency to sign with the Saints in 2005.
This turned out to be the best football decision Brees has ever made.
Signing with the Saints teamed Brees and head coach/offensive genius Sean Payton together to produce what can be considered as a re-imagining of the Greatest Show on Turf.
In his first season in New Orleans, Payton took a team that finished 3-13 the previous year to a 10-6 record and the playoffs with Brees as his QB.
With Brees leading the Saints offense, it ranked first in the league in total offense and passing yards per game in 2006. Fourth in total offense and third in passing yards per game in 2007, first and first in 2008, first and third in 2009.
In 2010, the Saints total offense finished out of the league's top five for the first time since Brees arrived, but it still ranked third in passing yards per game.
This season, New Orleans ranked first in the league in both total offense and passing yards per game with Brees having the best season of his career as he threw for 5,476 yards, 46 TDs and 14 INTs with a completion percentage of 71.2.
Brees has proven that he has mastered Payton's offense, and if he has a season similar to his previous one, it would be very hard to argue that he won't be next year's MVP. Especially since the voting system favors QBs—since 2000 all MVPs have been QBs except for three times.
Here are five more reasons Brees will be MVP.
It didn't take long to get Darren Sproles acclimated with the New Orleans Saints offense. Besides leading the team in rushing, Sproles was their second-leading receiver with 86 catches. He was also Brees' second-favorite go-to guy, with 111 targets.
Jimmy Graham, Brees' favorite target, in only his second season, had 99 catches for 1,310 yards and 11 TDs.
Then there is also Lance Moore, Robert Meachem, Deverey Henderson and Pierre Thomas, all of whom can catch the ball. Moore and Thomas both had 50 or more catches, while Meachem and Henderson had over 30.
There is also Marques Colston, the Saints second-leading receiver, in terms of yards, who may or may not leave in free agency. Colston is a proven weapon, as he has five seasons with more than 1,000 receiving yards.
But, if Colston does leave, Brees' weapons chest would not suffer too much since the Saints can draft a receiver or sign a cheaper one and plug them right into the offensive system as they have done in the past.
In Colston's rookie season, he had over 1,000 yards receiving yards in just 14 games. Sproles, well everyone saw what he can do in only his first year in New Orleans.
The New Orleans Saints offensive line was the second-best line in the league last season.
It allowed Drew Brees to get sacked only 24 times and only allowed 51 QB hits, a league low.
Each lineman is young, 28-years-old or younger, and healthy.
Carl Nicks, its left guard, must be its No. 1 priority in the offseason as he is a free agent. Well, maybe its second priority, behind Brees.
I know teams can sometimes make great turnarounds quickly, as evidenced by this season's San Francisco 49ers, and I know how John Harbaugh transformed a defense ranked 13th to fourth in just one offseason.
But New Orleans has two really bad defenses in its division.
The Saints get to play two games against the Carolina Panthers, a team whose defense ranked 28th in the league this season, and two games against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, whose defense ranked 30th in the league.
They also have two games against the Atlanta Falcons, with a 12th ranked defense, who play inside on a fast track where Drew Brees is at his best. In the two games they played last season, Brees averaged 314 passing yards and two TDs.
Brees also faces the New York Giants again. This season, Brees threw for 363 yards and four TDs against them, granted, it was a home game.
With these inferior defenses, Brees can add up the yardage as he did this season.
It may not matter too much or it may matter just enough to affect the reigning MVP, Aaron Rodgers', numbers to dip enough that Drew Brees can overtake him. I'm referring to the fact that Rodgers has a new offensive coordinator and QBs coach.
If both coaches bring a new style that Rodgers needs some time to adjust too, it works in Brees' favor, as his coaching staff remains intact.
A healthy Peyton Manning may challenge for another MVP, but there is too much uncertainty. Even if he returns to the Indianapolis Colts, the system and coaching staff he knew and was comfortable with is gone, as owner Jim Irsay cleaned house, firing just about everyone involved with Manning era.
Tom Brady can be in the chase, but since he has already won two MVPs, maybe the judges will have sympathy for Brees and judge him more on his career stats rather than just next season's.
Of course, in this situation, Brees must have numbers close to Brady's.
Ben Roethlisberger, who could've been a darkhorse MVP candidate is possibly out of it since he has to learn a whole new offensive system because of the arrival of Todd Haley, the new offensive coordinator he may be having problems with already.
Michael Vick? He's just too injury-prone. Vick has only played a full season once in his career. Plus, it may be a little bit of a public relations problem for the NFL.
Just three times since 1957 has the NFL MVP Award been given to a player who played another position than QB or RB.
The last season the MVP went to a RB was in 2006 when LaDainian Tomlinson ran for 1,815 rushing yards while having 56 receptions for 508 receiving yards, along with 31 total TDs.
Since 2006, the NFL has become more pass-friendly. Back in 2006, there were a total of five QBs who passed for over 4,000 yards. This season, that number doubled, as 10 QBs passed for over 4,000 yards, with three QBs passing for over 5,000 yards.
Also, teams have given up on the idea of the lead back, with many teams now utilizing a dual-threat backfield. In 2006, 23 RBs rushed for over 1,000 yards; this season, only 14.
Jones-Drew led the league in rushing last season with 1,606 yards and wasn't even part of the argument.
Peterson is out of the race since tearing his ACL.
It looks like the voting committee for the MVP is fascinated with the QB, which bodes well for Brees.
If Chris Johnson could not win it in 2009 when he went over 2,000 yards rushing, 503 receiving yards and 16 total TDs, what hope can RBs possibly have?