Based on the award title alone, "Offensive Player of the Year," you’d expect Ben Roethlisberger or Brett Favre to be in the running, but the AP doesn’t mean that kind of "offensive." No, they meant "offensive" as in, "the best NFL player who plays for the offense." I bet you now feel as silly as I did once I figured that out.
Now that we have that bit of confusion out of the way, we can move on and talk about the Associated Press Player of the Year awards.
I’ll start out by saying that no Chargers received Defensive Player of the Year votes.
That brings us back to the Offensive Player of the Year. It should come as no surprise that Tom Brady, along with his flowing locks, ran away with the award this year. Brady received nearly twice as many votes as Michael Vick, the second-place finisher.
Find out who else got votes, and more, after the break.
Below is the chart of players receiving votes, with 50 votes being up for grabs:
The list doesn’t really bother me all that much, nor does it surprise me one bit. Brady may not have lead the league in every category this year, Philip Rivers had more yards, more completions, and a higher completion percentage (albeit by a mere 0.1%). What makes Brady most impressive though is the fact he had 36 touchdowns, against only 4 interceptions. Brady also broke the record for most consecutive completions without an interception this year. Oh yeah, and there's that little bit about him playing on the East Coast. A lot of people argue that Brady is successful because the New England offensive system around him calls for more short, low-risk passes. That may be, but it works and gets the job done in New England.
Michael Vick doesn’t really surprise me much either. He was this year’s media darling, being trotted out in lead stories on sports shows across the nation, showing him running up and down the field, making passes and dashing into the end zone. There was certainly a concerted effort to get the public to forget about his troubled past, and say, "Dogs? shmogs! Hey look, this guy can play quarterback good and stuff!"
Arian Foster exploded into the limelight in the very first game of the 2010 season when he ran all over the Indianapolis Colts for 231 yards and 3 touchdowns. He didn’t slow down much from there, as he ended the season leading the league in both total yards and touchdowns, while averaging nearly 5 yards per carry and 101 yards per game.
That brings us to Philip Rivers. What more can be said that hasn’t been said already by us here? Thanks to injuries in the receiving corps, Philip Rivers ended up completing passes to 17 different receivers this year; including touchdown passes to 14 different receivers. That’s pretty impressive in its own right. Add to the fact that Rivers was able to lead the league in total yards with a decimated receiving corps, and a 101.8 passer rating, makes it all the more impressive.
The Chargers had to come from behind often this year, which would account for the high number of total yards for Rivers. But it’s still impressive he was even able to get all that yardage and complete those passes in high-stress, and many times high-risk, situations.
We could argue that Philip deserved to garner more votes than he did, but given the competition this year, and the fact that this is the media voting on the award, the positioning comes as no surprise to this writer.