Quarterbacks DREW BREES of the New Orleans Saints, BRETT FAVRE of the Minnesota Vikings and PEYTON MANNING of the Indianapolis Colts are the finalists for the FedEx Air NFL Player of the Year honors, while running backs CHRIS JOHNSON of the Tennessee Titans, MAURICE JONES-DREW of the Jacksonville Jaguars and ADRIAN PETERSON of the Minnesota Vikings are the finalists for the FedEx Ground NFL Player of the Year, the NFL announced today.
Fans can vote for one player in each category on NFL.com/FedEx until Friday, January 29 at 6 pm ET to determine the FedEx Air & Ground NFL Players of the Year.
The FedEx Air & Ground NFL Players of the Year will be announced on Wednesday, February 3 at a press conference during the week of Super Bowl XLIV in South Florida.
Fans will be voting for more than their favorite player. As part of the Air & Ground program, FedEx continues its support of Safe Kids USA – a national non-profit organization that works to prevent accidental injury among children – by making weekly $1,000 donations in the winning players' names. The funding, allocated to local Safe Kids coalitions in that team's city, is used for pedestrian safety improvements throughout the year, from upgraded crosswalks and street signage to countdown timers and educational events.
To complement the weekly program, FedEx hosted pedestrian safety clinics in San Francisco, Chicago and Atlanta, providing additional funding for each of the local Safe Kids coalitions for community improvements, in the form of three $10,000 donations.
This year prior to Super Bowl, FedEx will donate an additional $25,000 to the FedEx Air & Ground NFL Players of the Year winners' local Safe Kids coalitions.
A closer look at the FedEx Air NFL Player of the Year finalists:
- New Orleans' DREW BREES completed 70.62% of his passes in 2009, setting the NFL record for completion percentage in a season. He threw for 4,388 yards, extending his consecutive 4,000 passing yard seasons to four, a franchise record. Brees threw 34 touchdowns and became the first player in NFL history to throw six touchdown passes on Kickoff Weekend. With nine touchdown passes through Week 2, Brees tied for the most TD passes through the first two games of a season. Brees became the fastest quarterback to reach 15,000 passing yards with a team when the Saints beat the Giants in Week 6, reaching this milestone in 53 games. He quarterbacked the Saints to a 13-3 record and the number one seed in the NFC. Brees was nominated for five FedEx Air NFL Player of the Week awards in 2009, winning five times.
- Minnesota's BRETT FAVRE passed for 33 touchdowns, his NFL-record ninth 30+ touchdown season. He totaled three four-touchdown games, setting an NFL record with 23 career four-touchdown games. Favre passed for 4,202 yards, including six games passing for more than 300 yards. He has recorded 61 career 300-yard passing performances, the fourth-most in NFL history. Starting all 16 games in 2009, Favre played in his 287th consecutive regular-season game, setting the record for the longest consecutive game streak in NFL history by a non-kicker/punter. He led the Vikings to a 12-4 record and the number two seed in the NFC. Favre was nominated for five FedEx Air NFL Player of the Week awards in 2009, winning five times.
- Indianapolis' PEYTON MANNING passed for 4,500 yards in 2009, reaching 50,128-career yards. He became the fastest quarterback in NFL history to reach the 50,000-yard mark, accomplishing the feat in 191 career games. Manning threw 33 touchdowns this season and has 366 career-touchdowns (third on the all-time passing touchdowns list). He became the first player all-time to pass for at least 3,500 yards in 12 consecutive seasons and to throw at least 25 touchdown passes in 12 seasons in a row. Starting all 16 games, Manning had nine games passing for more than 300-yards, becoming the third player in NFL history to start a season with five consecutive 300-yard passing games. He completed 68.8% of his passes and quarterbacked the Colts to a 14-2 record and the number one seed in the AFC. Manning was nominated for five FedEx Air NFL Player of the Week awards in 2009, winning twice.
- Tennessee's CHRIS JOHNSON rushed for 2,006 yards in 2009 becoming the sixth player in NFL history to rush for 2,000 yards. He also broke the scrimmage yards record totaling 2,509. Johnson recorded 11 consecutive 100-yard games, tied for the second-longest streak in NFL history, and posted at least 125 rushing yards in six consecutive games, tying the NFL record. This season, Johnson became the first player in NFL history with six consecutive games of 125+ rushing yards and a 5.0+ yards per carry average in each of those games. In Week 2, Johnson became the first player in NFL history to record a 90-plus yard rushing touchdown (91), 50-plus yard rushing touchdown (57), and 60-plus yard receiving touchdown (69) in a game. Johnson started all 16 games and had 14 rushing touchdowns. He was nominated for six FedEx Ground NFL Player of the Week awards in 2009, winning twice. * Jacksonville's MAURICE JONES-DREW started all 16 games and led the team in rushing yards (1,391), touchdowns (16), yards from scrimmage (1,765) and ranked second with 53 receptions. Jones-Drew set the franchise single-season record with 15 rushing touchdowns and he tied for first in the NFL with three touchdown runs of 60-plus yards. Jones-Drew's 1,391 rushing yards ranked third in the AFC, fourth in the NFL and were the third-most in franchise history for a season. He also ranked tied for second in the NFL in touchdowns and fourth in yards from scrimmage. Jones-Drew was one of only 12 players to have three touchdowns in a game in 2009 and was one of only four players to do it twice. Jones-Drew was nominated for four FedEx Ground NFL Player of the Week awards in 2009, winning once. * Minnesota's ADRIAN PETERSON rushed for 1,383 yards and 18 touchdowns, becoming only the third player in history to rush for more than 1,300 yards and more than 10 touchdowns in each of his first three seasons. Peterson started the season on a high note rushing for 180 yards against Cleveland in Week 1, becoming only the third NFL player in history to rush for 100 yards in each of the first three Kickoff Weekends in which he appeared. Peterson also became the first player in NFL history to rush for at least 180 yards and three touchdowns on Kickoff Weekend. Peterson rushed for at least two touchdowns in five different games in 2009 and rushed for more than 100 yards in three different games. Peterson was nominated for two FedEx Ground NFL Player of the Week awards in 2009, winning twice.
As the Official Delivery Service Sponsor of the NFL, Super Bowl and Pro Bowl, FedEx understands the need for a winning game plan, and created the Air & Ground program to highlight superior on-field performance while delivering safe kids off the field. Because FedEx has thousands of delivery trucks out on the roads each day, the company is committed to funding pedestrian safety improvements through its 10-year partnership with Safe Kids USA.
Vote online now at NFL.com/fedex.