Quarterbacks DREW BREES of the New Orleans Saints, PEYTON MANNING of the Indianapolis Colts and KURT WARNER of the Arizona Cardinals are the finalists for 2008 FedEx Air NFL Player of the Year honors, while running backs ADRIAN PETERSON of the Minnesota Vikings, MICHAEL TURNER of the Atlanta Falcons and DE ANGELO WILLIAMS of the Carolina Panthers are the finalists for 2008 FedEx Ground NFL Player of the Year honors, the NFL announced today.
Fans can vote for one player in each category on NFL.com/FedEx from 2:00 PM ET on Monday, January 5 through 12:00 PM ET on Friday, January 23 to determine the 2008 FedEx Air & Ground NFL Players of the Year.
The FedEx Air & Ground NFL Players of the Year will be announced on Wednesday, January 28 at a press conference during the week of Super Bowl XLIII in Tampa Bay.
Fans will be voting for more than their favorite player. As part of this season’s Air & Ground program, FedEx teamed up with Safe Kids USA – a national non-profit organization that works to prevent accidental injury among children – to deliver safer kids by making weekly $1,000 donations in each of the winning players’ names. The funding directly benefits local Safe Kids coalitions in that team’s city, to fund pedestrian safety improvements throughout the year.
Additionally, FedEx hosted special safety events throughout the season in various NFL markets. These local programs showcased the various pedestrian safety initiatives that FedEx has been proud to support. FedEx also made donations to the local Safe Kids coalitions in each of these cities.
FedEx will make a special $25,000 donation to the Tampa Safe Kids chapter, as well as make $25,000 donations to the winning FedEx Air & Ground NFL Players of the Year players’ local Safe Kids coalitions. This year, FedEx celebrates its fifth year of the program and surpasses the $1 million mark in funding to create safer communities for children.
A closer look at the 2008 FedEx Air NFL Player of the Year finalists:
· New Orleans’ Drew Brees demonstrated his offensive air attack leading the NFL in pass attempts (635), pass completions (413), passing yards (5,069) and completions of 25 yards or more (35). His 5,069 passing yards establish him as the second player in NFL history to surpass the 5,000 yard mark. Brees is the only Saint to pass for more than 4,000 yards in three consecutive seasons and his 34 touchdowns are a franchise record. Brees’ season began with a 24-20 win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in which he completed 23 of 32 passes for 343 yards and three touchdowns. Brees posted 10 300+ yard performances, tying an NFL record, including two games where he surpassed the 400-yard mark. Brees was nominated for five FedEx Air NFL Player of the Week awards in 2008, winning twice.
· Indianapolis’ Peyton Manning led the Colts to an NFL–record sixth consecutive season with 12 or more wins and their seventh straight playoff appearance while passing for 4,002 yards, 27 touchdowns and 371 completions, ranking second in the AFC. In the final four games of the season, Manning completed 90 of 110 passing attempts for 1,054 yards and eight touchdowns while posting a 130.8 quarterback rating. Manning also posted four 300+ yard passing games and was able to successfully execute six fourth quarter/overtime game-winning drives this season. In the Colts’ 31-24 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Manning passed for 364 yards completing 29 of 34 attempts for three touchdowns while posting a 140.7 quarterback rating. Manning was nominated for four FedEx Air NFL Player of the Week awards in 2008, winning once.
· Arizona’s Kurt Warner broke numerous franchise records while leading the Cardinals to a 9-7 record and a playoff berth. Warner established new records for completions (401), attempts (598), passer rating (96.9), passing touchdowns (30) and completion percentage (67.1). Warner’s 4,583 passing yards ranked second in Cardinals’ history and second in the NFL. Completing touchdowns in games 9-16 in 2007 and games 1-14 in 2008, Warner also established a record for consecutive games with a touchdown pass. Warner tallied seven 300+ yard passing games, adding to his career total of 48. In Week 2 against the Miami Dolphins, Warner completed 19 of 24 attempts, passing for 361 yards and three touchdowns and posting a quarterback rating of 158.3 as the Cardinals defeated the Dolphins 31-10. Warner was nominated for five FedEx Air NFL Player of the Week awards in 2008, winning twice.
A closer look at the FedEx Ground NFL Player of the Year finalists:
· Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson became the first Vikings running back to earn an NFL rushing title with 1,760 yards. The 1,760 rushing yards and his 10 100-yard games established new single-season rushing records in both categories. Peterson averaged 110.0 yards per game on the ground in 2008 to break his own Vikings record for a season set in 2007 at 96.0 yards per game. Peterson became the fifth player in NFL history to rush for 3,000+ yards in their first two seasons. Continuing to demonstrate his dominance in the field, Peterson amassed 192 yards and one touchdown on 30 carries in the Vikings’ Week 10 28-27 win over the Green Bay Packers. Peterson was nominated for four FedEx Ground NFL Player of the Week awards in 2008, winning three times.
· Atlanta’s Michael Turner amassed 1,699 rushing yards, the second highest in the NFL, and 17 touchdowns on the ground giving him the Falcons’ record for most rushing touchdowns in a season. Turner posted eight 100-yard games and topped the 200-yard mark twice this season. In Week 1, Turner rushed for 220 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries as the Falcons defeated the Lions 34-21. Turner notched a total of four multi-touchdown performances, including Week 12 when he rushed for four touchdowns in the Falcons’ 45-28 win over the Panthers. Turner and the Falcons achieved an 11-5 record and a No. 5 seed in the Playoffs. Turner was nominated for five FedEx Ground NFL Player of the Week awards in 2008, winning twice.
· Carolina’s DeAngelo Williams rushed for career-highs this season tallying 1,515 yards and 18 touchdowns on the ground this year on 273 attempts. Williams surpassed Stephen Davis’ previous mark of 1,444 to establish a franchise record for most rushing yards in one season. His touchdown mark also set a new record for rushing touchdowns. Williams set a new single-game franchise record with his 186 yards rushing and two touchdowns against Tampa Bay in Week 14, amassing his ninth career 100-yard rushing game. Finishing with a total of eight 100-yard games this season, Williams established a franchise record amongst Panthers running backs with 11 career 100-yard rushing games. Williams was nominated for five FedEx Ground NFL Player of the Week awards in 2008, winning once.