FedEx and the NFL today announced the winners of the sixth annual FEDEX AIR & GROUND® NFL PLAYERS OF THE YEAR AWARDS at a press conference in Tampa Bay, site of Super Bowl XLIII.
* Quarterback DREW BREES of the New Orleans Saints was named the FedEx Air NFL Player of the Year.
* Running back ADRIAN PETERSON of the Minnesota Vikings was named the FedEx Ground NFL Player of the Year.
In honor of the winners’ outstanding play, FedEx is donating $25,000 to the Safe Kids USA coalitions in New Orleans and Minneapolis, the local chapters in each player’s market. In addition, the Tampa Safe Kids coalition received a $25,000 donation the week before Super Bowl XLIII.
For the fifth season in a row, the Air & Ground program was a win for the local community. 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 safe kids. Throughout the season, FedEx made weekly $1,000 donations in the names of the Air & Ground NFL Players of the Week to their local Safe Kids coalitions to fund pedestrian safety improvements. Some examples of these pedestrian safety improvements include:
FedEx also hosted special safety education events at a series of elementary schools in NFL markets to educate students about pedestrian safety.
· In Tampa, the police helped identify an area around Sulphur Springs Elementary that was susceptible to speeding, so part of FedEx’s $25,000 donation was used to install speed tables around the area to slow down traffic.
· In Dallas, the Safe Kids coalition used data on local motor pedestrian collisions to identify Arcadia Park Elementary school as the host for future education programming because the location ranked highest in motor pedestrian collisions.
This year, FedEx surpassed the $1 million mark in funding to create safer communities for children as part of the Air & Ground Program.
OUTSTANDING AIR & GROUND PERFORMANCES
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 ten 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.
Peterson became the first Vikings running back to earn an NFL rushing title with 1,760 yards. The 1,760 rushing yards and his ten 100-yard games established new franchise 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 also 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.
Brees and Peterson were selected from a panel of three finalists in each of their respective Air and Ground categories. The finalists were chosen by a panel of NFL experts based on the season’s fan voting. The other FedEx Air NFL Players of the Year finalists were quarterbacks PEYTON MANNING of the Indianapolis Colts and KURT WARNER of the Arizona Cardinals, while the FedEx Ground NFL Players of the Year finalists included running backs MICHAEL TURNER of the Atlanta Falcons and DE ANGELO WILLIAMS of the Carolina Panthers.
More than 1,156,000 fan votes were cast at NFL.com from Monday, January 5 through Friday, January 23, to decide the winners.
Former winners of the FedEx Air & Ground NFL Players of the Year Award include:
· (2007) Green Bay Packers QB BRETT FAVRE and Jacksonville Jaguars RB FRED TAYLOR
· (2006) New Orleans Saints QB DREW BREES and San Diego Chargers RB LA DAINIAN TOMLINSON
· (2005) Bengals QB CARSON PALMER and Seattle Seahawks RB SHAUN ALEXANDER
· (2004) Indianapolis Colts QB PEYTON MANNING and New York Jets RB CURTIS MARTIN
· (2003) Indianapolis Colts QB Peyton Manning and Green Bay Packers RB AHMAN GREEN