this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Drew Brees' MVP chances take hit with loss to Dallas Cowboys: Jeff Duncan The New Orleans Saints lost more than a football game Saturday night. They likely lost their chance at an MVP award. The collateral damage from New Orleans' ...
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|12-21-2009, 10:46 PM||#1|
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Drew Brees' MVP chances take hit with loss to Dallas Cowboys: Jeff Duncan
The New Orleans Saints lost more than a football game Saturday night.
They likely lost their chance at an MVP award.
The collateral damage from New Orleans' 24-17 loss to the Dallas Cowboys at the Superdome might have claimed quarterback Drew Brees' chances of winning the league's most prestigious individual honor.
Brees performed admirably. He completed 29 of 45 passes for 298 yards and a touchdown, and he determinedly led the Saints to a furious comeback in the fourth quarter.
But he committed all three Saints turnovers -- an interception and two fumbles -- and had a chance to heroically lead New Orleans to an improbable score-tying touchdown with two minutes remaining but failed to deliver. His fumble with six seconds remaining ended the game.
Instead of pulling a rabbit from a hat, he pulled a lump of coal.
More important, it paled in comparison to the work of his main MVP rival: Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning.
From all indications, Manning owned a slight lead over Brees in the minds of most voters before kickoff Saturday night -- and Brees could not afford a setback.
With Manning pushing the Colts (14-0) to an unbeaten season, there was little margin for error.
On Sunday morning, I emailed 40 of the 50 people who will vote for the MVP award and asked them two questions: One, did Brees' performance spoil his shot at the award; and two, will it affect their vote.
Twenty-eight of them responded, and their answers varied.
Most agreed the race is a two-arm race between Manning and Brees, with Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre a distant third. Most said Manning was slightly ahead of Brees but insisted Brees remains in the mix.
"If I had to vote today, I'd probably lean slightly to Manning, but not by much, and I'm still open to Brees finishing strong while Manning maybe rests some the next two weeks, " said Don Banks of Sports Illustrated.
"Every game matters, " said Peter King of Sports Illustrated, who attended the Cowboys-Saints game and watched it from the press box. "And certainly there would be a premium on a quarterback playing at the top of his game going 16-0. But he's not eliminated because of one performance in which he was chased all over creation."
Said Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News: "Unlike the Heisman Trophy, the NFL MVP award is not based on one game. Brees remains in the mix with Manning and Favre."
Others said it was a setback.
"Brees greatly damaged his chances, " said Alex Marvez of FoxSports.com. "He and Manning were neck and neck entering this weekend. Manning came through in crunch-time and had almost a flawless performance. Brees? Not so much."
Said Ira Kaufman of the Tampa Tribune: "I had Manning slightly ahead of Brees coming into this weekend, and now he is a little further ahead. Brees dropped a notch last night, but it's still Manning's award to lose."
Said Charean Williams of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, who, like King and Marvez, attended the game: "I think Peyton moved to the top of my ballot. If the Colts go undefeated, I think it's a lock for Peyton."
No Saint has won the MVP. In fact, none has even been in the mix.
Saints quarterback Archie Manning was chosen the NFC MVP by United Press International in 1978, and Brees was selected the Associated Press Offensive Player of the Year last season.
Brees, though, is a bona-fide contender this season, and his overall numbers are superior to Manning's.
Brees has thrown for slightly fewer yards (4,130 to Manning's 4,213) but has matched Manning's 33 touchdowns while having completed a higher percentage (68.4 percent to 68.6) for a higher yards per attempt (8.7 to 7.9) with fewer interceptions (11 to 15).
But Manning's pursuit of perfection and Brees' recent stumble in that mission might prove to be the deciding factor.
"If the Colts finish 16-0, Manning will likely win, but if the Colts are 15-1, it's wide open -- I think, " Banks said.
Brees, more than anything, is a victim of bad timing.
His performances the past two seasons have been MVP worthy.
In 2008, he nearly broke Dan Marino's NFL season record for passing yards, but his team -- through no fault of his own -- faltered to an 8-8 finish, largely because of shaky defense and special teams.
Despite passing for the second most yards in NFL history and single-handedly keeping New Orleans in almost every game, Brees did not garner an MVP vote.
This season, Brees has directed the Saints to a franchise-best 13-1 start.
Seven teams in NFL history have started 13-0. Brees picked the only year when two teams have done it in the same season.
It's like an individual version of the Saints-49ers rivalry of the mid-1980s and early 1990s, when New Orleans would win 12 games and San Francisco would win the Super Bowl.
Brees could find himself in a similar spot going against Manning this season
Drew Brees' MVP chances take hit with loss to Dallas Cowboys: Jeff Duncan | New Orleans Saints Central - - NOLA.com
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