Peyton Manning Wins Fourth MVP
Manning received 37 1/2 of a possible 50 votes, with Saints QB Drew Brees finishing a distant second at 7 1/2. San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers picked up two votes, with Minnesota quarterback Brett Favre claiming one.
Manning now holds the 2003, 2004, 2008 and 2009 AP MVP trophies -- the latest one breaking a tie with Favre for the most MVP wins ever.
"I'm very humbled and grateful to be honored with this award and I really feel like it is a reflection of our team," Manning told the AP. "I have to believe that starting 14-0 and having seven comeback wins has a lot to do with this award coming our way, and I'm very grateful to all the players and the coaches and our fans, who were a big part of it. There were a number of other extremely deserving candidates."
For the 12th straight season Manning, 33, started all 16 games for the Colts. He has not missed a start since the Colts made him the No. 1 overall pick in the 1998 draft. Manning threw for an even 4,500 yards in 2009 -- the second-highest total of his career, behind a mark of 4,557 in 2004 -- along with 33 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. He finished second to Houston's Matt Schaub (4,770) for yards passing, and in a second-place tie with Favre for TD passes, one behind Brees.
Manning's QB rating of 99.9 was good for sixth in the league.
Brees appeared to be in more serious contention for MVP honors after New Orleans' 13-0 start. But he threw just two total TD passes in losses in Weeks 15 and 16, then sat out Week 17. Favre was also considered one of the favorites when Minnesota bolted to a 10-1 start. His chances dwindled, though, with the Vikings' 2-3 close to the year.
Rivers, on the other hand, has an 11-game win streak in San Diego heading into the playoffs. His 4,254 yards passing and 28 touchdowns pale in comparison to Manning's numbers, however, and a slow start to the season may have doomed his case.
Chris Johnson, who rushed for 2,006 yards this season -- becoming just the sixth player in NFL history to top the 2,000-yard rushing plateau. Johnson also set the NFL record for most yards gained from scrimmage in a single season with 2,509, topping Marshall Faulk's previous mark of 2,429.
None of that compared to Manning's efforts in the voters' eyes -- whose case may have actually been enhanced when he was rested in Week 16, only to see backup Curtis Painter implode and the Colts' shot at a perfect season end.