It should not have been close. The scandal of it is that Brett Favre is already a three time MVP from the 1995-97 seasons, which was a record until now. That he lost the award to another great, Peyton Manning, in itself is not scandalous; that he lost it this season is.
Favre had 33 touchdown passes this season, only 1 fewer than Drew Brees — who did not win the award either — and threw the fewest interceptions (seven) of any starter in the league. Brees threw 11. The great Tom Brady threw the ball to the other squad 13 times. Peyton Manning threw sixteen interceptions, while throwing the same number of touchdown passes as Mr. Favre.
The quarterback rating, whose formula is admittedly shrouded in mystery but combines completion percentage, passing yards, and passing touchdowns into a useful number, favors Favre over the winner Manning as well. Manning's rating was 99.9 out of a best possible number of 158.3. Favre's was 107.2. Brees posted the best in the league at 109.6. That’s a lot of numbers, but these numbers point to a simple question: What is going on here?
With Manning leading in only one significant category, having 4,500 passing yards under his belt (to Brees' 4,398 and Favre's 4,202) how did Peyton Manning win this award?
What is worse is that Manning got the lion's share of the 50 first place votes. Brees got 7. Favre got 1. It is undeniable that Manning was statistically the most proficient quarterback in this recently closed first decade in the twenty-first century. If we were looking for a “MVP of the decade” award, Manning’s triumph may have made more sense.
But this year, Brees was better and so was Favre. If Favre had lost this fourth MVP award to Brees narrowly, I would be OK with that. Brees was incredible. But Manning? No way. I don't even understand the reasoning. Manning isn't even the best player on his own team. Center Jeff Saturday is. Even Peyton agrees with that one.
I understand that centers don't win MVPs. That being said, in a year where every MVP vote went to quarterbacks, how did Brett Favre only get 1 vote? Football fans everywhere deserve an answer.
Maybe the voters have soured on Favre's retirement dance, which has commenced every spring for at least 5 years. Maybe they are getting revenge for all the rhapsodic praise lavished on Favre in that same five years by announcers and fans alike.
I am guilty of this.
We all are, because we were late in appreciating this legend, whose prime in the 1990s was in a league that still included Dan Marino, Joe Montana, John Elway, and Troy Aikman at that position.
Given the chance to shine on his own, he should have been able to add another laurel to his record. The fact remains that Brett Favre, a three-time MVP and Super Bowl champion who has started every game since September 20, 1992, put up his best season in his 19th year at the age of 40.
Is that worth more than one vote? It is to me. So how did this happen? Oh, I almost forgot: the award is given by the Associated Press. Shame on them.
Jason Kettinger is a contributing editor to Open for Business.