Brees and Johnson 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 Brett Favre of the Minnesota Vikings, while the FedEx Ground NFL Players of the Year finalists included running backs Maurice Jones-Drew of the Jacksonville Jaguars and Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings.
More than 2,070,665 fan votes were cast at NFL.com from Monday, Jan. 11 through Friday, Jan. 29, to decide the winners.
Former winners of the FedEx Air & Ground NFL Players of the Year Award include:
» (2008) New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees and Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson
» (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 LaDainian 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
In honor of the winners' outstanding play, FedEx is donating $25,000 to the Safe Kids USA coalitions in New Orleans and Nashville, the local organizations in each player's market.
For the seventh 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 and education efforts.
To complement the weekly program, FedEx also hosted pedestrian safety clinics with NFL players at a series of elementary schools across the country, to educate students about safety and provide $10,000 in additional funding for each of the local Safe Kids coalitions for community improvements.
In Minneapolis, the coalition's executive board worked with the city's public works department to identify a school that was not only susceptible to speeding, but was receiving 500 additional students for the school year. The FedEx donation of more than $25,000 was used by the local Safe Kids coalition at Plymouth Middle School to install two radar speed signs, updated lighting and safety pylons in the road to slow down traffic near the school.
In San Francisco, the Safe Kids coalition will use its $10,000 in funding to improve pedestrian crosswalks, install flashing pedestrian lights and add "no parking" signs around Fair Oaks Elementary School, an area where a large percentage of students walk to school.
Since 2000, FedEx has donated $12 million to support Safe Kids to help improve pedestrian safety efforts worldwide.
As the Official Delivery Service Sponsor of the NFL, Super Bowl and Pro Bowl, FedEx understands the need for a winning game plan, and created the Air & Ground program to highlight superior on-field performance while delivering safe kids off the field. Because FedEx has thousands of delivery trucks out on the roads each day, the company is committed to funding pedestrian safety improvements through its 10-year partnership with Safe Kids USA.
FedEx Air - Quarterbacks
FedEx Ground -- Running Backs
Brees completed 70.62 percent of his passes in 2009, setting the NFL record for completion percentage in a season. He threw for 4,388 yards, extending his consecutive 4,000 passing yard seasons to four, a franchise record. Brees threw 34 touchdowns and became the first player in NFL history to throw six touchdown passes on Kickoff Weekend. With nine touchdown passes through Week 2, Brees tied for the most TD passes through the first two games of a season. Brees became the fastest quarterback to reach 15,000 passing yards with a team when the Saints beat the Giants in Week 6, reaching this milestone in 53 games. He quarterbacked the Saints to a 13-3 record and the No. 1 seed in the NFC. Brees was nominated for five FedEx Air NFL Player of the Week awards in 2009, winning five times.
Johnson rushed for 2,006 yards in 2009, becoming the sixth player in NFL history to rush for 2,000 yards. He also broke the yards from scrimmage record, totaling 2,509. Johnson recorded 11 consecutive 100-yard games, tied for the second-longest streak in NFL history, and posted at least 125 rushing yards in six consecutive games, tying the NFL record. This season, Johnson became the first player in NFL history with six consecutive games of 125-plus rushing yards and a 5-plus yards per carry average in each of those games. In Week 2, Johnson became the first player in NFL history to record a 90-plus yard rushing touchdown (91), 50-plus yard rushing touchdown (57), and 60-plus yard receiving touchdown (69) in a game. Johnson started all 16 games and had 14 rushing touchdowns. He was nominated for six FedEx Ground NFL Player of the Week awards in 2009, winning twice.
Favre passed for 33 touchdowns, his NFL-record ninth 30-plus touchdown season. He totaled three four-touchdown games, setting an NFL record with 23 career four-touchdown games. Favre passed for 4,202 yards, including six games passing for more than 300 yards. He has recorded 61 career 300-yard passing performances, the fourth-most in NFL history. Starting all 16 games in 2009, Favre played in his 287th consecutive regular-season game, setting the record for the longest consecutive game streak in NFL history by a non-kicker/punter. He led the Vikings to a 12-4 record and the number two seed in the NFC. Favre was nominated for five FedEx Air NFL Player of the Week awards in 2009, winning five times.
Jones-Drew started all 16 games and led the team in rushing yards (1,391), touchdowns (16), yards from scrimmage (1,765) and ranked second with 53 receptions. Jones-Drew set the franchise single-season record with 15 rushing touchdowns and he tied for first in the NFL with three touchdown runs of 60-plus yards. Jones-Drew's 1,391 rushing yards ranked third in the AFC, fourth in the NFL and were the third-most in franchise history for a season. He also ranked tied for second in the NFL in touchdowns and fourth in yards from scrimmage. Jones-Drew was one of only 12 players to have three touchdowns in a game in 2009 and was one of only four players to do it twice. Jones-Drew was nominated for four FedEx Ground NFL Player of the Week awards in 2009, winning once.
Manning passed for 4,500 yards in 2009, reaching 50,128-career yards. He became the fastest quarterback in NFL history to reach the 50,000-yard mark, accomplishing the feat in 191 career games. Manning threw 33 touchdowns this season and has 366 career-touchdowns (third on the all-time passing touchdowns list). He became the first player all-time to pass for at least 3,500 yards in 12 consecutive seasons and to throw at least 25 touchdown passes in 12 seasons in a row. Starting all 16 games, Manning had nine games passing for more than 300 yards, becoming the third player in NFL history to start a season with five consecutive 300-yard passing games. He completed 68.8% of his passes and quarterbacked the Colts to a 14-2 record and the number one seed in the AFC. Manning was nominated for five FedEx Air NFL Player of the Week awards in 2009, winning twice.
Peterson rushed for 1,383 yards and 18 touchdowns, becoming only the third player in history to rush for more than 1,300 yards and more than 10 touchdowns in each of his first three seasons. Peterson started the season on a high note, rushing for 180 yards against Cleveland in Week 1, becoming only the third NFL player in history to rush for 100 yards in each of the first three Kickoff Weekends in which he appeared. Peterson also became the first player in NFL history to rush for at least 180 yards and three touchdowns on Kickoff Weekend. Peterson rushed for at least two touchdowns in five different games in 2009 and rushed for more than 100 yards in three different games. Peterson was nominated for two FedEx Ground NFL Player of the Week awards in 2009, winning twice.