Carson Wentz may have had his season cut short by injury, leaving him unable to take on Tom Brady in the Super Bowl, but the Eagles quarterback does have one win over his Patriots counterpart this year.
Specifically, Wentz won the FedEx Air Player of the Year award over Brady, the NFL announced Saturday.
In addition, Rams running back Todd Gurley won the FedEx Ground Player of the Year.
The awards were chosen by fan voting, and that instantly put Brady behind the eight-ball. His Patriots are the most hated team in the league, and many fans are sick of a quarterback they view as a pompous pretty boy who gets every break.
Wentz, meanwhile, played for the feel-good story of the year in Philadelphia and no doubt carried a lot of votes not just from rabid Eagles fans but from a lot of neutral parties around the nation.
FedEx will donate $50,000 to the USO in Wentz’s and Gurley’s names.
Alex Smith of the Chiefs was the third finalist; that pretty much guaranteed a two-horse race.
Brady is still the favorite to win the NFL’s official MVP award; that one’s voted on by a panel of sportswriters, who are more objective (or should be).
In Brady’s favor? The fact that Wentz missed the stretch drive with injury, Brady’s Patriots finished tied for the best record in the league at 13-3, and New England’s high-powered offense generated the most yards and second-most points (behind the Rams) in the NFL this season.
Wentz, meanwhile, threw more touchdown passes than Brady (33 to 32) despite playing in three fewer games, and led the league in quarterback rating (74.4).
The NFL’s annual awards show, which airs Saturday at 9 p.m. Eastern time on NBC, is where we’ll see the MVP award announced, along with the Offensive and Defensive Player of the Year, Offensive and Defensive Rookie of the Year, and Coach of the Year.
In addition, the 2018 Hall of Fame class will be unveiled, and there has been much discussion about candidates like Brian Dawkins and Terrell Owens, both of whom have ties to Philadelphia from their playing careers.
Besides being popular with fans for his work on the field, Wentz has his share of fans off the field as well.
A devout Christian, Wentz carries the torch formerly held by Tim Tebow as the favorite NFL player of evangelicals.
Those factors, in addition to his very impressive performance this season, helped to make his jersey the top seller this year.
Brady, meanwhile, considers football his religion. Yes, really. That’s going to turn off a lot of those same people who admire Wentz.
Fans look at the human side in addition to the numbers, and they have spoken: Carson Wentz is their man.
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