NEW YORK (AP) -- Kurt Warner now has something Dan Marino and John Elway never achieved: two NFL Most Valuable Player awards.
The St. Louis Rams quarterback won The Associated Press MVP award for the second time in three years Wednesday, beating teammate Marshall Faulk. Warner, the league's leading passer, guided the Rams to the NFL's best record, 14-2.
He edged Faulk, the 2000 MVP, by 21 1/2 votes to 17 1/2 in balloting by a nationwide panel of 50 sports writers and broadcasters who cover pro football. Green Bay's Brett Favre was third with five votes, followed by Pittsburgh's Kordell Stewart with four and Chicago's Brian Urlacher, the only defensive player to receive votes, with two.
"I feel good, I feel like my decision-making has been better this year than in any year I've played at this level," said Warner, who stormed onto the NFL scene in 1999 out of Arena Football and NFL Europe to lead the Rams to their first Super Bowl title. "And my accuracy is back to where I think it should always be. Now I'm just kind of getting into a rhythm and feeling good at the right time."
He has been in that rhythm nearly all season -- and through much of his career with the Rams.
Although Warner threw an NFC-high 22 interceptions this year, he easily led everyone in yards passing (4,830, second most in league history), touchdown passes (36), yards per completion (a stunning 8.85), completions (375), completion percentage (68.7) and overall rating (101.4).
In 1999, Warner hit on 325 of 499 passes for 4,353 yards, a 65.1 completion percentage, 8.72 yards a completion, 41 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. His rating was an even 100.
"The great players step forward and that's certainly what he's done," said Rams head coach Mike Martz, whose wide-open offensive style fits Warner's skills perfectly. "It's hard to imagine a guy more deserving of the league MVP than Kurt. He's just having a tremendous year."
So is Faulk, who rushed for 1,382 yards and 12 touchdowns, led the team with 83 receptions - tops among NFL running backs -- for 765 yards and nine more TDs. That put him second to Priest Holmes of Kansas City with 2,147 total yards from scrimmage.
Together, they are the foundation of the one of the most potent offenses in NFL history.
Asked if he had a personal choice for league MVP, Martz said: "Come on, please. I think either one of them would be a great choice. It's just like asking me which one of my kids do I like best. I can't answer that."
The voters answered, lifting Warner onto the same MVP level as Joe Montana, Steve Young and John Unitas, each of whom won the honor twice. Marino, Elway, Fran Tarkenton and Bart Starr, for example, were one-time MVPs.
One once has a team won three successive MVP awards: Favre took it in 1995 and 1996 and shared it with Detroit's Barry Sanders in '97. The only other Ram voted MVP was Roman Gabriel in 1969.
I guess when you really think about it, it makes sense. The Rams were dominant in '99 and '01, but got knocked out of the first round in 2000. The only difference (besides the addition of Tory Holt) is Warner's thumb injury in 2000, which he never fully recovered from until this year. Conversely, Faulk was out two games this year, and the Rams really didn't show any slack. That's not to say Faulk isn't still great, its just the importance to the team. Although, yeah, its really, really tough to not look at Favre and say he deserves it.
I'm just thrilled Urlacher got votes.
"This is why in a world without electronic money, duct tape will be a form of money for a few years, at least."
--Gary North in his Feb. '99 newsletter predicting what will happen after Y2K strikes
Damn...I was just kidding when I was telling people that Urlacher should get MVP. Good for him though, if anyone in the league deserved a vote or two while on defense it was him. I don't know about Warner getting it though, since really that team has so many weapons how do you say one of them was more valuable to that team than any other player was to their team? I'd have said Favre, Stewart, Garcia, maybe Tom Brady, or URLACHER! I do think Urlacher is a lock for the Defensive MVP this year though.
ALL MVP awards in pro sports are a joke now. When there are two guys on your team that are both MVP candidates NEITHER should be the MVP of the league! Because even if you don't have them you STILL have ANOTHER MVP candidate.
Ichiro was NOT the AL MVP last year, he had another MVP candidate Edgar Martinez on his team.
Kurt Warner was NOT the NFL MVP, you take him out, but in another QB and they are still a playoff team. True they might not win it, but they still are darn good.
The REAL MVP this year is Brett Favre, you take him off the Packers and they're nothing!
And last year's MVP was NO CONTEST, it should've been Donovan McNabb, hands down.
And if the Lakers win the NBA championship or come close, Shaq and Kobe should not be the MVP. Unless they do it with one of them injured.
I have to agree with the 210 logic. I wouldn't have chosen either of them for MVP. Player of the Year maybe, but MVP is supposed to mean something different. Of course, I would have chosen URLACHER~! but that's just me.
Cool. We lost Ekuban (browns) but we've managed to sign a top notch defensive end in Marcellus Wiley. I know there are some Chargers fans here (guru). I didn't keep up much with them last year. Is Wiley the real deal?