United States (English)

Saints QB Drew Brees & Titans RB Chris Johnson Named 2009 FedEx Air & Ground NFL Players of the Year

Chris Johnson, Phil Simms

FedEx (NYSE: FDX) and the NFL today announced the winners of the seventh annual FEDEX AIR & GROUND NFL PLAYERS OF THE YEAR AWARDS at a press conference in South Florida, site of Super Bowl XLIV.

  • Quarterback DREW BREES of the New Orleans Saints was named the FedEx Air NFL Player of the Year.
  • Running back CHRIS JOHNSON of the Tennessee Titans was named the FedEx Ground NFL Player of the Year.

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.

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.


New Orleans’ DREW BREES completed70.62 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 number one seed in the NFC. Brees was nominated for five FedEx Air NFL Player of the Week awards in 2009, winning five times.

Tennessee’s CHRIS 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 scrimmage yards 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+ rushing yards and a 5.0+ 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.

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, January 11 through Friday, January 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 LA DAINIAN 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


Wk 1 Drew Brees, NO Adrian Peterson, MIN
Wk 2 Drew Brees, NO Frank Gore, SF
Wk 3 Peyton Manning, IND Maurice Jones-Drew, JAX
Wk 4 Brett Favre, MIN Rashard Mendenhall, PIT
Wk 5 Peyton Manning, IND Cedric Benson, CIN
Wk 6 Drew Brees, NO Thomas Jones, NYJ
Wk 7 Carson Palmer, CIN Cedric Benson, CIN
Wk 8 Brett Favre, MIN Chris Johnson, TEN
Wk 9 Kurt Warner, ARI Michael Turner, ATL
Wk 10 Brett Favre, MIN Adrian Peterson, MIN
Wk 11 Brett Favre, MIN Ricky Williams, MIA
Wk 12 Drew Brees, NO Chris Johnson, TEN
Wk 13 Kurt Warner, ARI Correll Buckhalter, DEN
Wk 14 Drew Brees, NO Ray Rice, BAL
Wk 15 Ben Roethlisberger, PIT Jerome Harrison, CLE
Wk 16 Jay Cutler, CHI Jonathan Stewart, CAR
Wk 17 Brett Favre, MIN Jamaal Charles, KC