By BARRY WILNER, Associated Press
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Drew Brees' record-setting season has earned the New Orleans quarterback the 2011 Associated Press NFL Offensive Player of the Year award.
Brees shattered Dan Marino's 27-year-old mark by passing for 5,476 yards, and his 468 completions broke Peyton Manning's 2010 record of 450. Brees finished the season completing 71.6 percent of his passes, breaking his own 2009 NFL record (70.6). He also surpassed 300 yards passing for seven straight games and 13 times during the season, both beating league marks he already held.
"I obviously take a lot of pride in what I do on the football field, because that has the ability to influence a lot of people," Brees said. "That puts smiles on people's faces. That gives people a pep in their step on Monday morning when they go back to work. That does so much for the city. We have the greatest fans in the world. There's no doubt about that. I think each and every day I think about what can I do to make my team better, make my city better, that's my mentality."
Brees, the 2008 top offensive player, received 43 votes from a nationwide panel of 50 media members who regularly cover the NFL. Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers got the other seven votes. The award was presented on the "NFL Honors" primetime special Saturday night on NBC.
Thanks to Brees' brilliance, the Saints set several single-season records, including offensive yards with 7,474 and first downs with 416.
"Our best is yet to come, not just for our team, but the league," Brees said.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.