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Gannon Edges Favre for MVP

January 02, 2003|From Associated Press

Oakland Raider quarterback Rich Gannon can add another honor to his record-setting season: NFL most valuable player.

Gannon received 19 votes to edge Green Bay's Brett Favre on Wednesday, a satisfying achievement for a player who wasn't even wanted out of college, spent much of his 15-year career as a journeyman, and even sat out a season.

Favre got 15 votes from the nationwide panel of 48 sports- writers and broadcasters who cover the league.

Gannon established an NFL mark this season for completions (418) and also completed 21 consecutive passes in a victory over Denver that ended a four-game losing streak and started a five-game winning string.

Gannon led the league with 4,689 yards passing, helping the Raiders win the AFC West at 11-5 and earn home-field advantage for the playoffs.

"What I achieved is what the football team has achieved," Gannon said. "Without all the skill people like Tim Brown and Jerry Rice and Charlie Garner and the tight ends and the other wide receivers and runners and the line, and the coaching staff, I would never be in the position to make those plays."

His modesty notwithstanding, the 37-year-old Gannon made as many plays as any NFL player in 2002. He completed 67.6% of his passes for 26 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Gannon's 97.3 rating was second in the NFL to the Jets' Chad Pennington.

Gannon set a record by reaching 300 yards or more 10 times this season. He is one of only three quarterbacks with 400 completions -- Warren Moon had 404 in 1991, and Drew Bledsoe had 400 in '94.

"I think he has a dimension that I haven't seen a quarterback take," Raider Coach Bill Callahan said. "Here's a guy who won more games at the quarterback position in the regular season than anybody in the league [in the last three years]. He's a player that we ask a tremendous amount from. You've seen him improve on a year-to-year basis, this year being his finest year as a pro."

Tennessee quarterback Steve McNair, who has played with injuries all season, finished third with 11 votes.

Next in the voting were Kansas City running back Priest Holmes, Atlanta quarterback Michael Vick and Tampa Bay linebacker Derrick Brooks.

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