The NFL today announced the winners of the ninth annual FEDEX AIR & GROUND® NFL PLAYERS OF THE YEAR AWARDS at a press conference in Indianapolis, site of Super Bowl XLVI.

  • Quarterback DREW BREES of the New Orleans Saints was named the FedEx Air NFL Player of the Year.
  • Running back LeSEAN McCOY of the Philadelphia Eagles was named the FedEx Ground NFL Player of the Year.

In honor of the winners’ outstanding play, FedEx is donating a total of $50,000 to Junior Achievement Programs in Greater New Orleans and Delaware Valley -- $25,000 in each player’s market – designated for local area offices of Junior Achievement.

Throughout the season, FedEx supported Junior Achievement’s entrepreneurship education efforts by making weekly donations of $4,000. The funding, allocated to local Junior Achievement area offices in the weekly winning players’ city or state, will be used to educate the next generation of entrepreneurs on how to start and grow their own small businesses.

This season, fans voted for more than their favorite player. FedEx introduced a new program called the FedEx Small Business of the Week – a program that rewarded small business owners with $5,000 and the chance to go to Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis. As fans visited NFL.com/FedEx to vote for their favorite quarterback and running back, they could also cast their vote for one of three small business nominees. FedEx awarded Bellerose, N.Y.-based Trattoria Lucia Restaurant as the FedEx Small Business of the Year, providing an all-inclusive trip to Super Bowl XLVI and a one-on-one meeting with former NFL quarterback-turned-businessman Ron Jaworski.

OUTSTANDING AIR & GROUND PERFORMANCES

New Orleans’ DREW BREES set the single-season record for most passing yards with 5,476, eclipsing DAN MARINO’s record of 5,084 yards set in 1984. Brees also set the NFL record for completion percentage (71.2) and most completions in a season (468). Brees, who was named to the NFC’s 2012 Pro Bowl roster, led the NFL with 46 touchdowns passes and an average of 342 passing yards per game. His 110.6 passer rating ranked second in the NFL. Brees, who led the Saints to a 13-3 record in 2011, was nominated for FedEx Air Player of the Week honors seven times, winning the award three times. This is the fourth time Brees has been named FedEx Air Player of the Year.

Philadelphia’s LE SEAN MC COY ran for a league-high 17 touchdowns in 2011 and was named the NFC’s starting running back in the 2012 Pro Bowl. His 1,309 rushing yards ranked fourth in the NFL. He averaged 4.8 yards per attempt, and led the NFL with 84 runs for a first down. His 17 rushing touchdowns (and 20 overall) broke Eagles’ records that had stood since 1945. McCoy rushed for a season-high 185 yards and two touchdowns in the Eagles’ Week 8 victory over the Dallas Cowboys. McCoy was nominated four times for FedEx Ground Player of the Week honors, winning twice.

Brees and McCoy were selected from a panel of three finalists in each of their respective Air and Ground categories. The other FedEx Air NFL Players of the Year finalists were quarterbacks TOM BRADY of the New England Patriots and AARON RODGERS of the Green Bay Packers, while the FedEx Ground NFL Players of the Year finalists included running backs MAURICE JONES-DREW of the Jacksonville Jaguars and RAY RICE of the Baltimore Ravens.

Former winners of the FedEx Air & Ground NFL Players of the Year Award include:

  • (2010) Green Bay Packers QB AARON RODGERS and Kansas City Chiefs RB JAMAAL CHARLES
  • (2009) New Orleans Saints QB DREW BREES and Tennessee Titans RB CHRIS JOHNSON
  • (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