Tom Brady tore up the NFL with his precision passing and dynamic guidance of the New England Patriots' offense.
That was in 2007, when he ran away with The Associated Press NFL Offensive Player of the Year award.
Ditto for 2010.
Brady won the honor Tuesday for the second time in four seasons. The record-setting quarterback, who had a string of 355 passes without being intercepted, received 21 votes from a nationwide panel of 50 media members who regularly cover the league. He easily beat Philadelphia quarterback Michael Vick, who got 11 votes.
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“To me it comes down to the mental toughness and determination of the players and coaches,” Brady said.
A unanimous choice for the All-Pro team, Brady threw for 36 touchdowns while being picked off just four times. When he won the award in 2007, Brady set an NFL mark with 50 touchdowns passes as New England went undefeated in the regular season.
Oddly, the Patriots did not win the championship in either of those seasons, but they have won it three other times under Brady.
Also receiving votes were Houston running back Arian Foster with seven; San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers with five; and Atlanta receiver Roddy White, Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers and Philadelphia receiver DeSean Jackson with two each.
The NFL gets to cash its $4 billion in TV checks, the players’ union gets about $7 million in damages from the league, and both sides claimed victory. A special master rejected the NFL Players Association’s request that billions in 2011 payments from the networks to the league should be placed in escrow if there is a lockout, but he awarded the union damages because of violations in “the NFL’s negotiation of lockout insurance in its contracts with ESPN and NBC.” Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey said he expects to play in the Super Bowl despite a high left ankle sprain that he suffered in the AFC championship game. He was off crutches but still has a bulky walking boot on his left foot. Minnesota Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen was accused of assaulting a police officer and faced an NFL investigation Tuesday after the former USC star was arrested during a traffic stop in South Los Angeles. Griffin, 23, was booked for felony battery and is due in court on Feb. 25. A spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney said her office declined to file a felony charge and passed the case on to the city attorney for review. A proposed NFL stadium in downtown Los Angeles would be called Farmers Field under a 30-year naming-rights deal between developer AEG and Farmers Insurance Exchange. Punter Sam Koch agreed to a five-year contract extension with the Baltimore Ravens. Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith’s mother, Mae Smith, died in Texas at age 77.