Gannon named NFL MVP

Oakland Raiders quarterback Rich Gannon edged out Green Bay pivot Brett Favre Wednesday to capture the 2002 NFL Most Valuable Player award.

Gannon received 19 of the 48 votes from NFL writers and broadcasters, while Favre collected 15 nods.

Tennessee quarterback Steve McNair, who has battled injuries all season, finished third with 11 votes. Kansas City running back Priest Holmes, Atlanta quarterback Michael Vick and Tampa Bay linebacker Derrick Brooks, each picked up one vote

"You don't really beat somebody out," Gannon said of his win. "It's not a competition between one candidate and another. He's had a great year, too, and I know Brett, and I am sure he is focused on the same thing as we are: winning a championship."

The award is Gannon's first MVP honour. The 15-year veteran has emerged as one of the top quarterbacks in the league after years as a journeyman and backup.

The 37-year-old set NFL records this season with 418 completions and 10 300-yard passing games. He also led the league with 4,689 passing yards to help lead the Raiders to an 11-5 record atop the AFC West and home-field advantage in the playoffs.

"What I achieved is what the football team has achieved,'' said a humble Gannon. "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.''

Gannon completed 67.6 per cent of his passes for 26 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. His 97.3 quarterback rating was second in the NFL to the New York Jets' Chad Pennington.

Gannon has clicked since joining the Raiders in 1999 after years of mired in mediocrity in Minnesota, Washington and Kansas City.

"He's a player that we ask a tremendous amount from," said Raiders coach Bill Callahan. "You've seen him improve on a year-to-year basis, this year being his finest year as a pro.''

Gannon is the third Raiders player to capture the league's top honour. Quarterback Kenny Stabler (1974) and running back Marcus Allen (1985) have also taken home the MVP award.

with files from the Associated Press