May 2, 2013

MVP Profile: Rich Gannon, 2002

Quarterback, Oakland Raiders

Age: 37 (Dec. 20)
15th season in pro football, 4th with Raiders
College: Delaware
Height: 6’3”   Weight: 210

It was a long road to stardom for Gannon. Quarterback in a wing-T offense in college, Gannon was taken in the 4th round of the 1987 NFL draft by the New England Patriots, who wanted to convert him into a running back. Unwilling to make the change, he was traded to Minnesota and sat on the bench for three years, throwing a total of 21 passes. Finally getting an opportunity to start in 1990, Gannon had limited success and was allowed to depart as a free agent following the ’92 season. He was a backup with the Redskins in 1993, missed all of ’94 due to a rotator cuff injury, and moved on to Kansas City, where he was a backup for four years and saw his most significant action in his last year with the club in 1998. Signed as a free agent by Oakland in ’99, Gannon finally blossomed as he ran Head Coach Jon Gruden’s version of the West Coast offense, passing for 3840 yards and 24 TDs and gaining selection to the Pro Bowl. He had an even better year in 2000, gaining consensus first-team All-NFL as well as Pro Bowl recognition and winning the Bert Bell Award as NFL Player of the Year. Gannon had a third straight Pro Bowl season in 2001, throwing for 3828 yards and 27 TDs against just 9 interceptions, and thus leading the NFL with a 1.6 INT percentage.

2002 Season Summary
Appeared and started in all 16 games
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]

Attempts – 618 [1]
Most attempts, game – 64 at Pittsburgh 9/15
Completions – 418 [1]
Most completions, game – 43 at Pittsburgh 9/15
Yards – 4689 [1]
Most yards, game – 403 at Pittsburgh 9/15
Completion percentage – 67.6 [2]
Yards per attempt – 7.6 [3]
TD passes – 26 [5, tied with Trent Green]
Most TD passes, game – 4 vs. Tennessee 9/29
Interceptions – 10
Most interceptions, game – 2 at Pittsburgh 9/15, at St. Louis 10/13
Passer rating – 97.3 [2]
400-yard passing games – 1
300-yard passing games – 10
200-yard passing games – 14

Attempts – 50
Most attempts, game - 11 (for 29 yds.) at Buffalo 10/6
Yards – 156
Most yards, game – 29 yards (on 11 carries) at Buffalo 10/6
Yards per attempt – 3.1
TDs – 3

TDs – 3
Points - 18

Postseason: 3 G
Pass attempts – 115
Most attempts, game - 44 vs. Tampa Bay, Super Bowl
Pass completions – 73
Most completions, game - 29 vs. Tennessee, AFC Championship
Passing yardage – 841
Most yards, game - 286 vs. Tennessee, AFC Championship
TD passes – 7
Most TD passes, game - 3 vs. Tennessee, AFC Championship
Interceptions – 6
Most interceptions, game - 5 vs. Tampa Bay, Super Bowl

Rushing attempts – 13
Most rushing attempts, game - 8 vs. Tennessee, AFC Championship
Rushing yards – 41
Most rushing yards, game - 41 vs. Tennessee, AFC Championship
Average gain rushing – 3.2
Rushing TDs – 1

Awards & Honors:
NFL MVP: AP, PFWA, NEA, Bert Bell Award, Sporting News
1st team All-NFL: AP, PFWA, Sporting News
1st team All-AFC: Pro Football Weekly
Pro Bowl

Raiders went 11-5 to finish first in the AFC West and gain the top playoff seed in the conference while leading the NFL in total offense (6237 yards) and passing offense (4475 yards). Won AFC Divisional playoff over New York Jets (30-10) and AFC Championship over Tennessee Titans (41-24). Lost Super Bowl to Tampa Bay Buccaneers (48-21).

Injuries curtailed Gannon’s 2003 season and he appeared in a total of just 10 games in ’03 and ’04, after which he retired. A fiery leader and precision passer, he ended up throwing for 28,743 yards and 180 TDs with 104 interceptions, and ranked in the Top 20 all-time at the end of his career with a passer rating of 84.7.

[Updated 8/4/13]


MVP Profiles feature players who were named MVP or Player of the Year in the NFL, AAFC (1946-49), AFL (1960-69), WFL (1974), or USFL (1983-85) by a recognized organization (Associated Press, Pro Football Writers Association, Newspaper Enterprise Association, United Press International, The Sporting News, Maxwell Club – Bert Bell Award, or the league itself).