Carson Palmer had his best NFL season, and orchestrated the Cardinals’ top-rated NFL offense and Bruce Arians’ “No risk it, no biscuit” passing game -- all after coming back from a torn ACL in 2014.
Saturday, Palmer’s role was noted when he was honored as the league’s FedEx Air Player of the Year.
Fans vote on the weekly FedEx Air and Ground players of the week, but Palmer was selected as the year’s winner, beating
Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was named the FedEx Ground Player of the Year.
FedEx is donating $25,000 to the Arizona chapter of the Red Cross in Palmer’s name.
Palmer’s season did not end well, throwing four interceptions in the NFC Championship loss. But he was stellar the rest of the season, leading the Cards to a franchise record 13 victories and a Divisional round playoff win over Green Bay.
Palmer had a career-best 104.6 passer rating, with 35 touchdown passes and only 11 interceptions, throwing for 4,671 yards and averaging an impressive 8.7 yards per attempt. Arians does like to throw deep, and Palmer was the perfect guy with which to do so. He set numerous franchise marks, including yards and TD passes.
Palmer even made the play of the postseason, somehow spinning out of a sure sack to throw back across the field to Fitzgerald for the electrifying 75-yard catch-and-run to set up the game-winning touchdown – also Palmer-to-Fitzgerald, on a five-yard shovel pass – in overtime against the Packers.
“As cheesy has it sounds, each game has been better, each practice it gets better, and it gets more fun,” Palmer said late in the season. “Every opportunity you get to go out on the field, you get more excited. It has been a blast. Obviously last year having to spend so much time rehabbing and not being able to play, it makes you appreciate film study that matters, practices that matter, the game. There is no doubt that it has been an absolute blast and I want to keep playing.”
It is the second time Palmer has won the award since it began in 2004. Only five quarterbacks have won the award: Peyton Manning (four times), Drew Brees (four), Aaron Rodgers (twice) and Brett Favre are the others.