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Tom Brady Wins 2011 Offensive Player Of The Year; What All-Time Falcons Have Come Closest To The Award?

This week, Tom Brady became the sixth player to win the NFL's Offensive Player of the Year award multiple times. He joins a club led by three-time winners Marshall Faulk and Earl Campbell and two-time winners Terrell Davis, Barry Sanders and Jerry Rice.

Brady, who led the NFL with 36 touchdown passes (against only four interceptions), was the 15th quarterback to win the award. Running backs have had the most success winning the award 22 times in 39 years and had the Texans won more games this season, the award surely should have gone to Arian Foster. Only twice has a receiver won and if you started this story from the beginning, you already know the answer.

Let's get to the point of this story. No member of the Atlanta Falcons has ever won the OPOY award. They're not alone of course as 10 teams have failed to have a player worthy of the OPOY award. The 49ers and Oilers/Titans have won the award five times apiece with the Rams the only other team to have a player win it more than twice.

So which Falcons have been closest to the OPOY award? Note: This is based on my own opinion of the season as I don't know if a resource that shows the voting totals from each season. Follow me after the jump to the list-mobile!

No. 3 - Michael Vick (2002)

Vick accounted for 3,729 yards and 24 touchdowns in leading the Falcons to the playoffs but Priest Holmes' epic season was a runaway winner.

No. 2 - William Andrews (1983)

In a vacuum, Andrews' year (2,176 total yards and 11 touchdowns) was every bit as impressive as Joe Theismann's year was but this was a case of the Redskins going 14-2 and the Falcons finishing 7-9.

No. 1 - Jamal Anderson (1998)

Anderson had a once-in-a-lifetime year with 2,165 total yards and 16 touchdowns but unfortunately it happened the same year Terrell Davis was in his prime (2,235 yards and 23 touchdowns).

With Matt Ryan steadily improving from 16 touchdowns in 2008 to 22 in 2009 and 28 last season (he'll throw 40 in 2012!) and Roddy White showing he can, at times, be the best receiver (he received two votes for this year's award) in the league and Michael Turner still chewing up yards this team has some candidates for future OPOY awards and with a potentially new offensive coordinator, maybe 2011 could be the year for the Falcons first OPOY winner.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.