Favre third in MVP vote

GREEN BAY - Packers quarterback Brett Favre will have to settle for being the third-best player in the NFL this season.<p> St. Louis Rams quarterback Kurt Warner won The Associated Press MVP award for the second time in three years Wednesday, beating teammate Marshall Faulk.<p> Warner edged Faulk, the 2000 MVP, by 21½ votes to 17½ in balloting by a nationwide panel of 50 sports writers and broadcasters who cover pro football.<p> Favre was third with five votes.<p>

He was followed by Pittsburgh's Kordell Stewart with four and Chicago's Brian Urlacher, the only defensive player to receive votes, with two.

"I really didn't know that," Favre told reporters Wednesday afternoon. "That really doesn't matter to me. It would be nice to win it. I've been fortunate to go to Pro Bowls, and win three MVPs, which is a dream I never thought would come true.

"I just love playing and love throwing touchdowns," he said.

Warner threw an NFC-high 22 interceptions this year, but he easily led everyone in yards passing (4,830, second most in league history), touchdown passes (36), yards per completion (a stunning 8.85), completions (375), completion percentage (68.7) and overall rating (101.4).

Favre completed 61.6 percent of his passes for 3,921 yards, 32 touchdowns and threw just 15 interceptions in 16 games. He also started another 16 straight games to run his NFL record streak to 158.

"The great players step forward and that's certainly what he's done," said Rams coach Mike Martz, whose wide-open offensive style fits Warner's skills perfectly. "It's hard to imagine a guy more deserving of the league MVP than Kurt. He's just having a tremendous year."

So is Faulk, who rushed for 1,382 yards and 12 touchdowns, led the team with 83 receptions -- tops among NFL running backs -- for 765 yards and nine more TDs. That put him second to Priest Holmes of Kansas City with 2,147 total yards from scrimmage.

With the honor, Warner ascended to the same MVP level as Joe Montana, Steve Young and John Unitas, each of whom won the honor twice. Marino, Elway, Fran Tarkenton and Bart Starr, for example, were one-time MVPs.

But only one player won three successive MVP awards: Favre took it in 1995 and 1996 and shared it with Detroit's Barry Sanders in '97.

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