Back for another edition of NFL Thursday, we’re looking at awarded Super Bowl MVPs (15-for-43 so far) and Rookies of the Year (30-for-52). The Super Bowl was memorable for all the right reasons, without controversy, as the regular season itself can provide some context for what is below. It really was a year to remember for one NFL city, that’s for sure. Enjoy!

Super Bowl XLIV MVP: Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans (original, confirmed)

The New Orleans Saints finally reached the Super Bowl and won it all with a 31-17 victory over the Indianapolis Colts, and Saints quarterback Drew Brees secured the MVP vote for posting 288 yards passing with two touchdown throws. The Colts piled up 100 more yards than the Saints did, but there was a costly turnover that hurt Indy at the end: Looking to deny the tying touchdown late in the final quarter, New Orleans cornerback Tracy Porter took an interception return 74 yards to the house to clinch the game.

Did anyone surpass Brees and his 114.5 QB rating for this game? The Colts did get 135 scrimmage yards and a TD from running Joseph Addai, which makes us wonder why Indy didn’t run the ball more. No Saints player topped 100 yards from scrimmage, so that’s an empty inquiry. The most famous play of this game really was a team effort by New Orleans, so … in the end, we will confirm Brees’ award, and he took his opportunities and made the most of them for the winning team.

2009 NFL ROTY: Percy Harvin, WR, Minnesota & Brian Cushing, LB, Houston (original); Clay Matthews, LB, Green Bay (revised)

Our two vote winners played for winning teams with the Vikings going 12-4 to win their division and the Texans going 9-7 to just miss out on the postseason via tiebreak. That means both Harvin (2,081 all-purpose yards and 8 TDs) and Cushing (86 tackles, 4 sacks, 4 INTs) are eligible here, really. Anyone else to consider? Yes, one more defensive player: linebacker Clay Matthews of Green Bay (10 sacks, 37 tackles). Let’s look at the former USC teammates on defense first.

The Packers improved 5 games from the previous year, while giving up 83 fewer points on defense. That means Matthews had a big impact on his team, while the Texans only won one extra game this season—although they gave up 61 fewer points than the season prior. A little bit goes a long way here, so we’re going to give Matthews the edge on defense, so now we have to examine Harvin’s influence on the Vikings’ success.

Minnesota improved by 2 wins and 91 points scored with Harvin around: That is impressive. Generally, though, it’s impossible to overlook the 5-game leap in the standings by the Packers, and double-digit sacks from a rookie is big. We’re going to give this award to Matthews, as though even with his 2,000-plus yards, Harvin joined an already good team and didn’t actually turn around the fortunes of the franchise as Matthews did in one year. Case closed, (for) Clay.