Jake Delhomme has completed one of the most amazing comebacks we have ever witnessed in sports. The Carolina Panthers quarterback went out in game three of the ’07 season with an elbow injury. Three surgeries and a massive rehab later, he’s back.
After undergoing Tommy John Surgery on his throwing elbow – something previously unheard of for a quarterback – he managed to get himself back on the field, lead his team to a 12-4 record and posted 3288 yards, 15 touchdowns and hit on nearly 60% of his passes.
It’s the part of the comeback that he didn’t complete that is irritating Panthers fans today – he wasn’t voted the Associated Press Comeback Player of the Year. That honor went to Chad Pennington of the Miami Dolphins.
It’s easy to argue that Pennington deserved to be considered since he was discarded by the Jets just prior to the beginning of the season because of the deal for Brett Favre. It’s even easier to point to the fact that he had 365 yard more than Delhomme and four more touchdown passes. He should also get credit for helping Miami win ten more games in ’08 than they won a year ago.
But while Pennington overcame a lot of adversity and helped his team win, Jake was facing a situation that could have potentially ended his career. Both displayed guts and determination but one of them deserved the award more – Jake Delhomme.
Everybody gets wrapped up in stats but far too often John Fox’s adage that “stats are for losers” is proven true. So what if Delhomme only had 15 TD passes? Show me a QB with more moxie. Show me a QB who has meant more to his team.
I know there will be some who say that this is simply due to “homerism” and that we would argue Delhomme deserved this award simply because of the team we root for. I think we can all live with that. It wouldn’t necessarily be true but we can live with it.
The truth here is that Pennington came from New York and was part of the fallout of the Brett Favre soap opera. That earns him votes. Meanwhile, Jake Delhomme plays in one of the league’s smaller markets for a team that doesn’t normally draw a tremendous amount of media attention.
The votes piled up for Pennington while Jake didn’t quite make it. It would appear that the media got another one wrong. That’s not terribly unusual, though.
Jake didn’t win this award. Maybe he can win a big piece of jewelry at the end of the season instead.