The Atlanta Falcons had a surprising and unexpected amount of success in 2008.
The numbers Turner accumulated were so good that he was the real 2008 MVP.
The Atlanta Falcons signed Turner as a free agent in 2008 to add stability to the backfield. Turner did more than that as he rushed for 1,699 yards and 17 touchdowns. People might not say this but he was the gas that made the Atlanta Falcons engine go.
When it came down to the MVP voting, Turner finished tied for second place with Chad Pennington and behind Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning. 2008 was a down year for quarterback play and Turner was clearly the most valuable player to any team in the league.
The MVP that year was Peyton Manning, the NFL’s darling quarterback that could do no wrong. Manning didn’t have the most amazing stats that year as he finished with 4,002 yards and 27 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Chad Pennington, who was tied with Turner for second place finished the season with 3,653 yards and 19 touchdowns.
For context, rookie Matt Ryan finished with 3440 yards and 16 touchdowns – both are career-lows for Matt when playing all 16 games.
The 2008 Falcons team wasn’t the same team you see today. Ryan wasn’t slinging the ball all over the field at this point in his career; he was a game manager more than anything else. Turner was the one that put this team on his back and led them to the playoffs and was the main reason why this Falcons squad was a top ten offense during that season.
The NFL is and will always be a quarterback-driven league but if there was any season when a quarterback didn’t deserve to win the MVP, it was 2008. Manning winning the MVP that year was highway robbery and that award should have gone to Michael Turner.