For the past four seasons, VIZIO, America's #1 LCD HDTV Company, has recognized the professional football player whose on-field performance most significantly exceeded expectations and the value of their salary with the VIZIO TOP VALUE PERFORMER award. VIZIO TOP VALUE PERFORMER finalists are evaluated based on their regular season performances, statistics, and the role they played in the success of their team. These factors are then measured against their base salaries to come up with five finalists. Last year’s winner Stevie Smith talks about EA Sports Madden in the exclusive 3D video below.
This year’s nominees are:
Laurent Robinson- Wide Receiver, Dallas
Drafted in the third round in 2007 from Illinois State, Laurent Robinson is on his fourth team in five years. Just before the start of the season, Dallas signed Robinson to a $685,000 1-year deal in an effort to provide depth to the wide receiver position. Robinson's role grew after an injury sidelined a starter. Robinson quickly became a key Red Zone target, as he hauled in a team-leading 11 touchdowns. Robinson's 54 receptions for 858 yards and 2011 salary of makes him an attractive VIZIO TOP VALUE PEFORMER candidate.
Victor Cruz- Wide Receiver, New York
A 2010 undrafted free agent from the University of Massachusetts, Cruz began this season as New York's fourth wide receiver, before key injuries to two starters led to his larger role. In week 16, Cruz eclipsed a franchise single-season receiving record of 1,343 receiving yards. Cruz ended the 2011 regular season with 82 receptions for 1,536 receiving yards, the third-most in the league, and 9 touchdowns. His 2011 base pay of $405,000 makes him an ideal VIZIO TOP VALUE PERFORMER nominee.
Rob Gronkowski - Tight End, New England
Selected in the second round in the 2010 draft from the University of Arizona, Rob Gronkowski enjoyed a break-out year setting the single-season record for both receiving yards and touchdowns scored by a tight end. Gronkowski ended the season with 90 receptions for 1,327 yards and 17 receiving touchdowns earning him All-Pro recognition. Gronkowski's 2011 base pay of $405,000 makes him a viable VIZIO TOP VALUE PERFORMER candidate.
NaVorro Bowman - Inside Linebacker, San Francisco
Drafted in the third round in 2010 from Penn State, NaVorro Bowman started in two of the 16 games he played in as a rookie. In 2011, Bowman led his team in tackles with 143 and his conference with 111 solo tackles. Bowman anchored a league-best defensive squad that allowed the fewest rushing yards and rushing touchdowns. Bowman's 2011 base pay of $580,500 makes him a clear VIZIO TOP VALUE PERFORMER candidate.
Matt Forte - Running Back, Chicago
Drafted out of Tulane in the second round in 2008 by Chicago, Forte was on pace to have the most yards from scrimmage prior to his season-ending injury in week 13. In 2011, Forte had 52 receptions for 490 yards, the third most of all running backs, and rushed for nearly 1,000 yards. Forte's 2011 base pay of $555,000 makes him an ideal candidate for the VIZIO TOP VALUE PERFORMER award.
At the conclusion of the 2007 season, the inaugural VIZIO TOP VALUE PERFORMER hardware went to Jacksonville Quarterback David Garrard, who went from back-up QB to All-PRO that season and parlayed his success and the award into a new contract. In 2008, then-New England and now Kansas City Quarterback Matt Cassel stepped in for a future Hall of Famer, despite not having started a game since high school. Cassel led New England to eleven victories, taking home VIZIO TOP VALUE PERFORMER honors.
In 2009, then-New York and now Philadelphia Wide Receiver Steve Smith was thrust into the starting line-up after the team suffered key losses at wide receiver. Smith answered the challenge by hauling in 107 passes, setting a new team record. His breakout performance on-the-field, in conjunction with his social media work off the field, helped him earn the 2009 VIZIO TOP VALUE PERFORMER award. Last year's honors were awarded to Buffalo Wide Receiver Stevie Johnson. After only catching 12 balls for 112 yards in his first two seasons, Johnson enjoyed a break-out season when he became his quarterback's favorite target. Johnson's career season of 82 receptions, more than 1,000 yards receiving and 10 touchdowns, combined with the fans votes, earned him the 2010 VIZIO TOP VALUE PERFORMER award.
With this year's finalists established, VIZIO is calling upon fans across the country to choose the winner by voting online between January 9 and January 23 at www.VIZIO.com/tvp. Voting will close on January 23 at 12:00 am, with the winning player announced later that same week.
Like these unique players, VIZIO has built its success as one of America's most-popular flat-panel HDTV brands, through its ability to deliver high-quality, high-performance televisions that truly maximize value for the consumer.