Sorry, Patriots Nation, but Tom Brady is not the NFL MVP this year. Brady has had another outstanding season. He has played better than anyone possibly could have imagined at 39 years old. Brady has thrown for 3,278 yards, 25 touchdown passes, and just two interceptions in eleven games while leading the Patriot to a 10-1 record. The numbers are great. The winning is great. However, Brady is not the most valuable player in the NFL this year. We’ll explain why in today’s post.
Before we dive into the reasons that Brady is not the MVP, let’s make something clear. Saying that Brady is not the MVP is not a knock against him. As it was stated above, he’s an incredible player and he has had yet another tremendous season. Many fans in Patriots Nation tend to get very defensive anytime any other quarterback gets credit besides Brady. When Peyton Manning and the Broncos won the Super Bowl last year the story in New England was Manning only has two Super Bowls and Brady has four. There couldn’t even be an acknowledgement that an all-time great player ended his career on a very positive note. The same is true for the MVP argument. If it’s not Brady, it’s automatically viewed as being wrong. We tend to favor our home players in these arguments, but it reaches a completely new level when comes to Tom Brady. There can certainly be a debate for Brady as there can be for other top candidates.
Let’s take a look at the meaning of this award. Most Valuable Player. Which player is the most valuable to his team. Here are the top candidates:
How valuable is Brady to the Patriots? The obvious answer is very valuable, but let’s take a deeper dive. Think of it this way. How many games would the Patriots have won this year without Tom Brady? The Patriots started 3-1 against an Arizona team who started the year as a Super Bowl contender, two playoff teams in the Dolphins and Texans, and the Buffalo Bills. With Jimmy Garoppolo, they won the first two games. With Jacoby Brissett, they beat the Texans easily. The Patriots started 3-1 with a second and third string quarterback and the reality is that they very likely would have been 4-0 if Garoppolo started all four games.
A lot is made about Brady’s numbers this year. Specifically, his interception number of two stands out and is discussed a lot. Do you know how many interceptions Garoppolo and Brissett threw? Zero. The Patriots did a great job of not turning the ball over this year and it’s not specific to Brady. They Patriots won 75% of their games against teams with a 32-27-1 record. It was not like they were playing weak competition. They won without Tom Brady against good competition. With Tom Brady, they have gone 10-1. Very impressive. What do you think their record would have been without Brady? Before answering, consider the schedule. The Patriots played the Browns, Rams, 49ers, Bengals, the Jets twice, and the Steelers without Ben Roethlisberger. If they played the way they did the first four games, they likely would have won at least six of those specific games with Garoppolo. In addition, the game in Denver was hardly an offensive outbreak. The Broncos scored three points. Could the Patriots have scored six without Brady?
The reality is that Tom Brady is having a great year. But, in terms of his value to the Patriots, they still won football games without him and the team around him is outstanding. If fact, they have the best defense in the NFL in points against. Granted, the eye test will tell you that the Patriots don’t have the best defense in the league, but they have still been very good. Statistically, their defense is better than their offense. Did Brady do that? I’m sure there are many fans in Patriots Nation who would like to think that his presence had a big impact on the defense. Get real, folks!
In addition, when was the last time you saw an NBA or NHL player who played 60 games win the MVP? Or how about a MLB player who played 120 games? When you play 75% of the season, it’s very difficult to win this award.
The Green Bay Packers are 9-6. That record certainly does not jump off the page. However, what do you think their record would be without Aaron Rodgers? The Packers have to put up big numbers on offense week after week because their defense is poor. They’re ranked 22nd in the league defensively. Rodgers has delivered week after week. Although it’s not just about the numbers, Rodgers certainly makes a good case with his stats as well. He has 4,128 yards with 36 TD’s and seven interceptions. So, how valuable is Aaron Rodgers to the Packers? Would they be competing for a playoff spot without him? Doubt it. The same is true for Matt Ryan. The Falcons wouldn’t even be close to the playoffs without him. His value increases because of that.
Tom Brady continues to be a very valuable player for the Patriots. However, he’s not the most valuable player in the league. The Patriots win in the regular season with or without him. Remember, this is a regular season award. This isn’t given to the player you would want leading your team in the playoffs.
The New England Patriots are about more than one player. They were 3-1 this year without Brady and they’re 14-6 without him over the past ten years. That’s a 70% winning percentage which is the best in the NFL during that period without Brady.
The Patriots win. The reality is that it’s more about Bill Belichick than Brady. There should be more talk about Belichick being Coach of the Year this year than Brady winning the MVP.