I had a tough time choosing what to write about this week. Normally, this problem leads to me falling back upon one of my most reliable topics: Terrible quarterbacks. And coming off last Sunday, it took some serious will power not to wax poetic about Rusty Smith’s 178-yard, three interception performance.
Instead, I’m going out of my comfort zone. Rather than writing about the league’s worst quarterback, I’ll be making the MVP case for the league’s best quarterback, Tom Brady.
But before laying out my argument, I’d like to shake my head at the current thought process the voters go through when making their MVP selection.
By their way of thinking, Chris Johnson’s 2009 is not deserving of any votes. Johnson went off for over 2,000 yards (the sixth player in NFL history to do so), and got into the end zone sixteen times last year. Unfortunately, the Titans only won eight games, and Chris Johnson isn’t a quarterback, so he wasn’t one of the four players who were awarded a vote.
Who were those four players? Peyton Manning (the winner), Drew Brees (could’ve easily been the winner), Phillip Rivers and Brett Favre.
The apparent logic is that, unless you break the touchdown record (Alexander in ’05, Tomlinson in ’06), the MVP trophy is property of whichever quarterback is under center for the team with the most wins.
Basically, you have to put down something historical to win the MVP at a position outside of quarterback. It’s not a new trend, just a disrespectful one.
While I back all defensive players, wide receivers, and running backs worthiness of being considered, there are none that have done enough to get the nod in 2010. A decent argument can be made for Roddy White, but decent doesn’t win MVPs.
Oh, wait, Peyton Manning won in 2008. Decent usually doesn’t win MVPs.
Tom Brady has been far from decent. He has a touchdown to interception ratio of 23:4, has over 2,700 yards threw the air, is throwing the football at a 66 percent clip, and is the sole reason the Patriots share the best record in football. He is to the Patriots what Phil Hartman was to NewsRadio.
As of Dec. 2, Brady’s field of competition is made up of Phillip Rivers and Michael Vick. Both are legitimate candidates, but both also need to play a little out of their minds to catch up with Brady.
Assuming Brady remains steady handed, playing out the last quarter of the year at the level he did for the first three, here’s what Rivers and Vick must do to go from contending for the award, to becoming real threats to win it.
Rivers has little room for error; he has gained steam by getting the Chargers over .500, but that hype will cease if they drop a game or two and fail to make the playoffs.
At times, he’s been handcuffed by what might be the worst special teams in the history of football, although he’s also been backed by a defense that ranks second in passing, and third in rushing. Brady’s Patriots rank thirty-second, and sixteenth in those categories.
Rivers’ best-case scenario for catching Brady: He breaks Marino’s passing yardage record, and the Chargers win out.
After missing fifteen quarters of football, Vick’s trying to do in twelve games, what he could have done in sixteen. Kevin Kolb didn’t help Vick’s status as the most valuable player on the team by winning two of the three games he started while Vick was sidelined.
The whole electrocuting and drowning dogs thing doesn’t help his case either.
Regardless, Vick’s once again the dirtiest (no Cortland Finnegan) player in the NFL, so there’s no doubt he could mess around and shred a couple more teams like he did the Redskins. But if he doesn’t, the MVP won’t be a possibility.
Rivers and Vick are lurking, but right now, the MVP Award is Tom Brady’s to lose.