The MVP race is over. It is not a close race nor is it one that garners much discussion or attention. I have had enough of this weekly game of guess who the media will pronounce as the next MVP candidate. It is quite honestly corny and a waste of our time and breath.
The one and only option for the 2017 NFL MVP is Tom Brady and it is not really debatable.
First it was Philadelphia Eagles’ quarterback Carson Wentz. I will admit that if Wentz had not suffered a season-ending ACL injury in Week 14, and if he had continued playing like he had been, he would have been my choice for MVP. When you consider the fact that Wentz is still leading the league in touchdown passes even though he will have missed the final three games of the season, his case for MVP is still legitimate today. But giving Wentz this award would look really bad for the voters, given that Brady missed four games last year and many analysts immediately disqualified him because of that.
The next “candidate” was Steelers receiver Antonio Brown. If you ask me, Brown is not even the most valuable player on his team. That would go to running back Le’Veon Bell. The former Michigan State Spartan has been an absolute horse for the team all year. Not only is Bell leading the NFL in carries (averaging 4 yards per carry), but he also has 85 receptions. That is tied for the 7th most in the entire league, 10 more receptions than the next closest running back. He’s putting up Todd Gurley rushing numbers while eclipsing Alvin Kamara’s receiving numbers. Brown’s calf injury that he sustained Week 15 sidelined him for the rest of the regular season and ended the slim hopes he had of becoming the first receiver to win league MVP.
And now filling in for Wentz as the next MVP candidate is Todd Gurley of the Los Angeles Rams. If you were to search on google for the definition of recency bias, Todd Gurley’s MVP case would be among the leading results, right behind the Chiefs’ early season case as Super Bowl contenders. Gurley has had a resurgent season thanks to 31-year-old
graduate assistant head coach Sean McVay. The first-year coach has completely turned this franchise around and is a serious candidate for Coach of the Year.
But Gurley’s case for MVP is one that is based on his late season dominance against teams like the Seahawks. Seattle has been dealing with injuries to a lot of their core players and have other members publicly asking opposing coaches to come get them out of the city (very professional Earl Thomas). Gurley may not even lead the league in rushing yards at the end of the year as he heads into the final week of the season ahead of Le’Veon Bell by only 14 yards. I’d also be remiss if I did not mention the fact that there was a five week stretch in which Gurley only ran for 62.4 yards per game. And for those Seattle Seahawks? When the Rams played the Seahawks earlier in the season when health was not an issue, Gurley was only able to run for 43 yards.
Through all of this debate, the one constant has been Mr. Thomas Edward Patrick Brady Jr. The future Hall of Famer leads the league in passing yards, and unlike Gurley, his competition is behind by 136 yards. Brady is the only quarterback who is top three in yards, completion percentage, touchdowns, and quarterback rating.
Even when Brady and the team have been struggling, he has been able to put together multiple MVP moments, something some of these other candidates are missing. Who can forget Week 4 when Brady led another vintage comeback against the Texans. In this game, he threw for 378 yards and five touchdowns, which was a mere side note to the ending of this game. He capped off his outstanding performance by driving the team down the field and throwing the game winning touchdown pass to Brandin Cooks with 23 seconds left. All of this was in spite of a defense that let rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson torch them for 301 yards and 33 points.
During Brady’s current five game interception streak, he has shown that he is still truly the real MVP. It would be impossible to forget the game of the year in the NFL between the Patriots and the Steelers. In typical Brady fashion, Tom led the team back from an 11-point deficit in which he went 4/7 for 75 yards and added a two-point conversion to tight end Rob Gronkowski.
Even last week against the Bills Brady’s MVP legitimacy was on display. After struggling in the first half and going down 16-13 in the third quarter, Brady went 9/9 for 105 yards and a touchdown en route to a 24-0 Patriot scoring run and another blowout over Buffalo.
This season has been a microcosm of Brady’s illustrious career. Whether it be injuries, depth, or a media circus regarding a health guru, TB12 is going to lead this team to victory while bouncing back from whatever struggles the team may face. He is the steady guiding hand that Patriot players and fans can rely on. In a year void of a dominant runaway candidate, Brady is the surefire MVP because of his consistency, great numbers, and leadership of the league’s best team. All of this without his favorite and most reliable target, Julian Edelman. So enough of all of these games. The 2017 MVP award goes to Tom Brady. It’s about time somebody said it.