New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady finished the 2017 regular season completing 385 of 581 pass attempts (66.3%) for 4,577 passing yards, 32 touchdowns, and 8 interceptions for a passer rating of 102.8.
Brady is deservingly considered the favorite to win the Most Valuable Player award, but the fact that he’s the MVP leader despite playing no better in 2017 than any other year in recent memory highlights the fact there wasn’t an abnormally incredible season by a quarterback this season.
In fact, Brady averaged 4,554 passing yards for 34 touchdowns and 8 interceptions on 64.2% completions and a passer rating of 101.3 over a 16-game season from 2010-2016. So his 2017 season was quite literally an average year for Brady.
But no one else stepped up. Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith leads the NFL with a 104.7 passer rating, which would represent the lowest leader in passer rating since Peyton Manning led the NFL in 2005 and 2006 at 104.1 and 101.0, respectively. Over the past decade, only 2008 Philip Rivers (105.5), 2012 Aaron Rodgers (108.0), and 2009 Drew Brees (109.6) finished as the NFL leader in passer rating under 110.0.
No quarterback did anything special from a passing yard or yards per attempt or touchdown or interception perspective, either. Instead of having a player post a historic season, like Manning in 2013 or Cam Newton in 2015 or Matt Ryan in 2016, Brady’s simply “average” season is enough to win Most Valuable Player.
Brady’s going to continue to produce at this level for the foreseeable future. We’ll have to see if he’s considered the MVP if he replicates this performance in the coming seasons.