The National Football League announced the winners for their league awards on Saturday night, and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady walked away with the league’s Most Valuable Player. Brady pulled in 40 of the possible 50 first place votes, with Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley receiving eight, and Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz gaining two.
Brady had a fantastic season, especially at 40 years old. He led the league in passing yards with 4,577, finished fifth in completion percentage at 66.3 and was third in touchdown passes with 32. He guided the Patriots to a 13-3 record, and took them all the way to the 2018 Super Bowl after leading another improbable comeback over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Of course, these numbers are exceptional for any player, but this season becomes even more insane, considering the fact that Brady is now not only the oldest player to have won the NFL MVP breaking the dubious distinction held by both former Oakland Raiders quarterback Rich Gannon and longtime Brady nemesis Peyton Manning in their age 37 seasons, but also the oldest player to gain the accolade in any of the four major sports, nipping San Francisco Giants outfielder Barry Bonds by two months after Bonds won the National League MVP in 2004.
There will be many who will say Wentz should have won it. In three fewer games Wentz threw 33 touchdowns and was only picked off seven times. That being said, had Wentz not been on the receiving end of a sack that tore his ACL, he would have had 41 touchdown passes on the season. Brady would have had 26 if linear progression had anything to say about it.
Let’s look at the numbers a little deeper, looking at the averages to try and paint a better picture. Brady passed for more yards, 3,718 compared to Wentz’s 3,296. Brady held the edge in yards per game, 286.1 to 253.5. Interceptions were approximately the same. More to the point, Brady did more for his team’s offensive output then Wentz had to. The Eagles’ rush attack ranked third overall, where the Patriots were 10th. If that doesn’t define the definition of a team’s most valuable player, I don’t know what does.
This brings back the argument of missing games from the 2016 season. After missing the first four games of the regular season due to suspension for his still hotly contested role in “Deflategate,” Brady torched opposing defenses. He threw for 3,554 yards and 28 touchdowns, finishing with a passer rating of 112.2. But analysts and fans could agree that because he only played in 12 games, he should not be the MVP. And guess what? He didn’t win that year. To that end, Wentz should not have won it either.
Brady deserved this award, and there will be people who try to knock him down by saying Wentz should have gotten it. But the numbers don’t lie. Don’t worry though, there will be at least another chance for Wentz to show why he will win the MVP at some point.