Tuesday, January 11, 2011
MVP: Big Ben stacks up with Tom Brady
By Tim Graham
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady clearly was the NFL's most valuable player.
Brady was the best player on the team with the most wins. He threw an NFL-high 36 touchdown passes, an NFL-low four interceptions and posted a 111.0 passer rating with a collection of players few knew entering the season. He broke records for turnover efficiency.
There really should be no debate.
In an ESPN Insider column, game analyst KC Joyner makes an interesting case . He considers Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger worthy of discussion.
Joyner points out Brady and Roethlisberger compare well in yardage statistics. On passes that traveled 10 yards in the air or shorter, Roethlisberger was a half-yard better on average. On throws that traveled 11 yards or longer, Roethlisberger was only two-tenths of a yard behind Brady.
Brady was better in Joyner's "bad decision percentage," which looks at turnovers or near turnovers such as dropped interceptions. Over the course of the season, Joyner explains, Roethlisberger averaged one more mistake than Brady every four or five games. Not a huge deal.
What has Joyner most impressed is the type of offense each quarterback runs. He notes 70.7 percent of Brady's throws were 10 yards or shorter, an even higher rate than Matt Cassel had (65.3 percent) in his replacement season of 2008.
Roethlisberger threw just 55.9 percent of his passes in the 10 yards or shorter category.
That shows the Steelers operate an offense that takes more chances and should lead to a lower completion percentage and more mistakes than the dink-and-dunk Patriots.