Thursday, December 8, 2011
Revisiting Brady-Rodgers MVP debate
By James Walker
I'm still trying to clean off my clothes for all the tomatoes thrown my way after writing New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady deserves the MVP award more than Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers. I expected as much, because that is not the consensus point of view.
But let's take a look at some of the common disagreements and address them.
DemDwyerboys writes: WRONG!!!!!! Where would New England be without Brady? Probably the same place they were when they lost him a few years a when they went 11-5 with Matt Cassel at QB.
My response: I was shocked to see how many people overlooked the article when I mentioned the 2008 Patriots. That was a completely different team, starting with the fact that it had a top-10 defense. New England had Richard Seymour, Tedy Bruschi, Rodney Harrison, Mike Vrabel, Brandon Meriweather and Adalius Thomas on that 2008 defense. It was a lot easier to stop opponents and win low-scoring games. All of those players are gone now and New England's 2011 defense is the worst in the league. That's a huge difference. Also, Matt Cassel has proved to be a starting quarterback who's been to a Pro Bowl. Brian Hoyer or Ryan Mallett at quarterback offers no comparison. You can't compare the depth and talent on the 2011 and 2008 teams. As I mentioned in the article, this year's Patriots have too many weaknesses to win 11 games without Brady. They would be battling for third or fourth place in the AFC East with Miami and Buffalo.
FirstSergeant73 writes: Based on this argument, why wouldn't Peyton Manning get the nod? It's already been proven that without him, the Colts cannot win a game.
My response: This was another point many people brought up. You can't give the award to someone who doesn’t play a down. It's just not something you can do. But I'm glad this was mentioned, because it's proving my point. Brady is Peyton Manning on the field. You would see comparable results in New England if Brady wasn't playing this season. Green Bay would not have nearly the same drop-off without Rodgers as the Colts have had without Manning. Not even close. The Packers, in my opinion, are still a playoff team and potentially NFC North champs this season without Rodgers. Therefore, that doesn't make Rodgers, by definition, the "most valuable player." Brady is far more indispensable.
Bert from Houston writes: Mr. Walker, I think it is an absolute disservice that you are making an argument for Brady for MVP against Aaron Rodgers and you leave out another QB that is having a better year than Brady, Drew Brees. When you look at every argument you made supporting Brady, you could make the same arguments for Brees and the New Orleans Saints.
My response: This is a great point, Bert, and I agree. Brees is in the MVP conversation. But my article wasn't to state the case for two players. That would seem wishy-washy on my part.
Pack_2_win writes: This article basically says Green Bay has a better backup QB than New England has, and therefore Brady should be the MVP.
My response: This argument also baffled me. It looks like another case of people seeing what they want to see. I wrote Wednesday that Flynn is a highly touted backup, and added with a very strong supporting cast and star power on defense (Clay Matthews, Charles Woodson, B.J. Raji), the Packers would do well. It's the combination of those two that makes Green Bay much more capable of surviving a quarterback injury.
In closing, my MVP vote would go to Brady because I'm sticking to the true intention and definition of the award. It seems so many people are enamored with fantasy football and want to focus on who has the most touchdowns. (Brady has thrown for more yards, by the way.) But the MVP award should be more than that.
If you want to say Rodgers is the NFL's Offensive Player of the Year, I agree with that statement. That award, by title, is designed for the player who puts up the most numbers. But Brady is this season's Most Valuable Player.