Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Mike Sando's MVP Watch
By Mike Sando
Some pushed back against my claim last week that Tom Brady could "take a knee on the rest of the season" and still emerge as MVP.
Ben from Lynchburg, Va., dedicated more than 1,100 words to his dissenting opinion.
Like most others I heard from, he favored the Philadelphia Eagles' Michael Vick. I appreciate Vick's season too, and can say I was among those who thought sticking with Vick over Kevin Kolb was an easy call.
Vick does have 24 total touchdowns against four interceptions, but after watching Brady sizzle in the freezing cold at Soldier Field, I'm not sure our runaway MVP candidate could realistically play poorly enough over the final three games to doom his chances.
Let's take my "he-could-take-a-knee" assertion a step further.
Could Brady emerge as a legitimate MVP candidate this season if he suddenly started playing the worst football of his career? For fun, I went through Pro Football Reference looking for the three statistically worst performances of Brady's regular-season NFL life, wondering how Brady's final 2010 credentials would look if we filled in his upcoming stat lines with his all-time worst single-game numbers.
Three games stood out for their statistical futility:
- Sept. 7, 2003: Brady completes 14 of 28 passes for 123 yards, no touchdowns and four interceptions during a 31-0 loss to Buffalo. His rating is 22.5.
- Nov. 5, 2006: Brady completes 20 of 35 passes for 201 yards, no touchdowns and four interceptions during a 27-20 loss to Indianapolis. His rating is 34.0.
- Nov. 27, 2005: Brady completes 22 of 40 passes for 248 yards, one touchdown and four interceptions during a 26-16 loss to Kansas City. His rating is 42.5.
If Brady duplicated those numbers exactly over the Patriots' final three games -- don't get your hopes up, Jets fans -- he would become the statistical incarnation of the 2010 Drew Brees, pretty much. Brady would finish with 30 touchdowns, 16 interceptions and a 93.4 rating (Brees is at 93.6). He would pass for 3,970 yards, finish with an 11-5 record and probably still pick up an MVP vote or two.