Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Brady's historic season tied to tight ends
For the second time in the last four seasons, Tom Brady was named the AP’s Offensive Player of the Year.
He’s the sixth player since the award was first handed out in 1973 to win it multiple times. The five other players who have won the award more than once are: Earl Campbell and Marshall Faulk (three each) and Jerry Rice, Barry Sanders and Terrell Davis.
When New England drafted not one but two tight ends in the first four rounds of last year’s draft, no one could have imagined the impact that Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez would have on Brady and the Patriots’ offense. When Brady threw to Gronkowski, his passer rating was 143.3, the highest among any QB-receiver duo this season. His passer rating of 130.6 to Hernandez ranked fifth in the NFL.
Brady targeted his tight ends 127 times this season compared to just 58 times in 2009. The rookie tight ends made a big difference for Brady in the red zone. Brady targeted his tight ends 29 times in the red zone in 2010 and picked up 17 touchdowns. In 2009, Brady targeted his tight ends 10 times in the red zone with four touchdowns.
Brady ranked first this season in touchdown passes (36), passer rating (111.0) and threw the fewest interceptions (4). His ratio of touchdowns to interceptions (9.0) is the highest in NFL history.
He'll enter 2011 with an NFL-record streak of 335 pass attempts without an interception in the regular season. His last interception came on a Hail Mary on the final play of regulation in Week 6 against the Baltimore Ravens.
In 11 of the Patriots’ 16 games this season, Brady threw at least two touchdown passes without an interception. The 11 such games broke his own NFL record that he set in 2007, when Brady threw a record 50 touchdown passes.
Brady has to be considered one of the favorites to be named the league’s MVP on Sunday. He also happens to be the last player to win both awards in the same season (2007).
However, winning the Offensive MVP award recently has not translated to Super Bowl success. The last player to win the Super Bowl and Offensive MVP award in the same season? Marshall Faulk in 1999.