New England Patriots: Why Tom Brady is the 2017 NFL MVP

FOXBORO, MA - NOVEMBER 26: Tom Brady /

Philadelphia’s Carson Wentz remains the front-runner in polls, but the 2017 NFL MVP should be awarded to New England Patriots QB Tom Brady. Here’s why.

Philadelphia’s Carson Wentz remains the odds-on favorite to win the 2017 NFL MVP. But New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is besting him in virtually every category and should be the front-runner for the award.

Wentz definitely has strong support. ESPN’s NFL MVP poll has 8 of 12 writers favoring him and claims it’s “Wentz’s award to lose.” USA Today’s NFL MVP tracker puts Wentz ahead 29 points to Brady’s 23, but suggests his hold on the lead is “slipping” thanks to Brady’s “gains.”

That said, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith asks:

"I’m not knocking Carson Wentz, but show me where he’s been better than Tom Brady. What am I missing?"

Stephen, you’re not missing anything. It’s the other writers who are missing the boat on Brady’s remarkable season. And it would be a miscarriage of justice if anyone other than Brady hoists the MVP trophy this season.

Really, as Steven Ruiz suggests, it shouldn’t even be close.

"The only way Brady will not win MVP is if voters are so bored by his sustained brilliance, that they look for any reason to give a new face the award."

Numbers don’t lie

To begin with, Brady’s numbers best Wentz’s in all but one category. Brady leads all NFL qualifying quarterbacks in the following categories:

  • Passing Yards (3,374)
  • Completions (279)
  • Yards Per Attempt (8.3)
  • First Downs (167)
  • Passer Rating (111.7)

He is second to Wentz in touchdowns and to the injured Deshaun Watson in first down percentage.

By way of comparison, here’s how Brady’s numbers stack up against Wentz’s:

  • Passing Yards: Brady 3,374 (1st), Wentz 2,657 (11th)
  • Touchdowns: Brady 26 (2nd), Wentz 28 (1st)
  • Interceptions: Brady 3 (T-1st), Wentz 5 (T-3rd)
  • Passer Rating: Brady 111.7 (1st), Wentz 104.0 (4th)

Wentz is having a terrific season. But the fact that Brady’s numbers are better in nearly every way illustrates just how great he’s been.

Supporting cast

The Philadelphia Eagles sport an NFL-leading 10-1 record and Wentz is arguably their biggest contributor to that mark. But he’s had plenty of help. From the 1-2 ground punch of LeGarrette Blount and Jay Ajayi to receivers Zach Ertz, Alshon Jeffrey and Nelson Agholor, Wentz’s supporting cast is top-notch. Further, aside from Ertz sitting out Week 9 with a hamstring injury, all have been healthy and available this season.

On the other hand, Brady lost top target Julian Edelman for the season to a torn ACL suffered during the preseason. Rob Gronkowski sat our Week 5. Danny Amendola missed Week 2. Chris Hogan remains out, lost to a shoulder injury in Week 8. Brandin Cooks has been a constant, but otherwise, Brady has been mixing-and-matching targets all year. And only recently have the Patriots settled on the combination of Dion Lewis and Rex Burkhead to lead their backfield.

Simply put, the New England Patriots wouldn’t be an AFC-best 9-2 without Tom Brady. They probably wouldn’t even be close.

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Did I mention that Tom Brady is doing all of this in his age-40 season? This will likely go into the history books as the best season ever for a 40+-year-old quarterback, but it’s become par for the course for Brady.

Now in his 18th season, Brady leads all quarterbacks in regular season victories. He’s led the New England Patriots to five Super Bowl championships, 14 division titles, 25 playoff victories and he holds nearly every postseason passing record. He’s also 4th all-time in passing yards and completions and 3rd in touchdowns and passer rating.

Yet for all his accomplishments, Brady has but two NFL MVP awards to his name. That’s fewer than fellow passers Peyton Manning (5), Brett Favre (3) and Johnny Unitas (3) and matched by Kurt Warner, Joe Montana, Steve Young and Aaron Rodgers.

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With all due respect, Brady is arguably the greatest quarterback in the history of the league. While he likely won’t catch Manning, matching Favre and Unitas and surpassing the others seems the least voters should do to further cement his place among the best to ever play the game.