Nine of the last ten players to win the NFL’s Most Valuable Player award have been quarterbacks. Given how this season is shaping up, this year’s winner will wind up being a quarterback as well. The NFL has published a list of candidates for this season, including Antonio Brown, Calais Campbell, and Everson Griffen. However, the consensus seems to have Carson Wentz, Russell Wilson, and Tom Brady leading the race for MVP this season, and for good reason. All three are top-tier candidates, but only one will walk away with the award in February. Here’s why Tom Brady deserves to be MVP.
Tom Brady Deserves to be MVP
Tom Brady has won the award twice before, once in 2010 and once in 2007. Let’s take a look at Brady’s numbers for those seasons and how they compare to his 2017 season so far.
In 2007, Brady led the New England Patriots to an undefeated regular season. The Patriots went 16-0 for the first and only time in franchise history. He went 398 for 578 to lead the league in completion percentage with 68.9%. He threw for 4,806 yards to average 300.4 yards per game, both league-leading statistics. He also led the league in passing touchdowns with a career-high 50 touchdowns. Brady was picked off eight times during his 2007 season and was sacked 21 times. His NFL passer rating also led the league at 117.2.
In 2010, Brady’s Patriots went 14-2 in the regular season, dropping road games to the Cleveland Browns and the New York Jets. (What a world we live in.) He passed for 3,900 yards with a completion percentage of 65.9%. He only threw four interceptions in 492 attempts, giving him a league-leading interception percentage of 0.8%. He also led the league in NFL passer rating (111), adjusted yards gained per pass attempt (nine), and adjusted net yards per pass attempt (8.25) like he did in 2007.
The season isn’t over yet, so we’re working with 12 games worth of numbers here. But Brady is currently leading the league in completions (300), passing yards (3,632), interception percentage (0.9), yards gained per attempt (8.3), adjusted yards gained per pass attempt (9.1), average yards per game (302.7), NFL passer rating (109.7), and adjusted net yards per pass attempt (8.2).
As you can see, Brady’s 2017 numbers aren’t that far off from where he was the first two times he won MVP. Three of Brady’s next four games are divisional matchups against teams at .500 or below. Given his performances against these teams historically and already this year, Brady’s numbers should look just a smidge better by the end of the season.
Brady vs the Competition
Both Carson Wentz and Russell Wilson have had fantastic seasons thus far. The Philadelphia Eagles are 10-2 largely due to Wentz’s playmaking ability and demeanor on the field. And no one will deny that Wilson has been magical, leading the Seattle Seahawks to 8-4. But if we compare their individual play to Brady’s against common opponents, we can begin to see how each MVP candidate reacts to similar pressures and situations.
Brady vs Wentz
Against common opponents, Carson Wentz has 37 completions on 134 passing attempts for a completion percentage of 54.48%. In these games, Wentz has thrown for a total of 996 yards, averaging 7.4 yards per attempt. He has 10 touchdowns and one interception.
Against common opponents, Tom Brady has 105 completions on 162 passing attempts for a completion percentage of 64.8%. In these games, Brady has thrown for a total of 1,173 yards, averaging 7.2 yards per attempt. He has six touchdowns and no interceptions.
Brady vs Wilson
Against common opponents, Russell Wilson has 52 completions on 83 passing attempts for a completion percentage of 62.65%. In these games, Wilson has thrown for a total of 710 yards, averaging 8.55 yards per attempt. He has six passing touchdowns, one rushing touchdown, and two interceptions.
Against common opponents, Tom Brady has 46 completions on 64 passing attempts for a completion percentage of 71.88%. In these games, Brady has thrown for a total of 627 yards, averaging 9.8 yards per attempt. He has seven touchdowns and no interceptions.
Brady has been more accurate than both Wentz and Wilson against common opponents and has a better overall completion percentage by >6%. Brady beats out both quarterbacks in terms of overall yards, yards per attempt, interceptions thrown, and average yards per game. Couple these statistics with the fact that Brady has been an NFL starter since before Wilson turned 13, and his accomplishments on the field become even more impressive.
There is no other option at this point in the season. Unless his play falls off spectacularly in the next few weeks, Tom Brady will be the NFL’s Most Valuable Player of 2017.