New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is no stranger to winning awards, and titles, for that matter. In Brady’s illustrious career he has won three Super Bowl titles and two NFL MVPs. And while this season may not be his most outstanding from a statistical perspective, it could be the year that he was the most valuable to his team.
In the past, especially in Brady’s first few seasons when they were winning titles, he was more of a game manager type than he was a dynamic franchise quarterback. An unknown quantity when he stepped onto the field in 2001, Brady’s career arc is unlike any other that the league has seen before. And now that arc includes a year when he has put his team on his back and carried them to one of the best records in the league.
This season has seen a Patriots team ravaged by injuries, especially on the defensive side. We all knew that the offense wasn’t going to be as dynamic as it was in past years, but the defense was expected to finally be able to hold its own. It did that and more early in the season, but after injuries to key players like Vince Wilfork and Jerod Mayo, that defense just can’t win games anymore.
No, just like in years past, the pressure of winning is squarely on the shoulders of Brady and the offense. An offense, mind you, that still doesn’t have a single dynamic playmaker. None of the young, unproven receivers are any closer to being a game changer than they were this summer, the running backs have been up and down all season, and in the most unsurprising moment of the season tight end Rob Gronkowski went down with a major injury.
If this offense is going to lead the Patriots to a playoff spot it will be because Brady dragged them kicking and screaming into the postseason. He may not be as good as he was just a year or so ago, that’s obvious when you watch him. He misses throws from time to time which is something we’re used to seeing from mere mortal quarterbacks, but not from Tom Brady.
Every season it’s fun to see the NFL MVP debate comes down to semantics. Is the award really for the “most valuable” player or should it go to the most outstanding player? Every year it goes to the latter, but every year there are candidates like Brady who make us rethink who should really be winning the award. If Brady were not on the team, the Patriots would struggle to win any games at all, let alone get a first-round bye in the playoffs.
If the award really should go the player that is the most valuable to their team, it should go to Brady.