With just four weeks remaining in the NFL season—where, oh where, does the time go?—the race for the National Football League’s MVP trophy looks like it’s down to just two competitors: Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. And it’s an unlikely duo for a variety of reasons.
The biggest, of course, is that, just two years ago, Vick was sitting by himself in a prison cell, unsure about whether or not he’d ever play in the NFL again. So the fact he’s even being mentioned as an MVP candidate is surprising. But it’s also surprising because Brady has been overshadowed by fellow AFC quarterback Peyton Manning time and time again over the course of the last decade. But since Manning has struggled so badly to get into a rhythm this season, Brady is getting plenty of much-derserved shine for leading the Pats to a 10-2 record this season.
So, it comes down to these two. But the question remains: Who actually deserves the NFL’s Most Valuable Player trophy this season? To help us make our decision, we broke both players down.
Our case for Michael Vick: Vick has the advantage of having the Hollywood story on his side. Love or hate him, his story is so intriguing that it’s kept his name in the headlines all season long and his progress as a quarterback has been under a microscope as a result of it. He’s shown some real progress, too, and earned the most votes for the Pro Bowl of any player as a result of it.
Since taking over the quarterback position for the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 1 of the season when starter Kevin Kolb was injured, Vick has passed for more than 2200 yards, rushed for almost 600 yards and accounted for 21 of the team’s total touchdowns. More importantly, he’s been more like the old Michael Vick on the field, scrambling around and forcing opposing teams to account for him at all times. As a result, he’s got the Eagles in first place heading into Week 14 of the season—a position few analysts thought they’d be in when the season started back in September.
Bottom line: Even if Vick wasn’t making a comeback of epic proportions right now, he’d still be having a stellar MVP-like season. So much of what he does on the field can’t be calculated by stats. So while he’ll surely get a few extra votes because of his back story, that isn’t the only reason he deserves to be in the running for MVP.
Our case for Tom Brady: Brady doesn’t have the Hollywood story Vick has (well, actually, we’re lying—Brady does have the Hollywood story, but it’s not nearly as good as Vick’s right now) but he has managed to do more with less this season.
Despite the fact that the Patriots traded away Brady’s favorite target Randy Moss midway through the season and despite the fact that Brady is now throwing to a no-name cast of characters out on the field (undrafted running back Danny Woodhead!?), He has better stats than Vick (28 touchdowns total and more than 3000 yards passing) and he’s done more with them by leading his team to a better record. At 10-2, the Pats have been the cream of the crop in the AFC and they’ve managed to do it by beating top-notch teams like the Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Jets (who they absolutely creamed on Monday Night Football earlier this week) while doing it.
Bottom line: If Vick wasn’t playing as well as he is this season, Brady would be the runaway selection for the MVP. Even though he’s had better years offensively, he appears to be assuming his role as one of the all-time greats right now by showing that he doesn’t need an All-Pro receiver at the end of every one of his passes or an All-Pro running back to help take the pressure off of him. He might not be the sexy pick this year, but if the MVP was selected off stats alone, he’d get the nod.
And our pick for NFL Most Valuable Player is…(drumroll please) Tom Brrrrr-ady!Giselle has started making room for it already. Shocked? Don’t be. Judging by the way MVPs are typically selected, you shouldn’t be surprised if this is who ends up winning it, either. Last year, Drew Brees had one of the best stories in the NFL when he led the New Orleans Saints to the Super Bowl. The MVP winner? The safe pick Peyton Manning. We see it playing out the same way this season. Though Vick would be an interesting pick—and make for one of the most intriguing sports stories of the year—he hasn’t been the best QB in the NFL this season. That distinction goes to Brady, who will add a second MVP trophy to the mantle this season if he continues his high level of play. Let’s just hope