The NFL Most Valuable player race has turned into a two horse race. Many experts have New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady in the club house with a slight lead over the electrifying Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick. There are a few that are even screaming the name Philip Rivers. (We won't include him but I am sure he will get some consideration)
It is easy to manufacture a respectable argument in favor of either player. I think it is important to consider more than statistics. It is vital to weigh other factors such as adversity and expectations in addition to their team's overall performance.
The Case For Brady
The Patriots have an 11-2 record. They will likely be the No. 1 seed in the A.F.C. ensuring home-field throughout the playoffs. Brady’s statistics are simply Brady-like. Thus far he has passed for 3561 yards, 31 touchdowns against four interceptions. He has a passer rating of 109.9. Based on Brady’s statistics it would be easy to suggest he is the best player in football. It is being suggested he is playing at or near the a level that’s reminiscent to his record-setting year in 2007 when he smashed the single season record for 50 touchdowns and led his Patriots to an undefeated regular season.
What Brady is doing is phenomenal. He is the best player on the best team in the league. Usually that makes him the automatic MVP but in this case I think we can beg to differ. There are a few things that make it hard to compare the stats for each of these players but if we do it on a per game basis their numbers are pretty similar. With Vick having an edge in rushing yards as expected and a few more touchdowns.
The Case For Vick
The Eagles are currently 10-4. Vicks’ statistics are marvelous considering he was not expected to be the starter. Thus far he has passed for 2,755 yards, 20 touchdowns against five interceptions. Vick has rushed for an additional 613 yards and 8 touchdowns.
Andy Reid gave current back-up quarterback Kevin Kolb a boat-load of money in the off-season. Reid then flipped the keys to the Eagles machine and told him to drive. Coming into this season Vick was the prohibitive back-up, therefore there were no high expectations placed on Vick but once Vick was named the starter he has taken the opportunity and has ran with it.
Vick has started 10 games and played in 11 games this season. His numbers are pretty comparable to Brady's when you look at it from that perspective. But then there is the excitement factor. Vick's ability to improvise when things aren't going good is a factor that many will not compute. He used to do things with just his legs, now he does it with his arm as well.
The noted changes in his mechanics are noticeable. Of his 5 interceptions 3 were tips off of his receivers hands and the other two were over throws.
Assuming both players perform at the same level for the remaining two games one can make a solid case for either player. But after what I witnessed Vick do this year makes it hard for me to root against him. Maybe the NFL will make it right and offer up a dual MVP like they did with McNair and Manning in the earlier stages of the decade. If not, we can almost guarantee Vick will get the comeback player of the year award. Either way this season has been memorable as Vick has put up numbers on a team with one of the worst pass blocking offensive lines in the league.