Sports

The reason Tom Brady is still the 2021 NFL MVP over Aaron Rodgers

The 2021 NFL MVP is still six weeks away from being announced, but the speculation on who will win the award has been going on for months. Early on in the season that Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray was on his way to his first-ever MVP, but as the season has progressed he has slowly worked himself out of contention and is now has just the ninth-best odds to win (+4000), according to Vegas Insider. The conversation is now centered around two future first-ballot Hall-of-Famers, Tampa bay Buccaneers Quarterback Tom Brady (+175), and the current betting favorite, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (+150).

While Rodgers may be the odds-on favorite to come away with his fourth NFL MVP award (2011, 2014, 2020) and his second straight, the case can be made that Brady is the actual most valuable player and not “Mr. COVID-Toe.”

First, here is how the two match up statistically:

Brady: 4,348 passing yards, 36 touchdowns, 11 interceptions, 20 sacks, 7.2 yards per attempt

Rodgers: 3,487 passing yards, 30 touchdowns, four interceptions, 27 sacks, 7.9 yards per attempt

While Rodgers has had the higher yards per attempt, it is Brady who is compiling the stats at a higher rate and that is because he is asked to do much more for his team than Rodgers is. Brady has had to throw the ball 602 times this season compared to just 441 for Rodgers. That’s because Rodgers has a running game that is not nearly as potent in Tampa Bay.

Rodgers can turn around and hand the ball off to running backs Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon while Brady has gotten great production out of Leonard Fournette, he does not receive the type of volume that takes any weight off of the shoulders of a quarterback. Brady has also taken seven fewer sacks. While a high sack total is indicative of a bad offensive line, it is also a sign of a quarterback that is holding the ball too long.

The second most important piece of information–to go along with stats–that a player must have to win the MVP award, is narrative. Rodgers is certainly building that for himself by having the best team record in the NFL but Brady’s Buccaneers are just one game back and have played the tenth hardest schedule compared to the fifteenth hardest schedule played by Rodgers’ Packers.

Brady has also recently lost receiver Chris Godwin for the year, Fournette for a minimum of three weeks, and stud wideout Mike Evans for at least this week. If Brady can win these last three games without most of his weapons, he will turn the narrative in his favor for good. That shouldn’t be too hard considering the Buccaneers play the easiest remaining schedule in the NFL.

That sets the stage for Brady to win his fourth NFL MVP award (2004, 2010, 2017) and Rodgers to come in second in what many expect to be the closest MVP race in years. As mentioned earlier, Rodgers may still be the betting favorite to win the award, but upon closer examination, it is Brady who is the most deserving of the award and he also has the narrative to go with it.

 

 

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