In a year that inevitably will feature Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning bogarting the single-season touchdown pass record from Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, Brady could return the favor when it’s time to tally the MVP votes.
And here’s where we begin the annual process of pointing out the deep and profound flaws with the “official” awards process to which the Associated Press stubbornly clings. It’s an all-or-nothing system based on a narrow pool of only 50 voters, most of whom cover only one team and some of whom shouldn’t have a vote for other reasons.
Last year, those 50 voters got it right, giving the MVP to Adrian Peterson after he willed the Vikings to the playoffs and nearly broke the single-season rushing record. For weeks, most assumed that Manning would win it in a landslide.
This year, that same assumption has applied. But with the Chargers once again finding a way to bedevil Manning and the Patriots now in position to swipe the No. 1 seed from the Broncos, Brady deserves serious consideration for the honor.
Brady’s stats don’t compare to Manning’s. But in the only stat that ever really matters — points scored vs. points allowed — Brady’s team could end up surpassing Manning’s.
Taking away the quarterbacks, which team is objectively better? On offense, it’s undoubtedly Denver. Brady has been dealing with injuries, inexperience, and at times incompetence.
While Brady’s passing skills arguably have begun to diminish, he now has a chance to do what has been throughout the season unthinkable. Brady can help the Patriots secure home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, forcing Manning and company to return to Foxboro for yet another cold-weather elimination game after which Peyton possibly won’t be telling people to shove things where the sun don’t shine.
Last year, Manning had to settle for offensive player of the year. This year, Manning may end up winning “only” the offensive player of the year award.