By Ben Pierce
Since the start of the 2016 season, there have been outcries and accusations of sub-par play throughout the NFL by media and fans alike. The season is half over, and nearly half the league is under .500 in the standings. Many attribute this to a lack of “star power” in the league after the acclaimed departure of Peyton Manning as well as the very prevalent and ugly decline of Aaron Rodgers. Although many teams have surprised everyone with their play, no one for sure knows what type of performance teams will give week in and week out. The NFL is clearly ushering in a new era of young stars, and some are still developing. Four out of the ten leading passers are no older than 27.
Based on the previous analysis, one can imagine the MVP this season is slim pickings as well. The main names thrown about are Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, and Derek Carr. What do they have in common? They’re all young players who are arguably unproven and rough around the edges. Two of them are rookies, one only starting because Tony Romo has a bad back, front, and sides.
So where am I going with all this? I’m going in the direction of greatness. Tom Brady’s play since his return in week 5 has been better than any four game stretch of his career. He was offensive player of the month for October in the AFC. He has 12 touchdowns to 0 interceptions, 1,319 yards, and an astronomical 133.9 rating. His team is 4-0 since his return beating solid teams such as the Steelers and Bengals. Therefore, he has to be the mid-season MVP, right? Well, he can’t be; at least according to Max Kellerman of ESPN and Chris Simms of Bleacher Report. Kellerman’s position is that since Brady missed 25% of the season, he never can be considered the MVP no matter how great he will continue to play. Simms, other than being a closet Brady-hater, takes a similar position but allows some leeway in that by the end of the season he could be considered MVP. Tom Brady is the MVP right now, and will most likely will still be come January.
Brady has made a notable difference to the way the Patriots play as one would guess. Before Brady’s return, the Garoppolo and Brissett double-headed monster only averaged 18.5 points per game. With Brady back at the helm, the re-energized Pats offense now averages 34 points a game. His completion percentage, (73.1), yards per game (329.8), and yards per attempt (9.8) are all career-highs through a four game stretch in his career. Brady has also done a great job of incorporating new targets Martellus Bennett and Chris Hogan, standout performance of Bennett week 5 vs Cleveland (3TDs) and Hogan with some sweet catches and a touchdown in the blowout game against Buffalo in week 8.
Brady’s game is always improving, even at 39 years old. From his pocket mobility to deep ball accuracy, TB12 never stops trying to be better in all facets. In his last game against Buffalo, Brady showed both mobility and deep-ball accuracy on a 15 yard run and a 53 yard rainbow to none other than Chris Hogan. And no one in their right mind believes he is about to slow down. Oh, and not to mention many people are down on the Patriot’s defense right now as well.
Clearly, Tom Brady is playing the best football of his career. And if the best ever is at his best, no one can be better. Crown him.