The NFL MVP award winner will be announced next week. When it is announced, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady should take home the honors for the second time in his career, and second time in the past four seasons.
Earlier in the season, it looked like Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers could make a case and emerge as a favorite. Rivers has enjoyed a very good season as he's thrown for just under 4,400 yards and 30 touchdowns while being intercepted 12 times. The Chargers, however, laid an egg this year and have been eliminated from playoff contention headed into Week 17. In San Diego's two most recent losses - to the Raiders and Bengals - Rivers laid an egg, posting quarterback ratings of 79 and 82.3 while throwing a touchdown and interception in each game. Hardly the work of the league's MVP.
As the season progressed, it became clear that there were only two legitimate choices for MVP: Brady and Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick.
There's no doubt that Vick has been excellent this season. Vick has thrown for over 3,000 yards and 21 touchdown passes to go along with 676 yards rushing and an extra nine touchdowns on the ground. Vick has also posted a career-best 100.2 quarterback rating.
Vick has been great, but Brady has been perfect.
Through Week 16, Brady has passed for 3,701 yards, 34 touchdowns and just four interceptions. Brady hasn't been intercepted since New England's Week 6 win over the Ravens when he threw two interceptions - one of which was an end-of-the-half Hail Mary. Further, that was the first game in the post-Randy Moss era for the Patriots. Nobody knew how good New England would be without their biggest play making receiver - except maybe Tom Brady.
Brady has taken a supporting cast featuring BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Danny Woodhead, Wes Welker, Deion Branch, Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez and Brandon Tate and has turned them into an offensive juggernaut. Aside from Welker and Branch, with Branch being a midseason acquisition, none of the Patriots skill players would have been recognizable outside of New England.
The 2007 record breaking Patriots offense scored 589 points when Brady won the MVP and threw for an NFL record 50 touchdown passes. Brady had Moss that season - and Moss, of course, set the NFL single season record with 23 touchdown receptions. Donte Stallworth, Jabar Gaffney, and Wes Welker were also weapons for Brady in 2007.
The 2010 Patriots? They've scored 480 points through their first 16 games. Barring an excellent effort from the Dolphins defense on Sunday, New England will eclipse 500 points scored for the season, marking just the eighth time since 1990 that a team has scored more than 500 points in a single season. Brady has done it without luxury of Moss - who was also apart of the Vikings 556 point offense in 1998. He's done it without Torry Holt, Marshall Faulk and Isaac Bruce who were members of St. Louis' "Greatest Show On Turf" from 1999-2001. Brady has done it with Woodhead, Welker, Branch, Green-Ellis and a pair of rookie tight ends.
Vick has been great - but he also has DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin and LeSean McCoy who help make him great.
Brady makes everybody around him great, which is why his excellent season will be rewarded with his second MVP award, and perhaps his fourth Super Bowl title.