MVP chatter is hot in the streets these days, which is fitting as we are coming to a close on the 2021 regular season in the NFL. Currently, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is the betting favorite to win the award for the second-consecutive season. While you can most certainly make a strong case for the Green Bay star — to the chagrin of some voters — there’s a pretty good argument to be made that Tom Brady is the rightful heir to the MVP throne for this season.
It’s not hyperbole to say that the Buccaneers quarterback is in the midst of one of the greatest seasons of all time. Already, he’s thrown for the third-most completions in a season in NFL history and — if keeps on his 311 passing yards per game pace — he’d slot in No. 3 all-time for the most passing yards in a single season. Sure, you can ding that latter achievement a bit for the extra game being added in, but Brady also leads the league in almost every meaningful statistic amongst his peers this season. Entering Week 18, Brady has more completions, passing yards, and passing touchdowns than any other quarterback this season, including Rodgers.
As it specifically relates to the Packers signal-caller, Brady has nearly a thousand more passing yards than Rodgers at the moment. While Rodgers does have the edge over Brady in two key categories — completion percentage and interceptions — if you peel those numbers back a bit further, Brady does gain a little ground.
He’s tied with Matthew Stafford for the most dropped passes this season (34) and the Buccaneers quarterback had a drop percentage of 6.9% that ranked 12th among quarterbacks (min. 50% of dropbacks), per Pro Football Focus. That includes a league-high eight dropped passes in the end zone (h/t Steve Palazzolo of PFF). When you look at Rodgers, his drop percentage is 4.1%, which is the third-fewest among qualified QBs. While Brady has more interceptions (12), it comes as the quarterback has dropped back 157 more times than Rodgers this season. Not to mention a few of those picks were tipped off the hands of Brady’s intended target.
To move away from the nitty-gritty of parsing through stats, however, Brady has also put together multiple signature moments this season. Back in Week 3, he became just the second quarterback in NFL history to pass the 80,000 passing yard threshold and then surpassed Drew Brees for the all-time record just a week later. He also became the first quarterback in NFL history to reach 600 career touchdown passes in the regular season and later passed Brees again to become the NFL’s all-time completions leader.
Of course, those mile markers Brady crossed to make NFL history don’t automatically warrant MVP votes. They are merely cherries on top of the overall MVP argument. His true most-valuable moments have come in do-or-die scenarios during the Bucs season.
Just last week, Brady orchestrated a game-winning drive that traveled 93 yards on nine plays to beat the Jets. What made that drive even more impressive was Brady was effectively playing with no-names as the Buccaneers were missing a number of key starting pass-catchers. Brady was completing passing to the likes of Cyril Grayson (career practice squad player) and Tyler Johnson (2020 fifth-round pick) to earn the team’s 12th win of the year.
You put any other quarterback in that situation and you’re probably getting a different result, which further hammers home Brady’s historic value to the Buccaneers. To reiterate, Rodgers certainly has a claim to the MVP this season. However, it’s just not as strong as Brady’s as we enter the final week of the regular season.
Oh yeah, did we mention that Brady is doing all this at 44 YEARS OLD?! Feels like that is worth a few extra points in his favor.