There are two games left in the NFL’s regular season. Other than finalizing the playoff field, the greatest debate seems to be: Who is the season’s MVP?
The way I see it, it’s a four-player race that’s still up for grabs. But right now, Tom Brady and Michael Vick are at the top, and I’ve got them even. The other two candidates: Matt Ryan and Roddy White of the Falcons.
I welcome your opinion. Also got a poll up.
Just one thing: I was on Twitter last night and the rapper @BowWow turned moron when he Tweeted, “If @MikeVick dont get MVP the nfl and commisioner[sic] are [bleeping] racist. Who u kno can go to jail come out turn a franchise around and dominate.”
I will say this once: PLEASE let’s have a civil debate without getting into a race debate. I will grant you that a lot of folks probably hold a grudge against Vick for his past, but let’s remember that at one time he brought this city together like maybe no athlete ever has, and it wasn’t about race then. If, say, Brady wins the MVP, it’s not because the NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell are racist. Sorry, Bowwow.
OK, here are my four candidates, listed in order of preference, going into the last two weeks:
1.) TOM BRADY. New England (12-2) is tied with the Falcons for the best record in the NFL. The biggest reason is Brady. He hasn’t thrown an interception since the Patriots’ fifth game against Baltimore. That’s nine straight games (283 attempts) without a pick. He’s tied for the league lead in touchdowns (31), has the fewest interceptions (four) and the highest quarterback rating (109.9). There’s also this: He and the Patriots’ offense got better after they dumped Randy Moss. Brady made Deion Branch relevant again.
1a.) MICHAEL VICK. The New York Giants’ meltdown against Philadelphia Sunday notwithstanding, is there any quarterback in the league other than Vick who could’ve orchestrated that comeback? I don’t think so. He exuded leadership and was the ultimate weapon, throwing for 242 yards and three touchdowns and rushing for 130 and another score. Vick’s turnovers have picked up as he’s gotten more beat up as the season’s gone on. But if he can finish with two strong games against Minnesota and Dallas, he is MVP worthy. The biggest reason not to vote for Vick is he sat out three games and was knocked out early in another. But his body of work compensates for that.
3.) MATT RYAN. I’ve gone back and forth between Ryan and White as to who’s been more valuable this season. Right now, it’s a split vote. Ryan is closing in on an amazing achievement: He is 32-13 as a starter and with wins in the final two games can break Dan Marino’s record for most wins (33) in his first three seasons. But let’s focus on this year. Ryan’s been at his best when the game is on the line, leading several fourth-quarter comebacks. That defines a winner (and the Falcons have won eight straight and more than any team except the Patriots). Despite four interceptions in his last three games, Ryan is on the way to the best touchdown-interception ratio of his career (currently 25 to 9).
3a.) RODDY WHITE. There’s a tendency to lean toward the quarterback when picking an MVP. But White has had the best season of his career and he has made the Falcons a better offense and Ryan a better quarterback with his ability to make plays. White leads the NFL in receptions (106) and receiving yards (1,284), averaging nearly 92 yards per game. He was the reason the Falcons beat Baltimore (12 catches, 138 yards, two touchdowns) and Cincinnati (11, 201, 2). Some wondered if White was worth elite-level money when he got his last contract, but he has proven that he is. Without him, this Falcons’ offense becomes ordinary.
That’s my opinion. I welcome yours.