At 44, it’s already a bit of a miracle that Tom Brady is still on an NFL roster. Not only that, he’s starting for a title contender. And putting up numbers that rank this season as one of the best in his career.
Tom Brady is 44. When he won it four years ago, he was already considered ‘old’. But pundits and fans alike are now very much aware that you can’t out Tom Terrific no matter what, even though most of his contemporaries are long retired.
Brady is currently a bookie favorite to claim his 4th regular-season MVP award. But is it really a foregone conclusion? And if not, who has a legit chance of snatching the storybook ending?
MVP Watch: Is the 2021 Race a Lock for Brady?
With all the superlatives hitting the headlines lately, it’s very tempting to start thinking that the MVP race is done and dusted. It’s a lock for Brady, right? Not so fast.
Read any article from before Week 15, and Tom Brady runs away with the MVP title. Every single fantasy player would put all of their marbles on this guy. His season was just that good. Anyone else is just served to fill newspaper space. But against the New Orleans Saints, Brady was looking his age.
His team suffered a humiliating shutout, losing 9-0 at home. He passed for 214 yards, but no touchdowns. He went just 26 of 48, just over 50%. Where Rodgers had an incredible game against the Ravens, Brady had an equally unimpressive week.
But things can change very quickly.
There are several NFL stars who deserve a place in the conversation:
The NFL is a league where oldies excel, apparently. Aaron Rodgers, at 38, is arguably having the best season of his stellar career. In his 14th season starting for the Packers, he will certainly surpass the franchise’s record for touchdown passes. In a memorable win against the Ravens, he tied Brett Favre’s record of 442.
Rodgers is probably the only real alternative to Brady (apologies to the rest of the cast on this list!). He was completely dominant in Week 15. The Ravens saw him go 23/31, notching 268 yards and going for three touchdowns. That puts him at a 110.4 passer rating, good enough to lead the league. He’s also suffered only four interceptions and has passed for 37 touchdowns.
In a ‘normal’ year, that would be enough to win the MVP trophy. There’s no doubt about the fact he’s having an MVP-caliber season, and many commentators are starting to give him the edge.
He’s having a fantastic season, that’s beyond a shadow of a doubt. The only thing that seems to be holding him back is what’s happening off the field. Can he overcome that?
After Game Week 15, it looks like he may be able to. The odds are turning in his favor, with some sportsbooks like DraftKings – that will give you the latest and most accurate odds on the 2021 MVP race – putting him ahead of Brady.
The biggest outsider for the MVP title is Colts RB Jonathan Taylor. He would follow Adrian Peterson in 2012, the last running back to win the gong. With just three non-quarterbacks winning the prize since the turn of the century, the odds don’t look great.
Yet no one can downplay the season this guy is having. Week 15 saw yet another colossal performance, and it was witnessed by the entire country on national TV. He impressively led his team against the Patriots, notching 29 carries and 170 yards. His 67-yard touchdown to ice the game was just ridiculous and a testament to his great season.
He probably won’t win. But there are scenarios where he may be able to manage to surprise the oddsmakers.
Is Brady Faltering at the End of the Season?
Brady’s game against the Saints has made his fans a little uncomfortable. He still has quality, everyone knows that. But does his body have the ability to take him through the entire season?
Last week, he looked slow, uncomfortable, downright average. He was shut out for the first time in over 15 years. It was one of his worst games in uniform ever. Can an MVP really afford to play a game like that? Granted, it’s just one game, but the NFL season isn’t exactly long.
The race is still super close.
And let’s not forget Jonathan Taylor. If Brady falters and Rodgers shine, the latter’s personal views may give the edge to the Colts’ RB. It’s finely balanced, and it could all come down to the final game of the season. Get ready for a grandstand finish.