New England Quarterback Tom Brady looks to be a shoe-in for the NFL MVP award this year and owns the best passer rating in football right now. (109.5) Only Michael Vick has fewer interceptions (2) than Brady (4), and Brady edges Peyton Manning by one touchdown pass to lead the league in that category.
Brady has impressive numbers this season, trailing only Drew Brees (69.5) in completion percentage with 66.8 of his passes finding their target. He's connected on 257 throws out of 385 for 27 total touchdowns on the year so far. Losing Randy Moss didn't phase him, and he's finding new best friends in Tight End Rob Gronkowski (26 receptions, 322 yards, 6 TDs), Wide Receiver Aaron Hernandez (39 receptions, 513 yards, 4TDs) and Wide Receiver Deion Branch (36 receptions, 497 yards, 4 TDs). Brady's old best friend Wes Welker is back to his previous form and leads the team with 7 touchdowns on 72 receptions for 672 yards.
Brady's only been sacked 18 times, a tribute to his offensive line and one of his other tight ends who doesn't get nearly as many throws as he used to: Alge Crumpler (3 receptions, 35 yards). Crumpler's become a very strong blocking end, keeping some of the better linebackers in the league from breaking all the way around the outside to get to Brady.
Brady averages 7.9 yards per pass, good for 6th place in the league leaders there. His 252.4 yards per game puts him at a solid number ten in that stat column. The equalizer for Brady might not have anything to do with stats, though.
The fact is Brady is a leader to his team. He takes football very seriously and hates to lose. The team's loss to the Cleveland Browns had Brady fired up the following week, leading to a sideline tirade after a frustrating drive against the Steelers, who they were beating 10-3 at the time. Brady talked about the outburst on a popular sports talk show in Boston:
”They know me very well,” he said. “My emotions go up and down and so do theirs. I want them to know, and they do know, it’s all in the best interest of us trying to accomplish our goals each week. There’s nothing personal toward anybody. there’s plenty of times they want to scream at me. I don’t think you’re going to have a good football team if everyone is happy all the time . . . We’re just trying to win the game. I think keeping your emotions in check, there’s a time for that. There’s also a time for really getting fired up before the game, and fired up throughout the game and playing with a high level of concentration and focus.”
Before the rant, Brady's team flopped during a four-play possession. Wes Welker dropped what would have been a first down pass and Danny Woodhead get stuffed on a third-and-4 run. Since that Cleveland Browns game the Patriots have gone undefeated, and Coach Bill Belichick isn't afraid to give Brady credit for lighting into his teammates to help promote a more winning attitude.
“That’s why he’s Tom Brady. He’s not only a great quarterback, but he’s a great leader. He certainly is in command of our offensive team,” Belichick said about his star QB when asked to comment about the tirade.
Brady doesn't seem capable of losing now that all cylinders are firing properly on this team. His play will only continue to improve, and whether or not he gets the MVP award or not he is certainly the most valuable player on his team right now. That team also happens to be one of the best teams in the league and one of only 2 teams with 10-2 records right now. The Atlanta Falcons are the other team with the best NFL record, and a Falcons vs. Patriots Super Bowl is a definite possibility at this point. If Brady keeps doing so well each week leading up to that big game, he'll have another MVP award to add to his trophy case even if he doesn't help his team earn another Lombardi Trophy.