Did Brady Deserve MVP?

Michael Peterman, Writer

Does Tom Brady deserve MVP? Most would say yes. He just won a Super Bowl with a team that was terrible last year. Although that is true, there are several other factors that need to be taken into account. This past season, the Buccaneers finished with seven wins and nine losses. Their quarterback, Jameis Winston, led the league in interceptions (30) as well as passing yards (5,109) and passing touchdowns (33). This seems to indicate a decent quarterback with a very good receiving core, which included Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, both excellent players. So, with Rob Gronkowski and Antonio Brown both signing on to the team in 2020, their receiving unit was stacked. The Bucs also signed former Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette, and continued to develop their 2018 second-round draft pick, Ronald Jones II. Between the two, they now had a quality run game going as well. With all this, and a very capable defense, the only thing they seemed to need was a consistent quarterback. Brady, even at the age of 43, could supply that better than Winston.

The Tampa Defense ranked eighth overall in the last season, and this year they ranked first overall. In each of their playoff appearances, they played teams with one very dominant wide receiver. For the Washington Football Team, it was Terry McLaurin, for the Saints—Michael Thomas, for the Packers—Devante Adams, and for the Chiefs—Tyreek Hill. By always doubling these superstars and keeping multiple safeties high, they managed to shut down these receivers, forcing their opponents to use weaker options. This greatly weakened the passing game for most of the Bucs’ opponents, combined with their ninth ranked defensive line putting pressure on quarterbacks.

As many saw in the Super Bowl, the Bucs’ D-line had no issue besting the Chiefs injury-ravaged offensive line, and Mahomes was often scrambling as soon as the ball was in his hands. The Bucs’ defensive line also ranks number one in rushing yards allowed and rushing touchdowns allowed, so the run game of their opponents was very limited. In the NFC championship game, the Bucs were up by five near the end of the fourth quarter. The Packers were given three chances to start a drive from within their own 30 yard line. These slip-ups were caused by Brady, who, while his team was defending a one score lead, threw two balls deep down field which were intercepted. Twice more he gave the ball back to Aaron Rogers, leaving no one to blame but himself. That could have been the end for Brady, but the defense, once again, held off the all three drives until the end of the game. So, sure, the Bucs won, but Brady gave the Packers every chance to start a drive and score a touchdown. Only by the consistency of the defense did that game go to the Bucs. Now, I understand that Brady had played a great game before that, but he failed when it mattered most, meaning that the Buccaneers could have met a massive defeat at the hands of Tom Brady. In the Super Bowl, Brady continued to sling balls to his top notch receiving core. All he had to do was get the ball near them; they would get open and reel in amazing catches by themselves. The Chiefs defense could not contain the passing game or the run game, which was equally effective, and so dominating was the Bucs defense that the Chiefs offence didn’t once set foot in the Bucs’ end zone. So, I believe that a leader and key player in the defense should have been chosen for MVP, not the infamous and overhyped Tom Brady.