Friday, January 06, 2017

The Great NFL MVP Robbery Of 2016

Up until this weekend Tom Brady was the favorite for the NFL MVP with the polls and the bookies. Seemingly out of nowhere, Matt Ryan is now hot favorite with both, despite his five losses.

Matt Ryan v Tom Brady
Something doesn’t feel right about this.

As of last week Tom Brady was the hot favorite for the NFL MVP award. I want to punch myself in the face for using this word, but nevertheless here it is, mysteriously, and despite a terrific final, winning, interception free game against Miami, in Florida no less, Brady is all of a sudden placing second to five game losing Matt Ryan of the Falcons.

Um, what?

Yes, Matt Ryan, who lost FIVE NFL games in 2016, has taken over the polls and indeed the betting for the NFL MVP race.

Let’s get one thing straight first, I like Matt Ryan, I think he’s a terrific player, and should Brady ever retire, I would love nothing more than for the Patriots to trade for Ryan and have him steer the good ship New England onto its next dynasty. Pie in the sky, obviously, I am just illustrating that I’m a Ryan fan and have been since his Boston College days.

Brady and Ryan's season stats are very close. They are almost identical actually, particularly if you average out Brady’s over a full, 16 game season. For example, if Brady played 16 games he was on a pace to toss 37 touchdowns. Ryan’s stats are a couple of points higher and that speaks to a very consistent season, however you can’t but take notice of the 7 interceptions.

Sam Monson of PFF wrote a brilliant article about Ryan a couple of months ago and reading it (and indeed watching Ryan) you come away with the impression he’s a super talented gun slinger who sometimes is a bit loose with the rock. Hence 7 picks and extrapolated out further, hence 5 team losses for the Falcons in 2016.

Some in the Ryan camp are apologetically using Brady’s 4 game suspension as a reason Matty Ice should take the trophy. They’re suggesting that Brady lost out on yards and TDs via the gap in games, and technically they are correct. The problem with that argument is you have to use it both ways. Matt Ryan lost 5 (Five!) games, Brady lost 1 (and in that loss they had the ball at the 1 yard line and probably should have at least tied the game).

Call it both ways, as they say.

For me, a major part of the MVP award is the value that player brought to his team and their success story, ultimately measured by wins. Matt Ryan contributed a great deal to a good Atlanta team but lost five games. I would openly wonder has an NFL MPV team ever lost as many as five games before?

Tom Brady has just as good a season statistically as Ryan, better in some categories, and only lost once all year long.

Last I checked it was Most Valuable Player, not 'Guy with slightly better stats in some categories but lost FOUR more games).

The good news is Brady will take this insult and put it to good use. Plenty of football yet to be played, but we could very well see Brady v Ryan in the Superbowl. If that happens, unless you're a Falcons fan, I can bet I know where your money would be.



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Irish National baseball team

Irish National baseball team
Team Ireland at the European Championships, Croatia, 2000.

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