Who Deserves To Be The MVP?

I don't know. I truly don't know.

The obvious choices are between Tom Brady and Michael Vick. I would have loved to have thrown Phillip Rivers' name in the mix as well considering how great of a first half he had and just how truly awful his receiving corps was at the time. But a bad second half and a playoff elimination sealed his fate for him also getting eliminated from the MVP hunt. I have talked to The 'Bright' One about this and he says hands down Vick deserves it. I could not strongly agree or disagree one way or another as long as one of those two men win it.

So to help me decide, I've decided to make a pro/cons list for Brady and Vick to help you, the reader, make an informed decision on who you think deserves to be the NFL MVP in 2010.

Pro Brady/ Anti-Vick

Tom Brady has been better at not turning over the ball

When the debate was still Rivers vs. Vick, the one thing that Vick had going for him is that he hadn't thrown an interception yet. In fact, he played in 7 straight games without throwing one. But then he faced the vaunted Bears defense and threw his first interception- in the red zone no less.

In 2010, Michael Vick ended the year (in 12 games) with 6 interceptions. Tom Brady on the other hand (in 15 games) has only thrown 4 interceptions. In fact, Tom Brady has set the record by throwing 319 straight attempts without throwing a pick and hasn't thrown an INT since Week 4. Vick has thrown at least one interception for the past five weeks versus Tom Brady who has only thrown a pick in two games this year.

Tom Brady has the better passer rating

Obviously this can be kind of a flawed statistic when one of the players you're comparing to is a great rusher, but Vick has also been a great passer has well with his 100.2 passer rating. But I think Brady's league leading 109.8 can not be ignored. Despite passer rating being more hard to calculate than the one millionth number in pi, I think it's a great stat and my favorite and best indicator and traditional statistic of greatness for a QB.

Michael Vick has the better supporting staff

You can look at the numbers of any Patriots player all you want, but what you really need to do is look at the physical skill of every player. Yes, Danny Woodhead had a fantastic year but the reason he looked so good is because of the great system Bill Belichick has in place. But being under 5'9", Woodhead would flounder in about 30 other systems. Compare his and The Law Firm's talents to LeSean McCoy- who was a top 2 running back in the NFC. McCoy looked like a healthy Brian Westbrook and has the physical tools to do what he did in 2010 on essentially every team (but probably not Carolina).

But what you really need to do is look at the team's receiving corps. Vick has a top 10 receiver talent in DeSean Jackson and a player that can score a TD and run past any corner in the league on any given play. At then you have a great young talent in Jeremy Maclin who would put up top 10 numbers if it weren't for Jackson there. No matter what you think of either player, they don't come anywhere close to the talent of Deion Branch and Wes Welker. You can look to see what Branch did in Seattle to know that he's purely a system guy and give all the praise you want to Welker, but there's a reason Miami was so easily and willing to get rid of him. Branch and Welker are products of their great system but Jackson and Maclin are just straight up great talents that would succeed anywhere.

And it's a helluva lot easier to put up great numbers with a great supporting cast around you.

Tom Brady has the better advanced stats

If you don't understand WPA, read here. WPA is the same stat used in baseball, just (obviously) used in a football context. Every down made and play made during that down affects the scoring of the game. The success of the play is weighted against what down was it, what's the current score of the game, how much time is left, and where did the play occur on the field. The best way to think of it: a 3 yard run on 4th and 2 is a lot more important than a 3 yard run on 1st and 20. It's this concept that goes into every play and is given a numerical value to each player.

I'm pretty sure this statistic also encompasses rushing plays made by a quarterback as well as passing plays and Tom Brady's 3.26 and .22 WPA/game is better than Vick's 1.78 WPA and .15 WPA/game.

That same concept for WPA also goes into another statistic called EPA where Brady leads all quarterbacks in that with 140.2 (compared to Vick's 102.1) and as well leading all quarterbacks in EPA/play with 0.26 compared to Vick's 0.20. You can read how to calculate EPA here.

Brady leads the league in both DYAR (total value) and DVOA (value per play) according to Football Outsiders, but even I'll admit this is extremely flawed because Vick's value comes in both the passing and running game whereas Brady's value comes essentially solely from the passing game- which is what DYAR and DVOA measure. Vick is first among QB's in rushing DYAR and 6th among QBs in rushing DVOA.

Pro Vick/ Anti-Brady

Michael Vick is the most exciting player in the game

I don't mean to say that MVP's should be given out solely based upon a subjective feeling of pleasure a fan gets from watching an NFL player, but think about why Vick is so much fun to watch- it's because he's been such a great passer as well as a great runner. Which means, as a defense, you have to account for Vick running as well as passing, which adds a huge strain to a defense. Especially when Vick is elite at doing both. And it's THAT reason that makes Vick a legitimate MVP candidate.

Although it's "easier" to scheme for Tom Brady because you know he's going to pass, it's still hard to execute. But because Vick is great at multiple aspects of an offense it makes him so much fun to watch and so hard to play defense against. Imagine if Dan Marino and Walter Payton were on the same team how great that offense would be? Now imagine if both were the same player and you get Vick (now obviously I'm being extremely hyperbolic, but I hope you get my drift). Having a top tiered quarterback and a top tiered running back in the same player is huge benefit to any team.

Tom Brady has the better passing offensive line

I don't care if you're Joe freaking Montana, if you're playing behind say this 2010 Bears offensive line (currently ranked dead last in passing tackling) or some of the Lions offensive lines in the past, then you are not going to put up great stats. When you have time to throw, you have time to go through multiple reads and then it is much easier for you to make completions and drive your team down the field. This is Football 101 (if thought by me. This is like grad school concepts if this class is being taught by Mike Lombardi). So you can look at straight stats all you want, but any statistic is going to favor the guys with the better line. This year, Brady and Vick are on equal footing as the basics of throwing the ball to a receiver to get 1st downs/touchdowns, so it's the "little" things like offensive line that really make the difference.

This year, the Patriots have the 6th best passing offensive line versus the Eagles who have the 27th best. That's a huge disparity and like Aaron Rodgers last year, it's a great accomplishment to put up elite numbers while having constant pressure in your face. And it's Vick's mobility that helps him get past a bad offensive line. If Brady played behind the Eagles line and Vick behind the Patriots line, then I'm sure Vick would put up passing numbers.

Unfortunately, that's pure conjecture. But the fact that Vick has the far inferior line gives him a great boost.

Vick has the better TD rate

I took into account both rushing TDs and passing TDs by each player. Brady currently has 35 total TDs (1 rushing) compared to Vick that has 30 total touchdowns (9 rushing). But Brady has played in three more games than Vick.

Currently, Brady has scored 2.33 TD/game versus Vick who has 2.50 TD/game- which gives the edge to Vick.

After I wrote the Brady bit I was going to conclude that Brady deserves the MVP but after finishing this article as a whole, I'm still conflicted. Even if you have a personal preference one way or the other, as long as either Vick or Brady is crowned MVP, the voters made the correct choice.


Sexy Rexy said...

1) So it turns out you can just add a QB's rushing DYAR to his passing DYAR and get his final DYAR (essentially total value). So with that in mind, here's Vick's final numbers along with Brady

Brady: 1990
Vick: 1041

Even adding in Vick's rushing total he doesn't come close to Brady

2) A tweet from Aaron Schatz: Tom Brady finished the season with a 9.0 TD/INT ratio. He by far and away surpassed the previous record of 6.25... previously held by Tom Brady. No other QB besides Brady has ever finished above a 6.0.

Yeah, Brady deserves the MVP and it's not close