With his otherworldly performance – 25 of 31 for 316 yards and 4 TDs – on Sunday against the Giants in a dominant 44-7 victory, Vikings QB Brett Favre put the finishing touches on a strong closing argument for MVP consideration. In a weekend full of NFL drama, Favre, as no other player did, carried his team to victory in a big spot.
Although team achievement always trumps individual accomplishment, the debate about who should win this year’s NFL MVP award is nearly as compelling as the debate about which team should be favored in this year’s Super Bowl tournament.
There are so many things to consider in this MVP debate, from stats to team record to the intangibles an individual brings to his team. And the bottom line is there are probably 3 or 4 players worthy of this year’s award.
The top 5 vote-getters – in my estimation – this year will be (in alphabetical order): Drew Brees, Favre, Chris Johnson, Peyton Manning and Philip Rivers.
Given this year’s set of circumstances, I believe the MVP should be a QB, which leaves out Johnson, who broke Marshall Faulk’s yards from scrimmage record this year.
With this debate down to a quartet of QBs, it becomes nearly impossible to separate the 4. But a very strong argument can be made for Favre.
At 40 years of age, Favre had his best season – he completed 68.4% of his passes for 4,202 yards with a pristine 33-7 TD-INT ratio and a passer rating of 107.2. The passer rating is the highest single-season rating of his career, he’s tied for 2nd in TD passes behind Brees, threw fewer INTs than Brees, Manning or Rivers and had a similar completion percentage to Manning and a better one than Rivers. And, while the other 3 QBs coasted through the conclusion of the regular season, Favre put an exclamation point on it by passing for 637 yards, 6 TDs and 0 INTs in his final 2 games.
The statistical angle on this debate is pretty close to even – Brees was #1 in passer rating but Favre had more TDs and finished just 2.4 points behind in rating. When you consider some of the intangible factors, however, it gets even closer.
Some of the shine is wiped away from Brees’ star because the Saints lost their perfect record down the stretch and had other close calls late in the season against the St. Louis Rams and Washington Redskins. So that bumps Manning up into the top 2 in this discussion with Favre.
Manning controls a game at the line of scrimmage as no other QB seems to do. He’s a step ahead of everyone else and demands a high level of play from those around him. In fact, he increases the ability of those around him. But Favre has done the same thing this year. Favre has had the miracle finishes (vs. San Francisco), the dominant performances (Weeks 10-12 and vs. NY Giants) and the gutty performances (Weeks 1 and 2) that we’ve seen from him throughout his career. And then he topped it all off by having the best statistical season of his 19-year run in the NFL while also leading the Vikings to a 12-4 record and the NFC’s #2 seed.
Anyone who has watched the Vikings in recent years knows exactly how valuable Favre is to this team. And that’s what puts him over the top, perhaps, in this year’s MVP debate. We’ve seen this every year from Manning, it seems. But what Favre did this season you don’t see every year.
The Vikings offense has a different swagger and confidence with #4 under center. When the game is on the line, no longer do Vikings fans hope it’s their defense that can somehow save the day. Now, Vikings fans are confident Favre will get the job done and the defense will close the door.
I don’t know who should win this year’s MVP award. Brees, Favre and Manning would all be good choices and it depends which angle you take (stats, team accomplishment, intangibles, etc.) as to who has the edge. But I do know that no matter which angle you take on this debate, the one consistent factor his Favre – he’s either #1 or #2 in every aspect. He’s done everything he could do to win it.
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