I’m a Niners fan. Growing up in New York, despite the buzz around
Phil Simms and
Joe Morris, I couldn’t turn away from the display of skill, ethic, and extraordinary class of the likes of
Joe Montana, and
Jerry Rice in a brutal game. I hated
Deion Sanders and cheered when recent history’s only respectable Cowboy,
George Teague, leveled
Terrell Owens during his second obnoxious display at the center of Texas Stadium.
It’s no surprise then that I’m no fan of the loud and inattentive
Randy Moss. The easy choice for MVP would be to follow
Antonio Pierce and just anoint
Tom Brady the Prince of the NFL, but the numbers tell another story:
Randy Moss has been the difference between good and outstanding for
Tom Brady and the Patriots, and deserves to be named the NFL’s Most Valuable Player of 2007.
Before: 12-4, 24 points per game
After: 16-0, 37 points per game
Looking back at the Patriots’ last four seasons, on average you’ll find a 12-4 or 13-3 team that scored 24 points per game. This season, the Patriots of course went undefeated with a 16-0 record, scoring an average of 37 points per game; a 13 point improvement, thanks to an average of 4 or 5 more first downs per game. How many more games would
your team win if they suddenly started scoring two more TDs per game?
To put this figure into perspective, if the #32 offense (don’t remind me) had scored 13 more points per game, they’d instead be ranked #5 in offensive points scored this season.
Before: 230 yards and 1.6 TDs per game, 315 for 512 (61.4%)
After: 300 yards and 3.1 TDs per game, 398 for 478 (68.9%)
The change is just as pronounced for MVP candidate
Tom Brady. During the same four seasons, he averaged 230 yards and 1.6 TDs per game, while completing 61% of his passes. This season, he set a new record in passing TDs with 50, averaging nearly
twice his usual with upwards of 3 TDs per game. These came on 300 yards per game with just under 70% accuracy.
These put him 3rd behind
(5,084 or 318ypg) and
Kurt Warner for most passing yards in a single season, and somewhere around 7th in completions behind
Steve Young, and
Joe Montana in completion percentage in a season with 300+ passes.
Game-Winning Moss TDs: 6
Games Moss matched or out-scored opposing team: 7
Finally, the MVP needs to be an impact player. Let’s see where Randy was during the few close calls the Pats had this season.
@ New York Giants, Week 17: 4th quarter, 11 minutes to go, you’re down by 5, 3rd and 10 on your own 35. Your target just dropped a 65-yard TD bomb on 2nd down. What do you do? Run the same play! No sweat. He’ll beat the corner again.
Advantage: Moss, with his 6 catches for 100 yards and Brady’s only 2 TDs on the day, including his ridiculous game breaker.
@ Baltimore Ravens, Week 13: The Ravens had the whole Patriots offense in slow-mo for this one, but they managed to eke it out.
vs. Philadelphia Eagles, Week 12: The Eagle eyes of
Lito Sheppard and
Takeo Spikes were fixed firmly on Moss, who was contained to just 5 catches, while Brady uncharacteristically completed just 62% of his passes. This gave way to the
Wes Welker show, who had a career day with 149 yards on 13 receptions. Welker’s pre-Moss best was 77 yards on 9 catches.
Advantage: Moss. The producers of the “Randy Ratio” bring you the “Freak Fear Factor.”
@ Indianapolis Colts, Week 9: Even though I think
Adam Vinatieri should have gotten the Pats game ball that day, Moss (the actual recipient) had 145 yards and a TD on 9 receptions, including a 55-yard catch that put the Patriots at the Indy 3 yard line and back into the game in the 4th quarter.
Tom Brady threw two picks, including one that capped an 11-play march down the field.
The TV and news outlets are abuzz of why
Randy Moss won’t win the MVP,
Tom Brady’s leadership, throwing around anecdotes about Moss’ history and image, and glossing over what he’s actually accomplished. Forget the chatter, and even if you’ve missed the shoestrings, one-handers, and turnaround grabs, the numbers don’t lie.
Randy Moss has made an already good team spectacular, and will be named the first wideout MVP since
Jerry Rice (by everyone except those gridiron experts of the Associated Press, again).
Jerry Rice, let me finish with a nod to Randy for setting a new record for most touchdowns in a season by a wide receiver with 23.
Advantage: Jerry Rice, who caught his record-setting 22 touchdown passes in the strike-shortened 1987 season in just 12 games.
Well, he’s still this year’s MVP anyway.
“The NFL MVP should be…”
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