The Patriots won three of four games in Tom Brady’s absence for a league-imposed suspension, and one of his backups (Jimmy Garoppolo) is the only quarterback with at least 50 passes thrown this season to boast a higher passer efficiency rating.
But let’s take the air out of this argument right now. Barring something drastic, Brady still should win his third career MVP award this year in the NFL.
Monday’s 406-yard performance against Baltimore improved the Patriots to 8-1 under Brady on the season, and an AFC-best 11-2 overall when you factor in the 3-1 mark the Pats compiled with understudies Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett starting two games apiece while Gisele’s husband was suspended by commissioner Roger Goodell to start the year due to the 2015 Deflategate scandal.
Retired receiver Reggie Wayne – a member of the Colts team that first alerted the NFL about the Pats’ deflated footballs following a loss in the AFC Championship game in January of ‘15 – said recently that Brady should be ineligible for the MVP because he was “caught cheating.”
Tom Brady is carving up the NFL after being labeled a cheat by many for his role in Deflategate.
(Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Whether you believe that to be true or not, my bigger opposition to Brady’s candidacy actually would be missing 25 percent of his team’s games, although there is precedent on that with Joe Montana – his primary competition for best QB ever, IMO – copping 1989 MVP honors despite sitting out three of San Francisco’s 16 games that year due to injury.
Even by Brady’s lofty standards, his offensive numbers have been eye-popping so far, with 22 touchdowns and just two interceptions (113.6 rating), while averaging 319.6 yards per game, just a smidge behind Drew Brees for the league lead in that category.
As for Brady’s main MVP competition, Dak Prescott has enjoyed a terrific rookie season with Dallas, but he doubled his interception total from two to four on Sunday night against the Giants. Dak also might not be the top rookie candidate for the award on his own team, with Ezekiel Elliott pacing the NFL in rushing yardage for the 11-2 Cowboys.
Fellow quarterbacks Derek Carr and Russell Wilson, who threw five picks on Sunday against Green Bay, also endured poor performances last weekend, but they can remain in consideration with strong finishes. Matt Ryan has posted big offensive numbers throughout, but the Falcons are fading at 8-5 and now are tied with surging Tampa Bay in the NFC South. Maybe even two-time winner Aaron Rodgers still has time for a late push with the Packers back in contention.
But as of now, Brady – who previously won the award in 2007 and 2010 – should start clearing room on his mantel.
Jay Z has LeBron James’ back when it comes to his war of words with Phil Jackson.
(Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images for Sports Illustra)
OUTTA BOTTE EXPERIENCE
Jay Z has rapped about the Knicks’ president before, saying in Diamond is Forever, “Goin’ on my eighth ring, got Phil Jackson’s Zen, and flow is black magic, I’m at it again.”
But the rap mogul did what the kids – and an old boss – call “throwing shade” at the Zen Master while introducing LeBron James at SI’s Sportsperson of the Year banquet on Monday night at Barclays Center, describing LeBron as “the son who honors and worships his mother, Gloria” and “the friend who put his posse in position.”
James and business partner Maverick Carter were upset last month when Jackson was quoted using the term “posse” to describe the four-time MVP’s business associates.
“We know where we come from. We do understand where we come from,” Jay Z said. “The only difference between us and someone who has their MBA from Wharton or Sloan or Berkeley or Stanford is opportunity. LeBron James has provided his friends with that opportunity, and we’ve witnessed their development. And if we’re to look up at the scoreboard, very few businessmen are better than Maverick Carter, Rich Paul, Randy Mims and all the rest of the posse behind the scenes that make it look like they’re just hanging out.
“LeBron James has made all of those around him better on and off the court. We acknowledge and recognize all he has done for the game. But tonight, LeBron, we say thank you. Not just for your commitment to basketball. We say thank you for all you have done in the community. And thank you for how you’ve enriched the lives of everyone around you. You messed around and got a triple-double in real life.”
LeBron has stopped talking about Phil’s comments, but his high-profile friends still have his back.
Dodgeball is coming to the NFL!
– The NFL announced on Monday the addition of a “skills showdown” during the week leading up to the Pro Bowl, including a Dodgeball competition.
May we suggest that former Giants punter Matt Dodge dress as the late, great Patches O’Houlihan and hurl wrenches at the players while yelling “Dodge, dip, dive, duck and Dodge!”
Steve the Pirate and White Goodman can be the honorary coaches, with Chad Ochocinco providing guest commentary with Pepper and Cotton on ESPN 8: The Ocho.
– Happened to call 1-800-FLOWERS this morning, and the customer service rep offered that the complaint department has been inundated with calls griping about the Giants’ starting left tackle. A bouquet to my friend Brian Wilson (not the Beach Boy or the wacky reliever) for that one.
– Finally, are you still looking for that fun holiday gift for the sports fan in your life? Former Isles PR honcho and longtime NFL stat guru Eric Mirlis has a cool book out entitled “I Was There,” talking to various broadcast and print journalists about covering various historical sporting events.
Left out the first time around, here’s hoping this plug gets me in the sequel.
Jay Z, seen here Monday night at the Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year bash at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, is no stranger to the sports world.
(Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Sports Illustra)
We’ll try our best to keep it clean, but here are my Top-5 Jay Z sports references.
5. BROOKLYN (GO HARD)
“Lucky me, lucky we, they didn’t get me. Now when I bring the Nets, I’m the black Branch Rickey.”
4. PUMP IT UP FREESTYLE
“Worry I’m not the Mike Jordan of the mic recordin’. It’s Hovi Baby, you Kobe, maybe, Tracy McGrady. Matter fact you a Harold Minor, JR Rider. Washed up on marijuana. Even worse you a Pervis Ellis. You worthless fella. You ain’t no athlete, you Shawn Bradley.”
“To be at an all-time high, perfect time to say goodbye. When I come back like Jordan, wearing the 4-5, it ain’t to play games with you. It’s to aim at you, probably maim you.”
2. NICKELS AND DIMES
“Like Magic in his prime, when Kareem sky hooked, y’all not Worthy, sometimes I feel like y’all don’t deserve me, my flow unearthly.”
“Scott Boras, you over, baby. Robinson Cano, you coming with me.”
Source: NY Daily News Headlines Sports News