Michael Vick has had a remarkable season as quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles and is receiving significant attention as a potential MVP candidate. When asked who he would vote for, Vick unabashedly pointed at himself. Many other NFL experts have their fingers pointed Vick's way, too.
But they're all forgetting about the play of a certain Tom Brady, the best player in the league this season. Here are five reasons why Vick doesn't stand a chance of being named the MVP this season.
Brady: 109.8 QB rating, 3,701 passing yards, 66.0 completion percentage, 34 touchdowns, 4 interceptions
Vick: 103.6 QB rating, 2,755 passing yards, 63.2 completion percentage, 20 touchdowns, 5 interceptions
Brady tops Vick in every statistical category, and not by a small margin either. Even if we were to factor in Vick's rushing prowess, his total yards (3,368) and touchdowns (28) still fall short of Brady's. We'd also have to include Vick's three rushing fumbles, meaning he would have turned the ball over twice as much as Brady.
Voters can't ignore a disparity that big.
Vick has only appeared in 11 games this season. Vick missed three weeks in the middle of the season with an injury and didn't take over for Kevin Kolb as Philadelphia's No. 1 quarterback until the second half of Week 1 matchup against the Green Bay Packers. He's played the equivalent of 10 full games.
Brady, meanwhile, has not missed a single snap all season and started each of the Patriots' 15 games. How could Vick possibly be MVP when he's only seen two-thirds of the action of other NFL quarterbacks? Vick's been great in the games he's played in and is 8-2 as a starter, but it's impossible to ignore those missed games.
An MVP is supposed to make his teammates better. Brady has definitely done that, executing the Patriots offense with a completely new selection of players. Randy Moss was traded away midseason and it didn't matter. Replacement Deion Branch caught 48 passes for 706 yards and five touchdowns in 11 games so far as a Patriot. Branch hasn't put up anything approaching those numbers in four years in Seattle.
Brady also welcomed two rookie tight ends to the offense. Rob Gronkowski has caught 36 passes for 444 yards and nine touchdowns, and Aaron Hernandez has caught 45 passes for 563 yards and six touchdowns.
No Laurence Maroney and no Kevin Faulk? Not a problem for Brady. BenJarvus Green-Ellis tripled his career rushing total taking hand-offs from Brady, and Danny Woodhead is now a household name with almost 1,000 all-purpose yards and six touchdowns on the season.
The Patriots are just cruising along with the league's No. 1 scoring offense and Brady slinging the ball to whoever's open.
The Eagles' also have one of the NFL's top scoring offenses, but Vick has been the beneficiary of a supporting cast that was already tremendously talented.
DeSean Jackson has caught 45 passes for 1,024 yards and six touchdowns this season, roughly equivalent to what he did in 2009 (62 receptions, 1,156 yards, nine touchdowns). Ditto for Jeremy Maclin, whose numbers are just slightly better this year, and LeSean McCoy, who isn't sharing rushing duties anymore.
Not a single player is performing significantly better this year with Vick as their quarterback than they were last year with Donovan McNabb as their quarterback. So how can anybody argue that Vick is making his teammates better?
If the NFL gave out an award for the league's most exciting player, Vick would definitely deserve most of the votes. He's a one-man highlight reel, dashing past defenders with his legs on one play, and then unleashing a 60-yard strike with his arm on the next play. The league hasn't seen somebody this dynamic play the game since, well, Michael Vick a few seasons ago.
But flash and excitement doesn't win football games, performance does. And nobody performs on a football field better than Tom Brady.
Vick is a tremendous talent and is having the best season of his career. But even Vick's best isn't as good as what Brady is doing right now.
Plus, how do Vick supporters explain how the Eagles played when Vick was out of action with an injury?Philadelphia went 2-1 without Vick as their starting quarterback, including a big 31-17 win over the Atlanta Falcons in which Kevin Kolb was terrific.
Would the New England Patriots even be a playoff team without Tom Brady, let alone the best team in the league?
At this time last year Vick was one of the most hated men in professional sports. He had recently been released from prison for the dogfighting scandal, and Eagles' fans wondered what this guy was doing around their football club with Kevin Kolb ready to take over as the starting quarterback.
Then Vick kept saying all the right things and when Kolb suffered a concussion in Week 1, Vick finally had his chance. He seized it and has been playing remarkably ever since, quickly becoming one of the NFL's most popular athletes.
This is the type of story journalists can only dream of. A social pariah who wins back fans by taking his team to the Super Bowl and then wins the league's most coveted award—MVP.
But an MVP is not chosen based on how good of a story he makes. An MVP is chosen based on what that player does on the field each day. And nobody has done more on a football field this season than Tom Brady.
Vick has his career back. That should be enough, because for 2010 there's only player who can be the MVP—Tom Brady.