At the end of the regular-season the NFL MVP race was too close to call, but you could make strong arguments for both Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady as the most valuable player in the league in 2017.
On Thursday's episode of "Undisputed," Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe debated which of the two former MVPs is more valuable to his respective team:
Shannon: The Packers would be one of the worst teams in the NFL without Aaron Rodgers
"We’ve seen when Tom Brady goes out, we saw him miss an entire season. He started the first game, Matt Cassel comes in, and they finished 10-6. We saw at the beginning of [this] season, the first four games, they go 3-1.
"So much of what the Green Bay Packers do is off-script. The Patriots are successful because there’s not a whole lot of ad-libbing. You call the play, you run the play. Tom Brady throws the ball, he stays in that one area. Ten yards wide, nine yards deep, what’s called the pocket. That’s where he makes the majority of his plays.
"You and I both know this: Even if Tom Brady is not there this year, they’re still in the AFC Championship game. The Green Bay Packers would [have] a top-5 pick if Aaron Rodgers is not the quarterback. That’s the reason they’re 3-5-1 when Aaron doesn’t play."
Kevin JairajKevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Shannon: Rodgers is irreplaceable because he's such a dynamic player
"This is not to minimize Tom Brady. He is a Mount Rushmore quarterback as we speak, but if you’re talking about which guy is more important to their football team…
"They’re not winning any games in Green Bay without Aaron Rodgers, because everything that he does is so much more than just calling the plays. We’re going to talk about it later - the 3rd-and-20 play. Only he can make that play, only he can diagram that play. This is not even close to me, it’s Aaron Rodgers."
James LangJames Lang-USA TODAY Sports
Skip: Tom Brady is doing far more with less talent surrounding him
"Did you just say that the Patriots would be in the AFC Championship game with Jimmy Garoppolo at quarterback? You said that? That is the most laughable statement you have ever made in the history of this show.
"... The harder you look at what Tom Brady is doing with these New England Patriots, he’s doing a lot of it with mirrors, and he’s not getting enough credit for doing it with… a receiving corps that not as good as Aaron Rodgers’ receiving corps.
"[Brady] is doing far more with less than Aaron Rodgers is doing in Green Bay. Let us start with the fact that Rob Gronkowski was lost on November the 27th, and you still think Garoppolo or Jacoby Brissett would have gotten them to the AFC Championship game?"
Winslow TownsonWinslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
Skip: Tom Brady only has one weapon left on offense
"I voiced at that moment, the next day, I wasn’t sure that Martellus Bennett was made of the right stuff to rise and shine and become ‘that guy’ to take up much of the slack left by Rob Gronkowski. And he has come up smaller and smaller, has Martellus…. He’s definitely not Jared Cook to Aaron Rodgers.
"I look at what happened just since Gronkowski is gone, do you realize that Martellus has averaged four targets a game, two catches a game for an average of 28 yards a game. Against Houston he had one catch for four yards.
"That’s all you need to know about what Tom Brady is doing, because he’s doing it mostly with Julian Edelman or bust. Really it’s come down to - and this is starting to scare me, I am starting to weaken on my faith in the Patriots, because there’s just not much left here."
David Butler IIIDavid Butler III-USA TODAY Sports
Skip: Rodgers has the benefit of multiple options downfield
"Chris Hogan had a couple big catches the other night, and then he got hurt. Amendola’s been nicked all year. Malcolm Mitchell has been nicked with a knee, I don’t know if he’s going to be available.
"I look at the receiving corps… Michael Floyd came up small the other night. It’s down to a former college quarterback or bust… It’s coming down to Brady-to-Amendola or bust. That’s all you got. And this is the favorite!
"... Does Tom Brady have Davante Adams? No he does not. Does he have Randall Cobb? He does not. I don’t think he even has a Ty Montgomery, who’s a dual-threat. He can gash you running the football, but he can also run routes."
Matthew EmmonsMatthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Shannon: We grade Tom Brady on a curve
"The reason why we give Tom Brady so much credit is because he’s never really had - for any extended period of time - that true, No. 1 receiver. He had Randy Moss for what, two, three years, and those were some of his best years. But we grade him on a curve because he doesn’t have a Julio [Jones], he doesn’t have an Antonio Brown, he doesn’t have an Odell Beckham Jr. That’s why we give him so much credit because he’s doing things with receivers that aren’t household names.
"But Jimmy Garoppolo still made things work with those same receivers that are not household names. We saw Matt Cassel make things work.
"... We’ve seen the Patriots win games without Tom Brady as the quarterback and look very, very good."
Stew MilneStew Milne-USA TODAY Sports
Shannon: The Patriots are successful because of the system, not the individual parts
"When you look at the Patriots, they have a system in place led by the guy at the top, coach Belichick, and everything else falls into place. So it doesn’t matter who comes or goes. They’ve changed offensive coordinators, they’ve changed running backs, they’ve changed receivers, they’ve changed o-lineman. But it doesn’t miss a beat.
"The Green Bay Packers… if you take Aaron Rodgers out of there, they’re picking in the top 5."