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Brees, not Rodgers, is my most valuable
The idea being floated in some sporting circles Sunday — that Green Bay backup quarterback Matt Flynn had torpedoed Aaron Rodgers' MVP chances by playing beyond good — is preposterous. Drew Brees already did that in December.
How can I possibly make an MVP case for anybody except Rodgers?
I am not making a case, not really. Voting has ceased. I can influence nobody. I just want, when everybody starts talking about how Rodgers was the logical choice for MVP, for at least a few people to say, "Yeah, about that ..."
The statistical case for the New Orleans quarterback is actually quite easy to make. It is built on a 13-3 record and 5,476 passing yards (breaking Dan Marino's single-season record) and 46 TDs. Of course, Rodgers had gaudy numbers as well, 14-1, 122.5 passer rating, 68.3 completion percentage, blah, blah, blah.
They can stat whip just about anybody in the NFL, aside from Matthew Stafford. And for anybody arguing that Brees' stats were just a result of going for a record, go join the Atlanta Falcons in shoving right off.
Almost all stats are inherently selfish, not that motive really matters. So what if he was throwing late in games or while up a bunch of touchdowns or unable to gain ground? The whiny Falcons and anybody else crying about how Sean Payton called plays late to benefit Brees need to pull up their big-boy pants.
Never apologize for taking care of The MVP.
The key word is valuable. There was an obvious decision made with using this wording instead of say best, or most statistically dominant, or best player on the best team. They chose valuable. It is one of those trouble words, like love, where meaning is not agreed upon and thereby is defined differently by different people. This is why when you casually say "I love you" after your girlfriend brings you soup when you are crazy sick, she hears "I want to marry you."
It is the same with valuable. It is tossed around too casually for my tastes. Valuable to me is determined by the very hypothetical "what happens if that person ceases to exist" test.
A quick word on Tim Tebow as MVP, an opinion espoused by Brother Couch in a fine FOXSports column. He certainly qualifies under this criteria. The Broncos were a one-win team before Tebow was named quarterback and he has MVP cred. The thing is he does not have Brees or Rodgers cred.
That is the debate. And the answer is in the questions.
What happens if you take Rodgers from Green Bay? Or Brees off of New Orleans?
This is not simply about what we saw from Flynn on Sunday, or the fact that I am almost 99.9 percent sure Chase Daniel would not be able to do likewise for the Saints if called into action. I say this part as a Mizzou alum who would willingly give up a non-essential organ for what he did for my alma mater. He is not a likely NFL starter.
The Saints are a strange team like that, filled with parts you are not sure exactly how they work, yet they do. They got rid of Reggie Bush, yet got better. They have crazy talent at receiver in names nobody predicted crazy talent from in the beginning. Their defense is mostly nondescript, or at least not loaded with easily recognizable names, and they do not have any defensive players ranked high in any of the big categories. Their high-offense, low-defense formula makes them not unlike Green Bay and New England.
What makes New Orleans go, what makes them competitive, what makes them a favored team going into these playoffs is Brees. It is not a stretch to say Drew Brees single-handedly kept the Saints in New Orleans and out of L.A. This has nothing to do with who should be MVP, just more of a note about the importance of Brees to the franchise and the team and the city. He did what Reggie Bush said he was going to do when the Saints drafted him. He saved football in New Orleans.
With reports swirling in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina that Saints ownership was looking to get the team out of New Orleans, it's not far-fetched to think they ultimately kept the team there because they thought it would fail. This would allow them to get back into the L.A. market without guilt. "Hey, we tried. What can you do?" Then Drew Brees signed and delivered them a Super Bowl championship, making the Saints forever New Orleans' team.
He is why they are as good as they are this year.
This was not expected, no matter what anybody tries to tell you.
They were expected to be alright, just not as alright as Green Bay and Philadelphia. The Eagles were The Dream Team. The Saints were a good team who got slapped around by Seattle in the playoffs last year. What Brees did was turn them into a contender.
By being THE MVP.