More than any other year we can remember, the MVP debate reached the final game with more than two legit candidates. Usually after the last game of the season there would be a consensus among football talking heads about who the MVP will be. But there’s still a bit of pause as to who should win the award. After Sunday’s performance in the last game of the regular season, Matt Ryan has all but locked up the award.
The MVP numbers
The numbers Ryan has put up this season have put him in the company of the leagues greatest EVER. 4,944 passing yards, 69.9 completion percentage and a league leading 83.4 total QBR. That QBR would place him 6th all time behind two Drew Brees, an Aaron Rodgers, a Peyton Manning and a Tom Brady season.
He set an NFL record for the highest yards per pass attempt at 9.26. Ryan hasn’t thrown more than one interception in any game this season. There’s one more important stat and it’s his passer rating. He finished the season with a passer rating of 117.1, which would be the 4th highest of all time. The other quarterbacks in the top 5 you ask? Peyton Manning (’04, ’13), Tom Brady (’07), and Aaron Rodgers (’11). What do all those quarterbacks have in common? They all won the MVP in those seasons.
After Sundays win in the regular season finale versus the New Orleans Saints, the Falcons clinched the 2 seed and a first round bye in the NFC playoffs. This is the first Falcons playoff appearance since the NFC title game in 2012. Led by Ryan’s sweet performance in the first half of the game on Sunday, he stormed the Falcons down the field for 5 straight touchdown-scoring possessions to start the game and gave his team a 35-13 halftime lead.
Those 35 points scored for Falcons helped his team move into the top 8 scoring offenses of all time. I touched on it more in this article last week. The other teams the Falcons are included with are the most memorable teams in league history. Led by hall of fame level quarterbacks who put on a show every week.
11 wins, 2 seed and one of the best scoring offenses of all time. That’s how much his season his meant to the Falcons team and organization.
Tom Brady: Brady has put together an impressive 12 game regular season when you look at the stats. But that’s the negative; he only played 12 games this season. It would be tough to give the MVP to someone who played 4 less games than his counterparts when his own stats aren’t dramatically better. If his stats were so “out of this world” and clearly way better than his competitions then he should be MVP but they aren’t so he shouldn’t win.
Dak & Elliot: These two rookies have put together an incredible season leading the Cowboys to the 1 seed in the NFC. All the talk about who’s more important has been split so that’s how I see the MVP vote going. There isn’t a definitive answer as to who’s the MVP of their OWN TEAM. So how can either of them win the leagues award?
Derek Carr: We can’t discredit what Carr has done for the Raiders this season. Leading his team to their first playoff berth in 14 seasons. Sadly, breaking his leg ruined his chances to win as his counterparts now had more opportunities to widen that gap. The future is bright in Oakland so there’s nothing to be disappointed about there.
Aaron Rodgers: He has come on hot the last 6 games of the season winning all 6 games. But I cannot discredit what happened before those 6 games. He (by his standards) and his team were playing atrociously and it peaked with back-to-back blowout losses to Tennessee and Washington. The other candidates didn’t have blunders like those and no matter how hot he finished; we can’t forget how bad he and the Packers started.
The Final Statement
Matt Ryan put together one of the best statistical seasons for a quarterback ever and led his offense to one of the highest scoring seasons ever. The Falcons as a team won many games and clinched a first round bye in the playoffs. The individual success and the team success equal Matt Ryan taking home the MVP.