For the final 10 days of 2010, WEEI.com has counted down the top 10 stories of the year. The countdown ends with No. 1: Tom Brady’s MVP-caliber season.
Check out our previous entries:
No. 10: Kevin Garnett’s return to form
No. 9: Patriots’ playoff meltdown vs. Ravens
No. 8: Marc Savard-Matt Cooke incident and aftermath
No. 7: Red Sox derailed by injuries
No. 6: Bruins’ playoff collapse vs. Flyers
No. 5: Patriots’ Randy Moss saga
No. 4: Red Sox’ signings of Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford
No. 3: Patriots’ resurgence
No. 2: Celtics’ playoff run
Also, make sure to cast your vote in WEEI.com’s poll for the 2010 Boston Athlete of the Year.
No matter the weather, Tom Brady has delivered for the Patriots in 2010. (AP)
The Patriots exit a frigid Ralph Wilson Stadium, having just defeated the Bills, 34-3, to clinch the AFC East title, home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, and a first-round bye. Tom Brady, who has just broken former Browns quarterback Bernie Kosar‘s record by 11 after attempting his 319th consecutive passes without an interception, enters the bus. He lets the win marinate for a bit, yelling and clapping with his teammates. But after a half-hour of enjoyment, the quarterback takes out his laptop, pops in some film of Miami, and begins studying for the next game.
According to tight end Alge Crumpler, who was on the receiving end of one of three Brady touchdown passes that day, this is probably how the trip home unfolded for Brady. It’s also why Crumpler, and many other players and football experts, have pegged Brady as the favorite to win the 2010 NFL MVP award.
“Because when we get on this bus, headed out of here, he’ll have his computer on and he’ll be studying Miami,” Crumpler said after the win. “Nobody works harder than Tommy.”
Sure, the stats have been nice. His 34 touchdowns and 109.8 passer rating are the second best of his career, trailing only the absurd, record-setting 50 TDs and 117.2 rating he posted in 2007, when he won his first and only MVP award so far. The four interceptions this season are a career low, and he’s thrown 24 touchdown passes since the last time he recorded a turnover back in Week 6 against Baltimore.
The embarrassing loss to Cleveland clearly stung Brady, as he’s played arguably the best football of his career since. He’s thrown 20 touchdown passes in those seven weeks. His passer rating hasn’t dipped below 107. But most importantly in the quarterback’s eyes, his team has gone undefeated in that span. Four of those wins — against the Steelers, Colts, Jets and Bears — came in matchups against teams atop their division at the time. Yes, his play in these games has been nothing short of phenomenal.