As expected, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady earned Associated Press Most Valuable Player Award in a vote announced today. He was also MVP in 2007.
There is a common thread between those two seasons: While Brady took home the MVP hardware for regular-season excellence, '07 and '10 fell short of the desired result because the Patriots, despite being in prime position, couldn't corral a Super Bowl title.
As Patriots coach Bill Belichick said the day after the team's season ended this year, "Certainly a lot of good things happened for us this season, but unfortunately it gets overshadowed by the final result."
That captures Brady's 2010 season nicely.
He was remarkable during the regular season, highlighted by his 36 touchdown passes against just four interceptions. He set the NFL record for most consecutive passes without an interception, while adjusting on the fly as the offense reshaped itself following the Randy Moss trade.
But Brady didn't deliver when it mattered most, in the playoffs.
His first-quarter interception on an ill-advised screen pass against the New York Jets was one of the key plays in the game, one that will probably nag at him over the offseason. For a quarterback who had been so careful with the ball, it was out of character. Brady couldn't seem to snap out of the funk after that. When it appeared he was on the verge, he didn't get help from his teammates.
So while the MVP is a nice consolation prize, Brady would surely trade it in for the chance to be playing Sunday. He's made it clear that he plays for one thing-- victories.
MVPs are nice, but for Brady, it's about Super Bowl championships.