MINNEAPOLIS – Ten years after he won his first Most Valuable Player award, Tom Brady has once again been awarded the league’s highest individual honor, awarded Saturday night by the Associated Press at the NFL Honors ceremony.
Brady is now a three-time winner (with prior awards in 2007 and 2010) and, at age 40, is the oldest player to ever be named MVP. Peyton Manning, who previously held that honor, was 37 when he won it in 2013.
“Tom has been able to push the boundary on that, and I think it's such a testament to him, the work that he puts in, how he takes care of himself and the commitment that he has,” Patriots quarterback Brian Hoyer, who was Brady’s backup in 2010 and returned to Foxborough midway through this season, told USA TODAY Sports.
Brady received 40 of the 50 votes. Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley finished second with eight votes, while Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz received two votes.
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Brady threw for 4,577 yards, with 32 touchdowns and eight interceptions in the regular season while leading the Patriots to the No. 1 seed in the AFC. Brady will play in his eighth Super Bowl – with a chance to win his sixth ring – Sunday against the Eagles.
“To be able to that, at this age, to be able to come into this season, with some players that he hadn't played with before. It wasn't like he was totally comfortable with everything, and he really worked hard to get acclimated in the spring and training camp and the summer and then throughout this season, I mean I don't know how much more I can say about this guy's will to do it right,” Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels told USA TODAY Sports this week.
McDaniels was Brady’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach when the star passer won his first MVP award in 2007, throwing for 50 touchdowns and leading the Patriots to an undefeated regular season at age 30.
“I think there are things he knows now that he didn't know then. I think there's thing that he's excelled at now that he didn't then, but in terms of greatness, he was great then and he's great now,” McDaniels said.
Because of his team’s preparations, Brady was unable to attend the NFL Honors ceremony, and injured teammate Julian Edelman accepted the award on his behalf.
Brady’s stats this year weren’t the best in his future Hall of Fame career, but they were hardly the story of his impressive season, said several of those closest to him. Consider that Brady turned 40 in August, and that the Patriots lost Edelman, the hero of Super Bowl LI and Brady’s security blanket receiver, to a torn anterior cruciate ligament in the preseason.
“He said one thing for me to say, he said, ‘LFG,’” Edelman said. “I don’t what it means, but he said, ‘LFG.’”
Edelman was surely lying. The L stands for “let’s” and the G for “go.” The expletive in the middle is a phrase that shouldn’t surprise anyone who has played with the fiery quarterback.