My Early MVP & Coach Of The Year Ballots

December 15th, 2021

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A couple of NFL senior citizens are battling it out for No. 4.

Tom Brady, forever young at the age of 44, is a stride ahead of 38-year-old Aaron Rodgers in the race for league MVP. The Bucs and the Packers are each 10-3, with Green Bay holding a slight tie-breaker edge for the NFC’s No. 1 seed if both teams win out.

Even if the Packers earn that first-round bye, the MVP award is Brady’s to lose. He directs the league’s highest-scoring offense and ranks No. 1 in completions, passing yards and TD passes.

He gets the ball out quickly and accurately, minimizing hits by frustrated pass rushers who always seem to arrive a step too late.

Tom Brady fans are seeking a different kind of Aaron Rodgers knockout, explains Ira Kaufman.

Brady and Rodgers have each captured the league’s most prestigious individual award three times. Rodgers was the runaway winner last season, when he threw 48 TD passes and only five interceptions for a remarkable passer rating of 121.5.

He couldn’t be expected to match those numbers in 2021 — and he hasn’t. Still, Rodgers currently boasts the NFL’s No. 1 passer rating (108.8) while throwing for 27 TDs and four picks. He has arguably the league’s premier receiver on his side in Davante Adams, but Rodgers certainly doesn’t enjoy as many weapons as Brady.

If Brady earns this honor at his age, it will rank among the great achievements in modern-day sports history. He’ll be the only man in the arena, setting a precedent that will be difficult to top.

Jonathan Taylor and Cooper Kupp are in the midst of sensational seasons, but they’re on the outside looking in. The league MVP award has gone to a quarterback in 13 of the past 14 seasons, including the last eight in a row. The only outlier was Adrian Peterson in 2012, when he ran for 2,097 yards, just nine yards short of breaking Eric Dickerson’s single-season mark..

It’s going to be either Brady or Rodgers and, barring injury, it looks like it’s Brady’s year. You still have to give a ton of credit to Rodgers, who has thrown 10 TD passes and zero picks in his past three games while nursing an injured toe.

The Other MVP

I’ll also be voting for the other big award, Coach of the Year. Even if Bruce Arians wins out and the Bucs finish 14-3, he’s a longshot to secure the honor for the third time. He won it in 2012 with Indianapolis and in 2014 with Arizona.

Arians has done a nice job warding off any complacency and compensating for a rash of injuries to the Tampa Bay secondary.

Bucco Bruce Arians.

The main contenders are Kliff Kingsbury and Bill Belichick, who recently touted Kingsbury for the award. The Cardinals haven’t made the playoffs since the 2015 season, when Arians guided Arizona to the NFC title game. Kingsbury entered this year with a 13-18-1 mark as head coach and voters are often swayed by underdog stories.

That hurts Arians because everyone expected the 2021 Bucs to be a contender.

Belichick experienced an insufferable 2020 season, watching Brady lift the Vince Lombardi Trophy while the Patriots were shut out of the playoffs for the first time in 12 years. But anyone who thought Belichick would continue to struggle without Brady has been proven wrong as New England stands at 9-4 with a rookie quarterback.

The Pats have outscored opponents by 150 points, the most lopsided margin in the league, as Belichick builds a compelling case for a fourth Coach of the Year award, which would tie the record held by Don Shula.

Another Super Bowl title would surely help Arians forget about a likely snub and elevate him into the Hall of Fame conversation.

Wouldn’t it be juicy to see Arians matched up against Kingsbury in an NFC championship game before taking on Belichick in the Super Bowl?

The league MVP and Coach of the Year awards will be announced on the NFL Honors show, slated for Feb. 10, three days before the NFL’s showcase event. Brady and Arians are both likely to attend.

One of them figures to walk out with some shiny new hardware.

Yes, that warranty includes USED vehicles!
Ira drives a 2020 Ford Escape (cherry red).

14 Responses to “My Early MVP & Coach Of The Year Ballots”

  1. Bird Says:

    Deandre hopkins out rest of regular season. Maybe playoffs. Thats a huge injury for cards to overcome.

  2. Bucfan Says:

    Brady certainly deserves it and I agree with either Belichick or Klingsbury.
    Go Bucs!!

  3. Beeej Says:

    I’m still trying to understand why BA didn’t win it last year

  4. ocala Says:

    Brady by a mile

  5. mg Says:

    If TB-12 was in charge of calling timeouts, he could win coach of the year.

  6. Rod Munch Says:

    Kingsbury will probably get coach of the year, but honestly it’s probably Bilichek that deserves it most. If the Pats end up the top seed in the AFC, then maybe he does get it, but I think voters would rather give it to someone new, so unless Kingsbury loses that award in the coming weeks, its his for the taking.

    However, if stupid Payton wins out and makes the playoffs, I’d pick him. That offense is terrible, his WRs are complete trash, and if he can lose 2 QBs, his top WR, his top TE, have his staff miss a bunch of games to COVID, have to play on the road for 5-weeks because of a hurricane, it’s a lot to overcome. But they’d have to beat the Bucs on Sunday, which hopefully won’t happen (although, again, the Bucs are 0-4 vs Saints in years they win the SB – and I’ll take a regular season sweep by the Saints if we get another one).

  7. Alanbucsfan Says:

    The most unpredictable, yet dangerous team in the NFC is the Cowboys- because Dak Prescott and Micah Parsons are capable of performing at a MVP level and dominating any game.

  8. Cleanhouse Says:

    I don’t think the Bucs are playing too ball right now, I wouldn’t want to play AZ or NE in the Playoffs, or LA or GB for that matter

  9. Cleanhouse Says:


  10. Buczilla Says:

    Awesome article Ira and both Kliff and Bill are worthy. Brady is a no brainer. Turning around a putrid franchise, winning a super bowl, and being a two time coach of the year more than qualifies Arians for the hall of fame. Others have gotten in while accomplishing less.

  11. Winny Testaverde Says:

    Kingsbury and his Kards are close to circling the drain me thinks. Hopkins has been declared out for the year and Murray seems like a poor man’s Doug Flutie most of the time…not an MVP candidate. Don’t be surprised if the Rams leapfrog the Kards for the division crown. Rams, Packers concern me as a Bucs fan.

  12. Orlandobucsfan#1 Says:

    Pats and Bucs in SB!

  13. BA4President Says:

    I hope that Honors who is live this year. I hate the spoilers.

  14. D-Rome Says:

    Tom Brady should be MVP and Bill Belichick should be Coach of the Year. Belichick won’t care about being Coach of the Year but he deserves it. I’m from MA and still have a lot of friends up there. Not one of them thought this year was going to be a winning season for them. No one expected this kind of season. It has been a masterful job of coaching and every aspiring football coach should look at what Belichick did this season more than any others.