By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
MINNEAPOLIS (CBS) — Tom Brady is in Minnesota for the greatest prize in sports. But before he’s even taken the field for Super Bowl LII, the Patriots quarterback has already picked up a significant piece of hardware.
On Saturday night at the NFL Honors ceremony, Tom Brady was named Most Valuable Player of the NFL for the 2017 season.
For Brady, it marks the third time of his career that he’s been named MVP. He previously won the award in 2007 and 2010, when he became the first-ever unanimous choice for the award.
At 40 years old, Brady becomes by far the oldest player to ever win the award. That distinction previously belonged to Peyton Manning, who won the MVP when he was 37 years old.
This year, Brady got off to a tremendous start, throwing 10 touchdowns with no interceptions while averaging 9.03 yards per attempt with a 66.5 percent completion rate through the first four games. He stayed hot for the next seven games, throwing 16 touchdowns and three interceptions while completing passes at a rate a tick under 70 percent. His numbers did dip over the final five games, when he completed 61.3 percent of his passes and threw six touchdowns to five interceptions.
But Eagles quarterback and fellow MVP contender Carson Wentz suffered an injury during that time and couldn’t finish the year. Steelers receiver Antonio Brown, a fringe candidate, suffered an injury in Week 15 and likewise couldn’t finish the year. Rams running back Todd Gurley could not do enough to really get into the conversation.
So, Brady was able to secure the award. In doing so, he becomes just the fifth player in NFL history to win the award three or more times. Brett Favre, Johnny Unitas, and Jim Brown won the award three times each, while Manning owns the all-time record with five MVP awards.
Joe Montana, Steve Young, Kurt Warner, and Aaron Rodgers have each won the award two times.
Of course, Brady went to Minnesota to win Super Bowl LII and not to win the MVP. But for a hyper-focused and incredibly driven player who set out to prove something in his late 30s and early 40s, the award provides a certain level of validation for Brady’s rededication to his craft.