Brian Allee-Walsh

Saints fans campaigning for Drew Brees as MVP should be careful what they wish for

I know Who Dat Nation wants New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees to win league MVP honors but fans of the Black and Gold should be careful what they wish for.

There seems to be a curse attached to the MVP award when it comes to the Super Bowl, at least during this century.

Know this: The past eight NFL MVP award winners to play in the same year they have won the award have lost the game, including New England Patriots QB Tom Brady last year and again in 2007. Others include Matt Ryan (2016), Cam Newton (2015), Peyton Manning (2013, ‘09), Shaun Alexander (2005), Rich Gannon (2002) and Kurt Warner (2001).

Warner was the last MVP to win the Super Bowl in the same year, claiming both awards in 1999.

And while Brees is most deserving of this season’s league MVP award, I suspect if No. 9 had a choice between winning his second Lombardi Trophy and his first league MVP honor he’d choose winning Super Bowl LIII on Feb. 3 in Atlanta.

Hands down.

First things first; Brees and the Saints have to arrive alive in Atlanta. Most sports betting houses predict they will, including BetOnLine which lists their current odds to win the NFC at 6/5 and 11/4 to win the whole enchilada. Other betting establishments see it similarly; take your pick.

With regards to Brees and his league MVP chances, I’d like to see him win, but the award likely will go to Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes who has captured the imagination of NFL fans everywhere this season (except maybe in New Orleans and Who Dat Nation).

Here’s why: Mahomes has thrown 50 TD passes and passed for 5,097 yards while displaying off-the-chart physical qualities on the run with the ball in his hands. And while it’s true Brees has been brilliant, unflappable, record setting and extended his league record for completion percentage to an eye-popping 74.4 with a gaudy 32-to-5 TD-to-INT ratio, Mahomes’ 50-5,000 numbers are hard to overcome.

I only hope the panel of 50 voters who comprise The Associated Press MVP media selection committee made their decision based on what transpired this season and this season only. Many Brees’ supporters believe he deserves the award not only for this season but also for his outstanding body of work over 18 NFL seasons.

Truth is, what Brees did last season or past seasons is irrelevant when it comes to this award, though I’m sure some voters took that into account when they cast their ballots after the regular season.

“The (MVP) criteria is wide open, but I have never seen anyone win it for a body of work over his career,’‘ said Barry Wilner of The Associated Press who oversees the balloting.

In 2003, Manning and Tennessee QB Steve McNair shared the league MVP award, the only time that has happened since AP began presenting the award in 1957.

I don’t see that happening when the award is announced via ESPN on the eve of Super Bowl LIII. I see Mahomes in first by a comfortable margin and Brees being a bridesmaid again, matching his runners-up finishes in 2011, ‘09 and ‘06.

I hope I’m wrong.

Brian Allee-Walsh, a longtime Saints reporter based in New Orleans, can be reached at sports@sunherald.com.
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