With the conclusion of Monday night’s game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Chicago Bears, the 2021 NFL regular season officially reached its halfway point. That means it’s time to give out mid-year awards, including which player has been the league’s MVP through the first nine weeks.
Smith shared Tuesday that he’s choosing the quarterback of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as his NFL MVP for the time being. With the combination of Brady’s production on the field, his leadership in the locker room and his age, the ESPN explained why he couldn’t justify choosing anyone else.
“I’mma roll with Tom Brady for the moment. I’mma roll with Tom Brady,” Smith said on First Take Tuesday. “I just think with the way Tom Brady is flinging the football, the fact that he’s 44 years of age and doing what he is doing… the bottom line is that the offense continues to flow and you can see it getting better and better. The question about [the Bucs] isn’t their offense, it’s their defense, because of a 44-year-old man leading the way. When you look at it from that perspective, I’m just about Tom Brady.”
— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) November 9, 2021
Many other starting quarterbacks are in the conversation for the mid-season MVP award. Lamar Jackson, Kyler Murray, Matthew Stafford and Josh Allen are among the other candidates, but none have differentiated themselves at this point in the year.
Brady has picked up right where he left off in February, now that he’s in his second season with the Buccaneers. Through eight games, the 44-year-old has completed 67.3 percent of his passes for 2,650 yards, 25 touchdowns and five interceptions.
More importantly from a Most Valuable Player standpoint, Brady has led Tampa Bay to a 6-2 start. The Buccaneers are a clear contender in the NFC and beyond, with their sights set on a repeat Super Bowl victory.
With only half the season in the books, Brady has a long way to go before locking up his fourth MVP award. Time will tell if he can keep up his own play and Tampa Bay’s performance in the coming months.