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Brady unanimous choice for MVP

By Shalise Manza Young
Globe Staff / February 7, 2011

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ARLINGTON, Texas — It wasn’t the trophy Tom Brady was looking for, but yesterday the Patriots quarterback was named NFL’s most valuable player for a second time.

Brady received all 50 votes from a nationwide panel of media members. He was also named MVP in 2007.

In a taped interview that aired on NFL Network after the announcement (votes were submitted at the close of the regular season), Brady accepted the award on behalf of his teammates.

“Playing in the Super Bowl is the greatest thing a quarterback could do at this time of year,’’ he said. “The last thing I’ve been thinking about is the MVP — it is contradictory to the way I play. It’s about the team.’’

While it was a safe assumption that Brady would be named MVP after a season in which he led the Patriots to a surprising 14-2 record — the best in the league — to see him win unanimously was not expected. Eagles quarterback Michael Vick had garnered a lot of MVP buzz, but his play fell off a bit in the season’s final weeks.

Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune, one of the voters, said it would have been tough to go against Brady.

“I don’t mean this as a backhanded compliment, but I didn’t think there was really a strong second guy you could say was in the same class,’’ Pompei said.

“Brady, the way he was during the regular season, he was invaluable, and that’s how we vote.’’

Though the award is based solely on regular-season play, Pompei said the Patriots’ early postseason exit only strengthened Brady’s case.

“If you look at the manner in which they lost in the playoffs,’’ he said, “it probably justified the vote even more because the team wasn’t that good and he was a big reason why they had the best record in the NFL.’’

Brady completed 324 of 492 pass attempts (65.9 percent) for 3,900 yards with 36 touchdowns against just four interceptions, for a passer rating of 111.0. He threw at least one touchdown pass in every game of the regular season, and had a perfect passer rating of 158.3 in Detroit on Thanksgiving, the second time he accomplished that in his career.

Brady, who underwent foot surgery last month, had four 300-yard passing games as New England scored 518 points, second most in franchise history.

But the Patriots lost to the Jets in the playoffs, a game Brady said in the NFL Network interview he still has not gotten over, in much the same way that he hasn’t gotten over the playoff loss to Baltimore last season or the loss to the Giants in Super Bowl XLII.

He also noted that it’s “pretty cool’’ that the Patriots set a league record for fewest turnovers in a season, particularly given the weather conditions they often play in.

Since the AP went to its current voting format in 2000, Brady is the first player to be named MVP unanimously.

He nearly earned that distinction in ’07 — that year he was named on 49 ballots, with one vote going to Packers quarterback Brett Favre.

Shalise Manza Young can be reached at syoung@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @shalisemyoung.

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