The Boston sports scene saw the addition of a number of new great athletes. Matt Ryan became a Heisman hopeful. Josh Beckett emerged as the best pitcher in baseball. Randy Moss came from Oakland and dazzled us all. Kevin Garnett came from Minnesota and helped turn the Celtics into one of the top teams in the NBA. This may have been the most difficult category for me to select because of the abundance of great performances in 2007.
Here are the nominees:
Matt Ryan - QB, Boston College
Tom Brady - QB, New England Patriots
Randy Moss - WR, New England Patriots
Wes Welker - WR, New England Patriots
Mike Vrabel - LB, New England Patriots
Josh Beckett - SP, Boston Red Sox
Jonathan Papelbon - RP, Boston Red Sox
Kevin Garnett - F, Boston Celtics
Paul Pierce - F, Boston Celtics
Patrice Bergeron - C, Boston Bruins
Marc Savard - C, Boston Bruins
Taylor Twellman - F, New England Revolution
And the winner is…
Tom Brady of the Patriots!
Tom Brady has always been a good quarterback for the Pats, never putting up amazing numbers, but consistently doing what it took to win games. But since being armed with Randy Moss, Wes Welker, and Donte Stallworth, he’s become a statistical record holder, which only further demonstrates his greatness.
Critics may argue that without so many potent weapons, Brady wouldn’t be that good. Some will argue that it is Brady’s offensive line that is the reason behind the fantasy football bonanza that was 2007. These people are partially right. Brady’s teammates are a big reason for his success, and he’ll be the first one to say it.
But Randy Moss never caught 23 touchdowns before Tom Brady was his quarterback. His career high was 17 coming into this season. Since 2003, Moss’s numbers were below expectations, as he struggled with mediocre quarterbacks. But he gets to New England and now he’s back to the Pro Bowl.
Wes Welker saw an even more dramatic rebirth in New England. Welker caught 16 more passes in 2007, than he caught in his other two years in the NFL combined. His 1,175 yards this year more than doubled his career total. In 2 seasons in Miami, he had only caught 1 touchdown. In ‘07, he hauled in 8.
Then there’s what happened last year. With Reche Caldwell as his #1 receiver, and an aging Troy Brown as his most reliable option, Brady still managed to lead the Pats to the AFC Championship game. We all forget that the Patriots were underdogs to San Diego the week before, but managed to pull it out. In 2006, Brady managed a solid 87.9 QB rating, impressive considering Ben Watson was his best downfield threat.
Brady is going to the playoffs for the 6th time in his career. He’s also starting the Pro Bowl. He’s the NFL MVP. And, oh yeah, the 16 game winning streak the Patriots are currently riding, is the SECOND longest of Brady’s career.