Did The INT Grinch Steal Purdy’s MVP?

Michael Salfino
December 26, 2023 11:48 AM

Brock Purdy had a rotten Christmas and so did everyone holding his MVP ticket.

Famously, a $200,000 ticket at 100-to-1 was sold mid-week for $125,000 – that’s how certain his candidacy seemed.

But four interceptions in a prime-time loss to the Ravens later, his odds have cratered, from No. 1 at minus-260 to No. 3 at plus +1300.

Note that some sportsbooks are offering just +800 on Brock today, so always remember to shop around for the best value at Bestodds.com!

Purdy now trails teammate Christian McCaffrey (+200), as well as the heavy favorite at quarterback, Lamar Jackson (minus-115).

The conventional view is that a horrible game is possible to overcome but not one in the final stretch of the season, when the stench will be fresh on voter’s minds.

Implicit in this is that to be an MVP QB, you need to finish the season strong.

Let’s look at all 20 MVP QBs this century to see if any winner had a game remotely similar to Purdy’s disaster on Monday night.

But first let’s see exactly how well MVP QBs played games 13-through-17, basically the month of December.

PlayerSeasonTeamGCmpAttYdsTDIntPick6Rate
Kurt Warner2001STL48911511941260122.9
Rich Gannon2002OAK46811381231087.3
Peyton Manning2003IND485125884610100.9
Steve McNair2003TEN2397450341186.7
Peyton Manning2004IND474112936510103.1
Tom Brady2007NWE496148111093099.2
Peyton Manning2008IND4901101054800130.8
Peyton Manning2009IND47111181585091.2
Tom Brady2010NWE467107871900116.2
Aaron Rodgers2011GNB35594799810110.2
Peyton Manning2013DEN412317913521410114.6
Aaron Rodgers2014GNB489140105662094.8
Cam Newton2015CAR47812210401000118.2
Matt Ryan2016ATL48912011311100133.7
Tom Brady2017NWE48514394564181.5
Patrick Mahomes2018KAN4961511174920101.8
Lamar Jackson2019BAL351795951110121.6
Aaron Rodgers2020GNB4861119041210132.9
Aaron Rodgers2021GNB511915812371400127
Patrick Mahomes2022KAN512717914421140105.9
Total167724911985417634109.3

In games 13-to-17, the 20 QB MVPs were 1,677-for-2,491 for 19,854 yards with 176 TD passes and just 34 picks.

Were Any Recent QB MVPs A Late-Season Goat?

So yeah, finishing the season strong is a trait they mostly shared.

The worst performers in the TD/INT ratio were 2009 Peyton Manning (8-to-5) and 2017 Tom Brady (6-to-4). In 2001, Kurt Warner threw six picks in his last four games (12 TD passes).

Currently in this stretch, with two games to play, Purdy is 6-to-5 in TDs/INTs.

That does not seem to be disqualifying.

But having one horrible game is very rare for a QB MVP. This century, just one MVP QB threw multiple picks in a loss down the stretch of the season – 2017 Tom Brady with two misfires in a 27-20 New England loss at Miami.

And it’s not like Brady bounced back amazingly, as he finished up with five touchdowns and two picks.

However, that Brady game was not nationally televised.

He only threw two picks, not four.

The loss was not consequential as the Patriots remained the No. 1 seed in the postseason and ended up going to the Super Bowl.

That could end up helping Purdy as the Niners also remain the No. 1 season based on tiebreakers; and if they win out, they’re going to remain the top seed.

So there’s a good chance this loss is meaningless to San Francisco.

Note that Brady finished that season at 32-to-8 in TDs-to-INTs. Purdy right now has 29 TDs, and 11 picks.

In this stretch of QBs winning the MVP, the average full-season TD-to-INT ratio is 5.3-to-1 (378 TDs, 71 picks). The worst was 2022 Patrick Mahomes at 3.4-to-1.

If Purdy doesn’t throw another pick this year, he’d need seven TD passes in two remaining games to finish at the 2022 Mahomes level.

That seems very unlikely.

2017 Tom Brady: Fall-Back MVP

What kind of competition did Tom Brady have in 2017? There was no real QB challenger.

The only other QB to receive votes was Carson Wentz, who tore his ACL in December and played only 13 games. Wentz was a heavy favorite to be the MVP before his injury.

So the voters settled on Brady, unable to give the award to a player who was sidelined for the key stretch of the season.

In 2017, Russell Wilson was 34-to-11 in TDs-to-INTs, but his Seahawks finished just 9-7.

Jared Goff and Alex Smith had at least 25 TD passes and at least four times as many TDs as INTs, but relative NFL newcomer Goff had an MVP candidate at running back, Todd Gurley, who finished second in the voting. (That seems very similar to Purdy with Christian McCaffrey.)

And Alex Smith’s Chiefs won only nine games.

The oddsmakers do have good reasons to hammer Purdy.

But hope is not lost if you have a Purdy MVP ticket.

He’ll probably need two monster games and no picks down the stretch to overcome Lamar Jackson.

Or he’ll need Jackson to similarly misstep against the Dolphins or Steelers, with both games in Baltimore, to regain favorite status.

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