2017 NFL MVP debate: Tom Brady, Todd Gurley splitting votes in tight race

The night before Super Bowl LII, the NFL will salute its best players and plays from the 2017 season with "NFL Honors," a star-studded football and entertainment event hosted by Rob Riggle from the Cyrus Northrop Memorial Auditorium at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. Here's the broadcasting information for Saturday night's festivities:

-- 8 p.m. ET on NFL Network: Super Bowl Saturday Night, featuring all the red-carpet coverage.
-- 9 p.m. ET on NBC: 7th Annual NFL Honors

One of the awards that will be presented on Saturday: Most Valuable Player for the 2017 season. Who gets your vote?

The ageless Patriots quarterback continues to get it done. He led the league in passing yards and finished near the top in almost every major category. This is a no-brainer. Once Carson Wentz sustained a season-ending knee injury, Brady was the front-runner. He's still playing great football at age 40, and he once again put his team in position to win another championship. I watched Gurley run over defenses all year long, and he was the catalyst for the Rams' dynamic offense, finishing with more than 2,000 scrimmage yards. Go Rams! Leading the Patriots to 13-3 and the No. 1 seed, Brady had a great first half of the season and it was enough to keep him above the rest of the pack. No non-quarterback was relied upon more heavily in his offense than Todd Gurley. Only 30 wide receivers had more receiving yards than Gurley, and he sat out Week 17. This award almost always goes to quarterbacks, which isn't right (though that's a discussion for another day), so I wanted to give Gurley some respect here. I considered Todd Gurley and Antonio Brown, and I certainly understand the temptation to be creative with this award, given the feeling that it always goes to the best quarterback, but I just can't think of a way to justify handing it to anyone but Tom Brady. His accomplishments this year have been spouted ad nauseum, but that doesn't make them any less amazing: At 40 years old, he threw for a league-high 4,577 yards with 32 touchdowns against eight picks, with a passer rating of 102.8. Oh, and he carried one of the least-talented Patriots teams he's played with to the Super Bowl.

As good as former Pats backup Jimmy Garoppolo looked in San Francisco, it's hard to imagine this New England team winning 13 games with anyone but Brady under center. This year's MVP is going to be Brady -- partly, due to Carson Wentz's injury -- no matter how much I deny it. That said, I wish Antonio Brown could take it. If he didn't get hurt Week 15, he would've put up 1,900 or 2,000 receiving yards by season's end. Regardless, Brown still led the league in the category (1,533). I wrote in December that Todd Gurley should be this year's MVP. If you look at the entire season, Gurley consistently put up big numbers. Tom Brady didn't play well in December, and I wouldn't have picked him to be the MVP at season's end. Gurley it is. It's incredible what he's been able to do at his age. I shouldn't be shocked by this ... But he hasn't even played with his best receiver (Julian Edelman) and he's lighting it up. I know that Patriots fatigue is a real thing among football fans, but not giving this award to Tom Brady this year would be sheer malpractice. Even at 40 years old, Brady stood out among his peers at the quarterback position and continues to be the most important player on the league's most successful team. If that doesn't suggest value, we should just retire the word. Brady had an outstanding year with 32 touchdowns and only eight interceptions. The Pats looked bad vs. Kansas City in the opener, but Brady lifted the group to become the NFL's best team (again) by year's end. And his clutch gene shined through, like it always does. Look, I'm cool with Tom Brady winning it. If for no other reason, Peyton Manning was given some unnecessary MVP awards and Brady should be able to level up in that category at some point. But if you want to be completely honest, Todd Gurley is the true MVP.

Not only did Gurley provide the ground support for Sean McVay's offensive overhaul, but the running back also was L.A.'s receptions leader. And he literally, not figuratively, carried my fantasy team -- I mean the Rams down the stretch.

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