The two starting quarterbacks of Super Bowl LI -- Matt Ryan and Tom Brady -- are the consensus favorites to win the Most Valuable Player award when it is announced at NFL Honors on Saturday on NFL Network. So naturally everyone and their mother are getting their two cents in on this year's neck-and-neck race ahead of Sunday's showdown.
Prognosticators, fans, plebians, etc. all have their opinions on the matter, but for some bipartisan rationale, let's look to someone who knows these quarterbacks' play best, someone who's played and beaten both of them this season: Russell Wilson.
"I think Matt Ryan, it's been his year," Wilson told former Seahawks teammate Michael Robinson on NFL Network's Total Access on Tuesday. "In my opinion, he's probably the MVP, in my opinion, just because of the success that he's had on the football field and how he's overcome from the year before -- he didn't have a great year before -- and he was able to overcome those situations."
Wilson's disappointing 2016 campaign, by his metrics, saw high points in wins against Atlanta at home and New England on the road.
In Seattle's controversial win over the Falcons, Ryan outgained Wilson (335-270) and could have won the game on a late fourth-quarter drive if not for a non-PI call on Julio Jones. It was that three-score performance in front of the 12th Man that earned Ryan the undivided attention of the sports media from there on out. Not to be out-won, Ryan threw another three touchdowns past Wilson's Seahawks in their divisional round romp.
Against the Patriots, Wilson had his most dominant game of the season (348 yards, 3 TDs), making up for -- in the smallest of ways -- Seattle's loss in Super Bowl XLIX. Meanwhile, Brady threw for zero scores and failed to convert a game-sealing fourth-and-goal touchdown attempt to Rob Gronkowski in what was arguably his *worst *game of the season.
So maybe there's a little bias in Wilson's MVP prediction.
He would know.
Here are some other selections from Wilson's sit-down:
» With economical contracts ready to expire and injuries piling up across the board, is Seattle's championship window closing? No, and it never will.
"Ultimately, you have to take it one year at a time as you know," Wilson said. "The year that we won the Super Bowl, we took that year and took advantage of it. Every year you have to take advantage of the opportunities that you have.
"And with the hard work that we have, it's never going to close for us, in my opinion."
"I think consistency up front is key. You have to have that consistency as you see in this Super Bowl game here," Wilson explained. "You have five guys that have pretty much been consistent for every game for Matt Ryan and same thing with Tom Brady. I think that helps obviously from the run game to the pass game and hopefully coming into next year we'll be more consistent with those five guys."