Former San Francisco 49ers legends Joe Montana and Steve Young never won more than two NFL MVP awards in their careers.
But if the Patriots’ Tom Brady can win his third MVP this season, he would join Jim Brown, Johnny Unitas, Brett Favre and Peyton Manning as the members of an elite class that have won at least three MVPs.
Bovada oddsmakers don’t list Brady as the betting favorite, however. He’s at 10-1 tied with 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and Saints QB Drew Brees. Kaepernick will be entering his first full year starting for San Francisco. Brees, on the other hand, has thrown for at least 5,000 yards in three of the past five seasons and is the only player in NFL history with multiple 5,000-yard seasons.
Brady won his MVP’s in 2007 and 2010, so perhaps it’s 2013 that bodes well for the signal caller if he’s on a three-year cycle. Somehow Brady wasn’t a unanimous winner six years ago — he got 49 of the 50 votes with Favre getting one — despite throwing an NFL-record 50 touchdown passes, also leading the league in yards and quarterback rating while guiding the Patriots to a 16-0 regular season.
The voters smartened up in 2010 when Brady did become the first unanimous winner of the award. That year, Brady had 36 touchdowns and just four interceptions with a record streak of 335 passes without a pick. Despite Brady’s MVP season, the Pats were stunned by the Jets in the divisional round of the playoffs.
Brady’s MVP odds were hurt slightly with the loss of Wes Welker and Aaron Hernandez this offseason. But perhaps Patriots fans should root for Brady to not win MVP, because no player who won the award has gone on to win a Super Bowl in the same season since Kurt Warner in 1999. Brady almost accomplished that feat in 2007, though, winning the MVP but ultimately losing in the Super Bowl.
Denver’s Peyton Manning is the 5-1 favorite to win MVP in 2013. He was the betting favorite much of last season, his first with the Broncos after missing all of 2011, but Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson‘s stellar 2012 season stole the show as Manning finished second. He is the only player with four MVP awards and now has Welker to help him reach five.
Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers, the preseason favorite the past two years, is at 13-2 odds. He won the award in 2011 when he led the NFL with a record rating of 122.5. Rodgers led the league in that category again in 2012 and threw 39 touchdown passes to only eight interceptions.
In nearly breaking Eric Dickerson‘s single-season rushing yardage record last year, Peterson became the third running back to win MVP since 2001 and the first since San Diego’s LaDainian Tomlinson in 2006. The only running back to win the award multiple times was the legendary Brown with three, including the first two in AP history. Peterson is 15-1 and the next running back — Houston’s Arian Foster — is way down the list at 33-1.
The top wide receiver on the prop is Lions record-setter Calvin Johnson at 20-1. No receiver has won the coveted award and a defensive player hasn’t received the honors since Lawrence Taylor in 1986.
There is one additional Patriot on the watch list though: Tim Tebow is the longest shot at 250-1.