Brady takes 49 of 50 votes in MVP voting

NEW YORK -- For all their achievements, past Most Valuable
Players John Unitas, Dan Marino and Joe Montana never had a season
like Tom Brady's 2007.

The New England Patriots' record-setting quarterback added The
Associated Press NFL MVP award Saturday in the same manner his team
romped through its schedule, going 16-0. On the way to the first
unbeaten regular season since Miami went 14-0 in 1972, Brady put on
a performance for the ages, which earned him all but one vote from
a nationwide panel of 50 media members who regularly cover the

"I have always been a huge football fan and will always have
great respect for the history of this game," Brady said. "I am
flattered to join such an esteemed list of players, many of whom I
consider the greatest of all time. I hope that I can set as great
of an example for kids around the world as the previous MVPs did
for me.

"I am grateful to all of the voters for any consideration I was
given. It is a tremendous honor and I am sure it is one that my
family will one day look back on with great pride."

Brady is the first Patriot selected NFL MVP. He drew 49 of the
50 votes from a nationwide panel of media members who regularly
cover the NFL. Green Bay quarterback Brett Favre, the only
three-time MVP, got the other vote.

The eight-year veteran who already has won three Super Bowls
helped the Patriots tear through the record books by throwing for
50 touchdowns. He beat Peyton Manning's league mark by one, and
also threw 23 of those TD passes to Randy Moss, which lifted the
receiver past Jerry Rice's record of 22.

New England scored 589 points, another record, as was the
Patriots' 75 touchdowns. Brady led the NFL with a 117.2 passer
rating -- no, not another record, but close to Manning's 121.1 in
2004. Only one full-time AFC starter, Jacksonville's David Garrard,
had fewer than Brady's eight interceptions. And Brady threw 253
more passes than Garrard.

Brady also was tops with a 68.9 completion percentage, and his
4,806 yards were 383 more than runner-up Drew Brees of New Orleans.

Brady joins a roster of AP MVPs that includes quarterbacks
Unitas, Bart Starr, Fran Tarkenton, Marino, Montana, John Elway and
Steve Young -- all Hall of Famers.

Yet Brady insists individual accomplishments don't rule his

"As I have learned over the course of my time with the
Patriots, the most meaningful accomplishments are always the ones I
have celebrated with my teammates," he said. "I am certainly
proud of the success that we have enjoyed so far this season."

There also was plenty of praise to go around from teammates,
Patriots owner Robert Kraft and coach Bill Belichick.

"To be honest, I'm surprised it took so long for him to get
this recognition because he's sort of been our MVP since he stepped
on the field in '01, in my mind, and the way he just took over,"
Kraft said. "He treats everyone in that locker room the same way
he treats me or the coaches.

"And the thing that I've found most interesting is if you talk
to role players or backups how he talks to them and motivates them.
He treats them like they're going to the Pro Bowl, with that kind
of respect."

Added Mike Vrabel, who has gone from a role player to a Pro Bowl
linebacker over the years:

"He's our MVP. I think we've known that for quite some time.
"I think his work ethic day in and day out [is most impressive].
We get to practice against him, so I think that makes us better. I
think it makes us a better defense. He puts a lot of time into it.
It's important to him. Going out there every week and then trying
to play his absolute best is a priority for him."

"He deserves it," Belichick said. "I have thought for a long
time that there is no past or present quarterback I'd rather coach
than Tom Brady, and I am more certain of that every year he

Only in one game, a 20-10 win over the Jets, did Brady not throw
for a touchdown. He had 12 games with at least three TD passes.

Those are great stats, but they hardly tell the entire story.
Brady's leadership skills overshadow just about everything.

"Tom's one of those guys that goes out there and tries to
perform and compete every week," center Dan Koppen said. "He
gives maximum effort on every play and every game. What he did was
outstanding, but I know he wants more than that. That's what you
need in your quarterback."

The previous two MVP awards went to running backs LaDainian Tomlinson (2006) and Shaun Alexander (2005). Before that,
quarterbacks won four in a row: Manning in 2004 and in 2003,
when he shared it with Steve McNair; Rich Gannon in 2002; and Kurt Warner in 2001.