Surprisingly, there is other news that surrounds the Patriots on Friday. Both Tom Brady and tight end, Rob Gronkowski, were named First Team All-Pro by the Associated Press. For Brady, it is the third time in his career he has been given the honor. Gronkowski is taking home the award for the fourth time in his career. In addition, special team’s ace, Matthew Slater, was named a second-team All-Pro.
After missing eight games and the Super Bowl run, Gronkowski returned in 2017 and played in 14 games. He missed one due to injury and one to a suspension. In that span, he hauled in 69 passes for 1,084 yards and eight touchdowns. He led all tight ends in receiving yards and he was second in touchdowns. Only Jimmy Graham had more. When healthy, Gronkowski is the most dominate non-quarterback in the NFL. Prior to this, Gronkowski was named a First-Team All-Pro in 2011, 2014, and 2015.
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For Brady, the selection was overwhelmingly in his favor as he garnered 47 of the 50 votes. The selection as an All-Pro confirms Brady as the prohibitive favorite for the NFL MVP. Generally, being named a first-team All-Pro quarterback precipitates an MVP award that year. The previous two times Brady has been an All-Pro (2007, 2010) he also took home the MVP that season.
At 40 years old, Brady led the league in passing. He threw for 4,577, averaging 286.1 yards per game. He threw for 32 touchdowns and just eight interceptions, the second best ratio in the league and the third highest passing touchdown total. After playing in just 12 games the year before, Brady led the Patriots to a 13-3 record and the top seed in the AFC for the second consecutive season.
With a likely MVP on his horizon, Brady will look to break the Super Bowl drought for NFL MVPs. Kurt Warner was the last MVP to win the Super Bowl in the same season. That came in 1999 when Warner came out of nowhere to win both. The MVP will be announced the night before the Super Bowl. Hopefully, Brady will be too busy to attend.