With quarterback Carson Wentz, the Philadelphia Eagles became the top seed in the NFC playoff bracket and a favorite to reach the Super Bowl.
Without him, the Eagles find themselves the first-ever, top-seed, home underdog this weekend when the Atlanta Falcons visit Philadelphia for an NFC semifinal game.
Listeners and readers of the Talk of Fame Network recognized the value of Wentz to the Eagles by voting him the NFL’s MVP in our weekly poll. Even though he missed the final two games of the season, Wentz received 32.8 percent of the vote to edge Tom Brady by the thinnest of margins at 32.3 percent.
Rams’ halfback Todd Gurley finished third in the vote with 20.5 percent, followed by Steelers’ wide receiver Antonio Brown, Chiefs’ halfback Kareem Hunt, Vikings’ safety Harrison Smith, Jaguars’ pass rusher Calais Campbell and Seahawks’ quarterback Russell Wilson.
The Talk of Fame Network hosts – Ron Borges, Rick Gosselin and Clark Judge – split their vote three ways, with Borges selecting Wentz, Gosselin Gurley and Judge Brady.
Despite sitting the final 11 quarters of the season, Wentz still finished second in the NFL with 33 touchdown passes. He passed for 3,296 yards and steered the Eagles to 11 victories in a 13-3 season, giving Philadelphia an NFC East title. He had four-TD pass games against Arizona, Washington, Denver and the Rams. But a knee injury in the 14th game of the season against the Giants ended his season.
“Wentz carried a team that for quite some time hasn’t gone anywhere but home this time of year and got them the No. 1 seed,” Borges said. “Too bad he’s out.”
Gurley was the only NFL player to gain 2,000 yards from scrimmage this season, powering the Rams to an NFC West title. He led the NFL with 19 touchdowns, finished second in rushing yards with 1,305 and also caught 64 passes. He had a 152-yard rushing game against Seattle and a 158-yard receiving game against Tennessee.
“Gurley scored 13 touchdowns rushing and six more receiving,” Gosselin said. “He made one of the best offenses in the NFL go with his hands and his legs.”
Brady led the NFL with 4,577 receiving yards, completing 66 percent of his passes and throwing for 32 touchdowns.
“Nobody does more with less … year after year after year,” Judge said. “The problem is that he’s a victim of his own success. He raised the bar so high that we simply shrug at his continued success — because we expect nothing less of him. Well, I’m not shrugging. I’m voting for him because he deserves it.”