The 43-year-old quarterback won his seventh Super Bowl this season and has more playoff wins (34) in his career than all but five franchises in their entire history in the NFL. Brady’s playoff resume dwarfs Cousins’ 1-2 playoff record he’s tallied in nine seasons.
However, Cousins has been one of the most productive quarterbacks in the league since 2015 as the only other quarterback other than Brady to throw for over 25,000 passing yards and maintain a 100-plus quarterback rating in the past six seasons.
CBS shared the stat on Twitter, which garnered widespread reactions where many fans reasserted many of the stigmas attached to Cousins career.
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Cousins threw a career-high 35 touchdowns this season despite struggling through the first six games. He finished the final 10 games of the season throwing 24 touchdowns and just two interceptions while leading Minnesota’s offense to the fourth-most yards per game (393.3) this season — the best mark by a Vikings team since 2004. Minnesota’s success was compromised by a defense that struggled, allowing the third-most points (29.7) and sixth-most yards per game (393.3) in the league.
Yet, much like how quarterback wins are often overvalued, Cousins took the brunt of the Vikings’ struggles this season, epitomized by one fan’s response to the Brady comparison.
Kirk is cheeks. Had so many weapons and can’t get it done. Anyone on that offence would do better. He even lost Diggs because of his reads.
— BloaterBoat (@BloaterBoat) February 16, 2021
The fan also brought Diggs’ departure into the equation, arguing Diggs left due to his frustration with Cousins. While there were surely heated moments in their time together, Diggs actually shouted Cousins out in his Players Tribune goodbye article published after his trade to the Buffalo Bills.
Stfu 💯 pic.twitter.com/H0UpmcEJuM
— Drew Lock Supremacy ᵀʳᵒˡˡ (@LocktoMinny) February 16, 2021
The Checkdown Kirk narrative resurfaced, which is also a fallacy. Cousins checked down on just 3.8% of his passes in 2020, ranking 16th among 41 quarterbacks graded by Pro Football Focus. Cousins posted the second-highest yards per pass thrown (8.3) this season, trailing only Deshaun Watson who led the league in passing yards.
Cousins’ garbage time reputation was also a point of contention, as the Vikings quarterback has actually played better when the game is close and has often brought his time back into close games despite the defensive struggles this season.
Kirk plays to stat pad. tom does it to win
— marc my words (@fireflightflame) February 16, 2021
The criteria of the stat was brought into question as a cherry-picked comparison to get a rise out of fans. While several of the league’s veteran quarterbacks had missed games in that span, a quarterback’s value is also measured by his ability to be ready each week.
A Reasonable Exchange
When a fan raised the criticism surrounding Minnesota’s 7-9 season in 2020 and lack of postseason success tied to Cousins, one fan quickly called out that as important the quarterbacks are, they are on the field for one phase of the game.
Brady has often warranted strong offensive line play throughout his career and, had he played behind Minnesota’s line in 2020, there may have been an entirely different debate between the two stars.
When called a Cousins hater, the fan gave credit to Cousins while also acknowledging his reliance on the weapons around him.
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