NFL MVP Not Intended For Best Athlete
The NFL MVP (most valuable player) award represents the player that, if a team were without, would have biggest negative impact. The AP (associated press) first gave out the award in 1961 to Paul Hornung, RB for the Green Bay Packers, after leading the league in scoring for the second straight season(The award started in 1957 as the “Most Outstanding Player” and was converted to the “Most Valuable Player” in 1961).
The very definition of the award is where some controversy begins. The best offensive player, a separate NFL award, goes to the best overall offensive player in the given year. The NFL MVP goes to the most valuable player for any given year. For example, the Indianapolis Colts went 2-14 the year Peyton Manning was out. With Manning the team is exponentially better and was in fact the most “valuable” player.
The issue with the award to many is that in its history the NFL MVP has almost exclusively went to offensive players. More specifically to a Quarterback, leaving out the entire defensive side of the game. For a league that created the mantra “Defense wins championships” they sure don’t seem to value the players that give it.
Of the 53 winners since the advent to MVP only 3 players that were not a RB or QB have seen the award given to them. One was a Kicker, must have been an off-year, and the other two were Hall of Fame defensive players.
- 1986 – (LB) New York Giants – Lawrence Taylor
- 1982 – (K) Washington Redskins - Mark Moseley
- 1971 – (DT) Minnesota Vikings – Alan Page
To make matters even more clear about how far the AP leans when voting on the NFL MVP just look at the last 20 years (1991-2011). In that 20 years the award was handed down 22 times, shared in 1997 and 2003 seasons, and 16 of those time to a Quarterback. In case you’re wondering the others were all RB’s.
The simple truth is that people don’t like to look at the facts. The award should most likely go to the Quarterback. At the end of the day it is one position that holds the most direct impact on the result of the teams season. There is an award for Defensive Player of the Year. There is also an Offensive Player of the Year as well. That is because the NFL MVP may not be the best athlete or, for that matter the best at their position, but they give the most VALUE to their team.
The idea that the most outstanding performer is the most valuable is not an exact judgement of what the award is. If a player sets the all time single season receiving record on a team that is 3-13 then just how VALUABLE is he? Worst case you finish only 3 games worse and still have the 1st pick in the draft. The NFL MVP needs to be framed properly for it to truly make sense. It simply doesn’t go to the best athlete, nor is it intended to, and most likely the QB trend will continue in 2012.