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NFL MVP Race:Decisions, Decisions....

Updated on January 15, 2017

Race For NFL MVP

The 2016 NFL MVP race this year is contentious. The tough 16 game season has left us with many candidates who all have a valid claim for the award, and even more if there wasn’t a bias towards certain positions. The consensus is that the players who have the most legitimate claims are: Matt Ryan Quarterback of the Atlanta Falcons, Tom Brady Quarterback of the New England Patriots, Aaron Rodgers Quarterback of the Green Bay Packers, Dak Prescott Quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys, Zeke Elliott Running Backs of the Dallas Cowboys, and an outside contender Derek Carr Quarterback of the of the Oakland Raiders. Notice there are no offensive linemen, Receivers, Defensive players, or kickers. Over the last 20 seasons, there have been 22 MVP’s due to two ties, only five have been Running backs the other 17 have all been Quarterbacks, including 8 of the Last 9. So the Dallas Cowboys offensive line probably won’t win in a 5-way tie for MVP although they may be the most deserving.

Quarterback 2016 Stats

(click column header to sort results)
Games Won  
Completion %  
Passing TDS  
Rushing TDS/yds  
Matt Ryan
Tom Brady
Aaron Rodgers
Dak Prescott
Derek Carr
Tom Brady led the Patriots to a 11-1 Record after returning from suspension
Tom Brady led the Patriots to a 11-1 Record after returning from suspension

The Candidates

In order to pick a winner we must first understand what the criteria for the award are although that could depend on the voter, is it the player who means the most to his team, the offensive player that had the best season or the best player on the best team. For me it is a combination, you have to have had a fantastic season for a winning team and if you were replaced for any reason your team would suffer a large drop-off.

Tom Brady for that reason is eliminated because though it was a short sample size in the 4 games Tom Brady was suspended the Patriots had a record of 3 wins and 1 loss. The whole purpose of the game is to win and though the offense did see increases in all major stats upon his return, the teams was still on pace to go 12-4 which would have still given a division title and first round bye without him and their most valuable asset might be having one of the best coaches in NFL history, Bill Belichick.

Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott
Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott

Dak Prescott and Zeke Elliott both of whom are rookies play behind offensive line whom I believe, as I mentioned earlier, are the real MVPs. These two, I believe, are products putting up very good borderline great numbers but it is looked at more impressively because they are rookies. Dak's numbers of 3,949 total yards, 29 total touchdowns, 8 turnovers and 68% completion are not on par with the previous 5 quarterback MVP winners whom of which averaged 4,712 total yards, 45 total touchdowns, 10 turnovers and 65% completion. Zeke’s numbers, as opposed to previous MVP running back Zeke, doesn't stack up well either, 1,934 total yards 5.1 Yards Per Carry, and 16 total touchdowns as opposed to the last 5 running back MVPs whose numbers averaged 2,181 total yards, 24 total touchdowns and 5.3 Yards Per Carry.

The stats are also the reason, Derek Carr whose numbers are good as well, but not to the level of previous MVP winners or even that of fellow contenders is also taken out of the discussion.

The Final Two

That leaves us with Matt Ryan and Aaron Rodgers, both of whom have numbers similar to the average of MVP winners. Matt Ryan has been consistent all year as the leader of a team that finished 11-5 with a division title and a 1st round bye and his numbers of 5,061 total yards, 38 total touchdowns, 9 total turnovers and 70% completion stack up well to previous MVP quarterbacks. Add to that he was announced as the 1st team All-Pro Quarterback which bodes well for his MVP chances (4 of the last 5 MVP winners have been the 1st team All-Pro Quarterback). Then there is Aaron Rodgers who’s numbers of 4,797, 44 total touchdowns, 11 turnovers and a 65% completion are nearly identical to the numbers of previous MVP Quarterbacks, led a team to 10-6 and a division title. Rodgers had to deal with a depleted backfield and a ton of injuries to their linebackers and secondary. He also after week 11 said that a team who was 4-6 at the time could run the table and proceeded to lead them to 6 straight wins during which he had 15 touchdowns and no interceptions.

Matt Ryan and Aaron Rogers after a 33-32 Falcons win week 8.
Matt Ryan and Aaron Rogers after a 33-32 Falcons win week 8. | Source

Determining The Winner

With the two resumes being fairly even there is only one way to conceivably break the tie head to head, even that game ending in 33-32 Falcons victory with Matt Ryan throwing a touchdown with 30 seconds left neither quarterback had a turnover. Rodgers threw for 248 yards passing, 60 yards rushing and 4 TDs, Ryan had 284 yards passing and 3 touchdowns and came away with the win because of that if I had to choose it would be Matt Ryan by the slimmest of margins. Still, you can’t go wrong with either.

Who Should win the 2016 NFL MVP?

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