It’s week 11 in the NFL and the four o’clock games have just ended. We may still have 6 weeks left in the season, but I can’t help but think about whom the MVP of the league is. There are a few players that are being talked about for the title. Most of the names belong to quarterbacks, which makes sense in this pass happy NFL that we have today. Over the past 14 seasons, the award has gone to a quarterback 12 times. This year, I think that a couple of quarterbacks are leading the MVP race, but there is another player from a position that has never won the award, that I believe should be considered.
The consensus pick by most people so far this year is Tom Brady, and those people have a really good pick. Brady is having a great year, his best since the Patriots undefeated season in 2007. He is at the top of the league in every category and he has his team at the top of the conference at 10-0. He is also playing this way behind an offensive line that has been decimated with injuries. They have not made it an excuse to lose, Brady has just driven the team and the players that are left standing feel his confidence and follow his lead. It’s really tough to try and argue against Brady being the MVP but I’m going to try and do that now.
Cam Newton. This is another hot name getting thrown around quite a bit in the MVP discussion. He is another quarterback that is leading his team to an undefeated season. The major difference between Newton and Brady’s season is the complete lack of weapons that Newton has at his disposal. One of Cam’s most top receivers from last year, Kelvin Benjamin, was lost for the year before the season even began and nobody gave Newton a chance for this season. Well since the start of the season, all Newton has done was prove those doubters wrong. Newton is getting everything he can from his makeshift receiver core. Brady may be closing the gap in the poor receiver competition since he lost a couple key players over the past couple of weeks, but we will have to see if he handles it the same way Newton has been all season.
One more name that I think should be at the top of the MVP discussion, but isn’t there just yet is Deandre Hopkins. Hopkins is a Wide Receiver, and in the 58 years that there has been an MVP award, a receiver has never taken home the trophy. Click here to tweet this fact.
It’s gone to a quarterback 37 times, a running back 18 times, and a defensive tackle, linebacker, and even a placekicker once. But not once has it been a wide receiver. The complete list of MVP winners, with the exception of Adrian Peterson, Peyton Manning, and Aaron Rodgers over the past three years, can be found here. Now in a league that is so quarterback heavy, the award will probably not be given to him but he deserves to be considered at least. He may not be leading the league in receptions, or yards, but there aren’t many non-quarterbacks in the league that are more important to their team then him. The Texans are tied at the top of their division at 5-5, and they have had three different starting quarterbacks over the season. They have also not had their all-pro running back Arian Foster. But the common denominator for the Texans this season has been Hopkins. The guy has been absolutely crushing the league even though opposing teams know that he is going to be getting his looks. He is their number one option and most of the time their only option. When the Texans need to move the chains, he is the player to do it, as he leads the league in first downs, which I believe to be an underappreciated stat. I completely understand why people believe the award should go to a quarterback, or a running back. They are the people that touch the ball the most and they most often have the bigger impact on a game. They control where the ball goes and as a wide receiver you have to take what is given to you. Deandre Hopkins season should be noticed in the MVP light, but the shadow that is being cast by Brady and Newton may be too large for people to see Hopkins success this year.