Two Frontrunners for League MVP and One Surprise Pick

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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.

How Killer Injuries are Plaguing the NFL

This NFL season seems to be a lot more volatile then other seasons in the recent medical-symbol-eps-illustration-design-47882922-1past. There have been an incredibly high number of players placed on the season ending injured reserve, highlighted  by the likes of Le’veon Bell, Jamaal Charles, Arian Foster, Jordy Nelson, Kelvin Benjamin, and several other players. The number of people who have lost their season seems high, but when you add in people that have missed time and avoided the IR then the number becomes absolutely outrageous.

Look at who was originally selected for last years pro bowl. Before people bowed out of the game due to injuries, personal reasons, or they were playing in the super bowl, most of that roster has missed time this season from injuries. In fact, every one of the running backs that were selected for the pro bowl has missed at least one game, and three will miss the entire season. Tweet this fact. 

Also, half of the quarterbacks that were selected to represent the league have missed time due to injury this year. Here is the complete roster for the 2015 pro bowl. These problems at first glance seem to be severe and could possibly take away some excitement of the game, but recent history has shown that this might not be as big of a problem as before.

Although people have been suffering these severe season ending injuries at a high rate, players don’t really have to question whether or not they will be able to return to playing at a high level. Just this year alone there are two players that are excelling at their respective positions who are coming off of two torn ACL’s. One of those is Todd Gurley, the rookie running back sensation in St. Louis. Gurley is only 12 months removed from his torn ACL he suffered while still in college at the University of Georgia. Some people weren’t sure of the impact he would have at the NFL level this soon after his injury, but he has proved to people that he is more then able to take on defenses already. Over his first four career starts, he has racked up the most rushing yards then any back in league history through any of their first four starts. Some people may say that he has had an easier road back to playing because he is a young player, as he is still only a few months past his 21st birthday.

Another player that is bouncing back from the daunting torn ACL is Carolina Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis. As a matter of fact, Davis is coming off of three torn ACL’ s in the three consecutive years from 2009-2011. Unlike Gurley, Davis has been through this injury and the grueling rehab three times, and Davis is 11 years older then Gurley as well. That shows that age doesn’t play as much of a role in the return process as some people say. The key to returning from season ending injuries, and the surgery and rehab process that follows is the determination and desire to want to come back.

Now look aggym-592899__180ain at the list of players who have lost their season. There are a lot of young talented players on the list. The problem of the lack of star power is only a short-term one here, as most have already started their trek back to competing.