Your NFL candidates for MVP of 2009.
I put this together after reading a pretty decent article by Asher H here on Stampede Blue. Coincidentally, this has been a big topic of discussion by sports writers, analysts, and of course, fans everywhere across the world.
I'd like to remind everyone that MVP stands for MOST VALUABLE PLAYER, not the flashiest or highest profile name, but most valuable. This means that stats are not always the truest indicator of how valuable a guy is to your team. Stats can be very misleading because you can have huge stats but still be a losing team. Drew Brees is only the second QB in over 20 years to throw for 5,000 yards, but his team finished 8-8 last year.
So having said that.....on to the discussion...
Obviously, the first question is why are several people left off this list. Honestly, most of those guys are playing for middle of the pack teams and really do not belong here. Some have been flash in the pan for parts of the year but haven't been consistent. Others are playing on teams where there are so many problems that their value is diminished because of how bad the team is. One of the players in this list actually shouldn't be but that's why I've listed him so I can discard him...
I'm going to rank the players based on the order that I feel they should finish in...starting with the last place player and ending with who I feel should win.
Fifth Place - Chris Johnson - Tennessee Titans
I'm really only including this guy because everyone is hyping him up to be something special. Unfortunately for Titans fans, this guy has zero chance of even being in the discussion at voting time. I don't have a problem with the guy, but the truth is that he's having a great year on an already bad team.
The Titans were 0-6 despite him rushing for roughly an average of about 120 yards a game. He rushed for 117 yards in a 59 pt blowout loss to the Patriots. He rushed for less than 40 yards in a 31-9 blowout loss to the Colts. The guy is perhaps the best offensive weapon his team has, but his inability to score TD's has hurt his team more than helped.
To put it in perspective, 3 of the top 5 rushers all play for teams that are 6-5 or 5-6. Chris Johnson only has 9 rushing TD's for the year. Overall he has 10 TD's. Joseph Addai on the other hand, is like the 23rd leading rusher in the NFL. He has half the yards rushing, but also has 7 rushing TD's and 11 TD's overall (he threw for one TD). So who's really more valuable here? Addai or Johnson??
As a running back, you have to be truly dominant in this league to really have a shot at winning the MVP in this league of passing the ball. Johnson's stats are nice....but compare his year right now to Jamal Lewis of a few years ago....he went over 2,000 yards...but he wasn't the MVP. The last 2 RB's to win the MVP put up over 28TD's in a single season rushing...
Fourth Place - Drew Brees - New Orleans SaintsDrew Brees is a great story. He's shown that injuries don't always derail a career. He's not the biggest or tallest QB in the league. He simply works hard and does throw a great football. He has thrown for more yards in the last 3.5 seasons than any other QB, in fact, as much as some QB's have for career totals.
Here's the thing that hurts Brees however. Turnovers.
He has almost 20 total turnovers for the year. He has 2 games where he failed to throw 200 yards/touchdown. You simply cannot have that kind of problem as an MVP candidate. Sure, he deserves to be in the conversation for what he's doing with the Saints as their QB, but that doesn't mean he should win it. This is the same QB who threw for the most yards since Marino's magical NFL record last year and his team finished 8-8. Stats sometimes lie to people.
Third Place - Adrian Peterson - Minnesota VikingsThis is last year's NFL leading rusher, and he is currently #3 overall this year. He's arguably the best individual running back in the league and he's playing on one of the top 3 teams in the NFL. He's the NFL single game rushing record holder.
He also has some of the worst case of fumble-itis in the NFL. His stats this year are down from last year as the passing game of the Vikings is more improved over last year. Edgerrin James of the Colts was one of the best RB's every year, but was never included in MVP discussions because of his QB and how good his team's offense was. This unfortunately is what is happening to AP this year.
Second Place - Brett Favre - Minnesota Vikings
This is easily a fan favorite, a nostalgic choice given his age and how well his year has been. The guy is a 3-time MVP. He's playing on one of the top 3 teams in the NFL. He's got an insane TD to INT ratio, for a guy who's the NFL INT leader. All in all, this is most likely his single best year in his almost 20 years of playing in the NFL. The guy is 40 years old and is playing fantastic.
What hurts Favre in this discussion is the team he is playing for.
This is a guy who did not do any spring training, who had off season surgery, who retired from the last team he was on. This is also a guy who came to a team that went 10-6 with Adrian Peterson and an average QB at the helm. The Vikings have one of the best offensive lines and one of the top defenses in football. Favre put this team over the top, but this team could have easily been in the same position with Tavaris Jackson at QB. They have quality WR's and a front runner for Rookie of the Year in Harvin.
It also really hurts Favre in some capacity that he plays with arguably the best RB in football. If you remember, Warner and Faulk really screwed each other in voting as both were considered MVP's those years.
Call me a Homer if you want, but this guy is your MVP of the league. He has done more and meant more to the success of his team this year more than any single player in this list.
The Colts rushing game is one of the worst in the league, worse than any team of any player on this list. Peyton Manning still manages to force teams to respect the run and establish the play action fake despite this very cold hard fact.
The Colts have lost their #2 and #3 WR's from last year, essentially starting rookie WR's at the positions all year. Despite that, the Colts offense is ranked in the top 3 for most of the year, has a WR and a TE in the top 3 of their positions, and has managed to be one, if not the most, efficient offenses in of all football. No other team has had to replace the amount of losses on offense that the Colts have faced and managed to duplicate the Colts success this year. That is not just because of the talent of the players.
The Colts defense has lost 4 starters for the year, several being out most of the season anyhow.
Despite all this, Peyton Manning has managed to get this team to 11-0. He has rallied his team from 17pts down twice. He has been kept off the field for all but 15 min of a game and managed to guide his team to victory. If you took Manning out of the Colts lineup this year, this team would be LUCKY to finish .500. The amount of effort that Manning puts into this team is why he is simply put, the MVP.
You want further proof that Manning is your MVP? Look no further than last year. The Colts were 3-4 with a one legged Peyton Manning. He gets healthy, the Colts rip off 9 straight wins and while losing in the wildcard playoffs, they still looked like a completely different team with Manning healthy. This is a Colts QB who has missed the playoffs in his career only twice. One of those times was his rookie year.
You can probably make a case for any of these players over Manning. He's already won 3 times. He's one of the best QB's in the league ever year. He's always on a good team. However, you'd be forgetting that Manning is one of the major reasons why those facts exist. It's not just the talent of the players around him, but in who Manning is.
Please feel free to discuss this...