Now, you might read that first line and think this is about some "MVP curse". Not the case. Instead, let's look at what the MVP actually means and how the voters determine who is qualified for it. In there lies the reason why MVPs never win and why the award is inherently dumb.
Let's get one thing out of the way. The MVP is a quarterback award or at least an offensive award. The last non-quarterback to win it was LaDainian Tomlinson in 2006. The last defensive player? Lawrence Taylor in 1986. At this point, players that aren't quarterbacks are barely even brought up in the discussion when talking about NFL MVPs.
The reason why the award is stupid is the nature of the award. To be the "most valuable player" in the league, generally means that you ask the question, if X team didn't have X player, how much worse would they be?
Now, what's wrong with that? Well, simply that if your team relies so completely on your quarterback, your team is flawed. When debating the top candidates, it becomes basically a discussion of whose team is worse.
Take this year, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady.
Honestly, if you were to debate the two wouldn't it come down to who has the worse supporting cast? Isn't that inherently stupid to reward someone an "MVP" because he is working with a crappier team?
Is it really any wonder why the "MVP" never wins the Super Bowl?
We've seen it time and time again. Aaron Rodgers wins it last year, probably partially due to the fact that they won so many games despite their awful defense. Then, when they get in the playoffs and Rodgers doesn't have a perfect game, their defense can't bail them out, and they are one and done.
The year before? Tom Brady. Same scenario. Great numbers, 14-2 record, bad defense. Bounced in the first playoff game when Brady doesn't play his best and the defense can't bail him out.
Tom Brady has always acknowledged how little sense the award makes. Here's what he had to say on WEEI back in 2010, the year he ended up winning it.
"My feeling as always is most valuable player in a team sport, to me, that doesn't make a lot of sense," said Brady. "I can understand the most valuable golfer or something like that...Unfortunately, it's really a quarterback award. Not a lot of other great players get that recognition, which they probably should. There's so many great players in the league. I guess it's something that they have to do. The only award I ever care about is a Super Bowl ring. That's the only one that's important to me."Most fans might read that and just say, "Oh just Tom being humble, what a great guy!" but the fact is he makes a good point. The award is dumb.
To illustrate my point, if you were to discuss who is a better candidate for MVP: Peyton Manning or Tom Brady, what would the argument for either side be?
For Tom Brady, the main one would be that he's thrown so little interceptions.
For Peyton Manning? The list is longer and more typical of what usually qualifies MVPs. His defense is worse (less opportunistic), he has less weapons, he doesn't have as strong of a running game, Brady has Belichick. Basically, the list of reasons why you would take Peyton Manning has a lot to do with the negatives of his team and supporting cast.
Why has a team like the Texans, who are 10-1 and in the eyes of many the top team in the AFC, not have a player as the favorite to win MVP? Why does a team like the San Francisco 49ers, who in my opinion might be the best team in football, not have someone at the top of the MVP race? Don't ask me.
So, great, give Peyton Manning the MVP award. It'll make me feel better about the TEAM that's around our quarterback in New England.