Quarterbacks Usually Win The Award, While Running Backs Are Left Out In the Cold

Published on November 22nd, 2019 5:05 pm EST
Written By: Dave Manuel

It is time for the NFL MVP awards.  Who do you think will win? In 2019, the race for the NFL's MVP award is seemingly down to just two players - Russell Wilson and Lamar Jackson.

Last year the battle for MVP narrowed to just a couple of players by this time of the year as well, as Drew Brees and Patrick Mahomes were considered the two clear front-runners (both of whom are quarterbacks).

When handicapping the race for the NFL's MVP award, there are various pieces of information that you should consider.

To start, the MVP award is rarely awarded to a position other than Quarterback.

Since 2007, the MVP award has only been won ONCE by a position other than quarterback, and that was when Adrian Peterson won the award in 2012.

Since 2001, the MVP award has only been awarded three times to a position other than quarterback - Shaun Alexander in 2005, LaDainian Tomlinson in 2006 and Adrian Peterson in 2012. In short - quarterbacks usually win the award.

Christian McCaffrey is having a phenomenal year for the Carolina Panthers, though he is considered a long shot to win the award.

If you are thinking about backing a running back for the award, be careful - they usually don't win.

If you are thinking about backing a player that plays a position other than running back or quarterback, you are likely just throwing away your money. The MVP award has only been awarded ONCE to a defensive player, and that was when Lawrence Taylor won in 1986.

Another important point to consider - the record of the MVP candidate's team.

To bring up Christian McCaffrey again - another point that is against him winning the MVP award is that the Carolina Panthers are struggling this season, as they have a record of 5-5. While CMC is certainly having a fantastic season, the struggles of the Panthers will certainly work against him.

Lamar Jackson and Russell Wilson, on the other hand, both play for teams that are having very strong seasons, and that will certainly help them with the voters.

Let's look at the last five winners of the MVP award and the records of their respective teams that season:

2018 - Patrick Mahomes (12-4)
2017 - Tom Brady (13-3)
2016 - Matt Ryan (11-5)
2015 - Cam Newton (15-1)
2014 - Aaron Rodgers (12-4)

As you can see - the WORST record of the team that had the NFL's MVP on it over the last five years was 11-5.

If your team is struggling, you probably won't win the MVP award.


There are other factors that will help/hurt your cause as well.

One of the most important - the recent record of your team.

If you help to turn around a team (such as Patrick Mahomes in 2018 or possibly Lamar Jackson in 2019), you will certainly get extra consideration from the voters.

Tom Brady, on the other hand, plays for a team that makes the Super Bowl practically every year, and this fact actually hurts him when it comes to winning the MVP award.


In short - look for a QB on a greatly improved team and you will almost certainly be looking at a MVP candidate.

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