2020 NFL Awards: Does MVP really just mean the “most entertaining”? 

12 February 2020
Posted in NFL
12 February 2020 Adam Goldstein

Lamar Jackson, the second year Baltimore Raven’s quarterback. won the overall league MVP. Not only did he win it, but won it by a unanimous decision; the second time that has ever happened. 

Now I am not saying that those 50 professionals who voted for Lamar Jackson are all wrong. They all have a wealth more experience in football than I have, but I just can’t help feel Jackson got this award because he is the most exciting player. Is he genuinely the most valuable player in the league? I don’t think so.

The league likes record breakers. Jackson smashed the rushing record for a quarterback by notching up a massive 1206 yards. He broke Michael Vick’s record of 1039 yards with a regular season game to spare. This proves that he is a special player. His 3127 yards through the air is excellent, and for a so called “running quarterback” he threw plenty of touchdowns, 36 in those 15 games with just 6 interceptions. He is an excellent player who had a spectacular season, but it was also his amazing defense that carried his Ravens to the playoffs as a top seed with a season record of 14-2.

Yet, in the AFC divisional round against the Tennessee Titans, where was the League MVP? He had a poor game (and of course all MVPs can have bad games), but he threw just over 50% of his passes and two interceptions. On the ground , granted he made 143 yards, but as soon as the Ravens began to lose (which was from their first drive) Lamar could not get a handle on the game. The Titans figured him out very quickly and exploited his weakness.  They shut down his reads down the middle, and instead of him going through his progressions to his second or third receiver, like other quarterbacks would do he just bolted and ran the ball. Jackson is wonderfully athletic and his runs from scrimmage as well as escaping the pocket is of course very exciting. But does that make him the most valuable?

What about Mahomes?

Meanwhile, the 2019 MVP, Patrick Mahomes, showed exactly what he is made of in this year’s post season. He led his team three times from being behind in double digits. Even in the Superbowl, he had a poor game by his standard in the first half throwing up two picks, but in the second half he showed how to lead a team, and he did just that, putting up three touchdowns in three drives to win the championship.  While Mahomes can run of course, and often does puts his body on the line just like Jackson, Mahomes will often go to his second and third option before running. Mahomes is way less predictable than Jackson and very much as gifted as him athletically. Simply put he is a better football player and the playoff run showed that. 

Perhaps statistically Mahomes did not deserve this year’s MVP when compared with Jackson’s tally. Mahomes played one less game than Jackson (due to a knee dislocation) and his touchdown passes dropped down to 26 from a whopping 50 the year before, when he tore the league to shreds.  But if Mahomes did not deserve it because his stats were not good enough (though I personally think he is hands down the best player in the league) then who do I think the 2020 MVP should have gone to?

Step up Christian McCaffrey

What did he win? I hear you cry. Well officially he won a rather minor award this season; he won the “fantasy football player” of the year award. Michael Thomas, the Saints wide receiver won Offensive player of the year with a record breaking 149 receptions and  Derrick Henry, the running back for the Tennessee Titans won the ground player of the game with his 1540 rushing yards and 16 rushing touchdowns, yet my MVP was still Christian McCaffery.

If I was going to build an offense and I did not have Patrick Mahomes, I would build it around this guy. I believe the fact that he got a rather minor award comes down to the fact that his Carolina Panthers did not make the playoffs who finished the season with a 5-11 record, while Michael Thomas and Derrick Henry got plenty of game time in the post season. The last MVP to not feature in the post season was O.J Simpson back in 1973.

This season, McCaffery had the ball in his hands 403 times in 16 games. When the Panthers had the ball he practically never came off the field. In his 287 rush attempts he got 1387 yards (which is very good), 15 rushing touchdowns (which is also very good), but he also caught a massive 116 passes for 1005 yards and four receiving touchdowns! If McCaffery was a wide receiver his receiving stats alone would make him the second best highest in the league catches, add in his run game and this guy is simply an offensive weapon that can not be over looked.

If was a NFL head coach I am taking McCaffery over Jackson every day and if I was voting for the MVP he would get my vote.  

Written by Adam Goldstein. @TailgateKnight 

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