Dak? Zeke? No, the Cowboys’ offensive line should win NFL MVP (and yes, it’s possible)
The Dallas Cowboys have won eight straight games, the latest a thrilling 35-30 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers, and are the toast of the NFL.
This is the team that could win the franchise's first Super Bowl in 21 years, so there's MVP talk floating around Texas. And why wouldn't there be?
You could make the case that Cowboys rookie quarterback Dak Prescott is the MVP of the NFL — he's played winning football all year at the toughest position in professional sports. He's been good enough to unseat a likely Hall of Fame quarterback. That's impressive.
You could also make the argument that rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott is the NFL's MVP — he's rushed for 1,005 yards through nine games and could possibly get to 2,000.
Both are deserving of consideration and praise, and there are plenty of other players around the league who will be in the running for the award as well — but there are five players on the Cowboys who also deserve mention for the MVP award.
The Most Valuable Players of the Dallas Cowboys are the team's five starting offensive lineman, and they should win the NFL's highest individual honor.
The Associated Press handles the NFL MVP voting, choosing a panel of 50 voters from across the country to select the league's best. Though it has never happened, there is no rule or bylaw that forbids voters from considering an entire position group as the MVP — the P can stand for player or players, it seems.
It's weird, it's probably a loophole, and it's never going to happen, but if there are any voters out there reading this, there's a case to be made for voting for the Cowboys' offensive line this winter.
Prescott and Elliott are both MVP candidates, and its hard to chose between the two, but what is the common denominator for the two players? They both require strong play from the Cowboys' offensive line. The front five has kept Prescott, a rookie quarterback who can run (every offensive line's worst nightmare — they're far more likely to run into sacks than away from them) upright and has given Elliott more than enough space to run, run, run.
This is a dominant unit — hands down the best in the NFL this season. People don't often notice good offensive line play, but if you want to see some, look no further than the Cowboys' win over the Steelers on Sunday and Elliott's two fourth-quarter touchdown runs.
Elliott wasn't touched on either score, and the Steelers knew what was coming on both plays. The Cowboys' offensive line was just a human bulldozer.
Here's how the first touchdown set up — a two-tight-end set on the Pittsburgh 15:
Elliott is already at the 15 before he needs to make a cut. Look at how far downfield the offensive line already is. The only thing in his way is his own offensive lineman, who fell off a block.
One cut — end zone.
The second touchdown, the game-winner, was even more impressive.
The Steelers have, in essence, nine in the box for this play, which is in 13 personnel (one back, three tight ends). Everyone in the world knows they're going to run, though the Steelers are playing it safe by keeping two back in case they run play action. But make no mistake — this box is still stacked.
Within a second or two of the ball being snapped, eight Steelers have been engulfed. If not for tight end Jason Witten being pushed back on the left side, this running hole would be far more massive.
Elliott needs to neither cut nor juke — he sees the hole (a skill in its own right) and simply has to run as fast as he can through it — he only has one man to beat, and that defender is 10 yards away and nowhere near as fast as the Ohio State product. Six points.
It's been like this for most of the season.
Elliott and Prescott have both been fantastic, but they can thank the big fellas up front — Tyron Smith, Ron Leary, Travis Frederick, Zack Martin, and Doug Free — for so much of that success this season.
So why not reward them?
They're the most valuable players on one of the best teams in football — and since there's no rule against it, they deserve consideration for MVP.