Forget the MVP, Award Position Groups
There has recently been a lot of discussion regarding this year’s MVP recipient. Prominent names tossed around include the Cowboys’ rookie Running Back Ezekiel Elliot and Patriots star Quarterback Tom Brady.
There are many flaws with the MVP award over the past few years. Since 2007, a quarterback has won the award all but one year. Candidates’ chances plummet if their team does not make the playoffs. The NFL awards the Offensive Player of the Year and the Defensive Player of the year separately. Even still, the last time a defensive player won the award was 30 years ago.
However, there is one step that the NFL could take to fix some of the issues with the award. The NFL should grant it to the most valuable position group in the league, instead of the most valuable player.
Take this year, for example. The Cowboys’ offense has been playing outstandingly. Much of this success is attributable to their fantastic Offensive Line. However, Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott are the MVP candidates. The unit as a whole, in this case, holds the value. No individual Offensive Lineman for the Cowboys will receive an MVP vote.
Another good example is in New England. Tom Brady plays brilliantly on a weekly basis, but did not play every week. Because he missed the first four games, his stats pale in comparison to other gunslingers like Derek Carr and Matt Ryan. However, if you add in the statistics of Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett, the Patriots Quarterbacks as a position group deserve the award.
There are other examples, too. DeAngelo Williams was amazing as the Steelers’ featured back during Le’Veon Bell’s injury. The Seahawks’ Defensive Backs would (deservedly) be a perennial MVP contender.
Switching the award would allow General Managers to not focus only on getting a franchise Quarterback. Instead, they would focus on getting a dominant position group. The Cowboys Offensive Line and the Legion of Boom prove that dominant units can bring a team to the playoffs.
On the other hand, there is little chance that such a change would ever happen. The award comes with a monetary bonus, which would be tough to divide among the players in a position group. Contracts sometimes give players additional bonuses for earning the MVP award.
But above all else, awarding position groups would allow us to give credit to the more underappreciated positions in football. Also, it wouldn’t penalize players as much for missing a few games for injury or suspension.