A familiar face won the NFL MVP last year. Tom Brady took home his third MVP at the age of 40, making him the oldest MVP in the history of any of the four major sports in the U.S. The last five MVPs have now been quarterbacks and three of them weren’t winning the award for the first time. I’m hoping the MVP race will have a little more variety in the coming years, but for now let’s focus on the coming season.
As always, a lot of names are thrown around during the preseason when discussing who will take home football’s greatest individual award. To try and narrow down the pool of potential candidates I asked ten people who they thought would be the best player in the NFL this year.
Who do you think will be the NFL’s MVP this year and why?
“As much as I want to pick Wentz he’s coming off an ACL and may not be ready for the start of the season. I really think Rodgers may be the guy. Between Adams and Graham I think that passing attack is going to be lethal as long as Cobb and/or Allison gives him a competent second receiver. Dark horse Andrew Luck. Jack Doyle was a Pro Bowler last year. I think Hilton is gonna have a heck of a year. And if he gets protection I think Luck could sneak the Colts into the Wildcard…And I expect Wentz, Brady, Wilson, and Brees to all get serious votes.” –@matthewdufner
“If I had to choose a sleeper I’d go Deshaun Watson or Garoppolo, but I think a safe bet for next year’s MVP would be Aaron Rodgers. He’s always consistently helping the Packers win, and he’s got a couple good options with Jimmy Graham now, Davante Adams, and the veteran Randall Cobb.”-@AndrewFerdenzi
“I think if Carson Wentz manages to stay healthy then he can win it. Last year he was on pace for the award but the injury got in his way. And the Eagles receiving core only got better with the addition of Mike Wallace.” –@Federico8888
“I think Aaron Rodgers will be the MVP this year. After what was kind of a disappointment last year, I feel like he is going to bounce back strong. Also, the Packers offense has been upgraded since last year and this will give him more options.” –@Tbegane
“Honestly I think a healthy Carson Wentz or Tom Brady can win it. I also think a healthy Todd Gurley or Le’Veon Bell could win it as well. They all had really good seasons last year and I think any of them are capable of winning it because of their talent and the numbers they can put up, as long as they stay healthy.” When I asked for him to choose one player he replied, “Todd Gurley.” –@brianspolarich
“Oh come on now, you know Aaron Rodgers all the way. He’s coming off an injured season, he has young new talent around him, and a huge new tight end Jimmy Graham. He’s due for another Super Bowl and definitely another MVP season!” –@vandoldi
“The safe bet would probably be Brady but I like the way Antonio Brown has been playing and improving his game year after year. I think the Steelers are going to be a real player in the AFC this year and Brown will be a real big reason for it.” –@M_Formo
Only two players received multiple votes this poll. Unlike the last poll, there was a much larger diversity in the answers to this one. Rodgers ran away first place though, picking up five votes. Second was Brown who got two. Bell, Gurley, and Wentz all got one vote.
My vote doesn’t really matter this time because we didn’t have a tie in the poll, but if Aaron Donald does not hold out because of his contract situation and plays the full season I believe he will win the MVP. Besides him any one of the top four running backs (Bell, Ezekiel Elliott, Gurley, and David Johnson) in the league have a shot to win too.
I just feel like there’s some kind of change coming and that new players will begin to win the bigger awards. However, every time I’ve doubted Rodgers (Super Bowl XLV, the 2014 MVP race, etc.) he’s always come out on top. If he wins I’ll never pick against him again, but for now he’s got the chance to prove me wrong one more time.
It’s reassuring as a Pittsburgh Steelers fan to see two of the team’s players show up in this poll. No other team can claim that, in fact none of the other players chosen are even in the same division as the others. That makes the concentration of star power on the Steelers offense pretty obvious.
I found it interesting that multiple people mentioned the Super Bowl. It shows how some people naturally link the MVP and great players with winning. It’s something most sports fans do naturally, but I thought I’d draw your attention to it this time.
Now to poke some holes in all of their choices. First, Wentz likely won’t even start Week one and, depending on how Nick Foles plays, could miss enough time to take him out of the race before his 2018 candidacy even begins. Second, Bell is holding out right now and is threatening to not report to the Steelers. So much for all of the excitement about their high powered offense.
Rodgers and Gurley are safe picks on paper and it’s hard to argue with them. My only fears would be Gurley having another down year like in 2016, but I doubt it. And there’s got to be some concern about 34 year old Rodgers coming back from his collarbone injury. Then again, he’s Aaron Rodgers, the normal rules don’t apply to guys like him.
It’s always fun to guess who will win awards like this now but so much can change in just one week of football. It’ll be interesting to see what names are still in the running for the MVP near the end of the season.