by Noah Bair ‘24
Every year, the NFL gives out awards before the Super Bowl for players who had the best regular season. While there are six awards that can be won by players, there is none more important than the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award, which theoretically can be won by any player in the league. Voters for the award are instructed to vote for a player who had the most impact on their team, thus dubbed “Most Valuable.” For each of the last ten years, a quarterback has won the MVP. In nine of those ten years, it was given to the quarterback on a team with the best record in their conference.
The award has moved from awarding the player that has contributed the most to their team into simply going to the quarterback on the best team. If the NFL wants to restore the award back to what it is truly meant to be, more non-quarterbacks should be given the award in the future, which would start with Christian McCaffrey of the San Francisco 49ers winning the award this year.
Lamar Jackson most likely is going to win the NFL MVP award in February when it is presented. Despite not leading in any major passing statistics, Jackson is the favorite to win the award because of the fact that his team has the best record in the league. The Ravens finished the year with a record of 13-4, earning his team the top seed in the AFC and a first-round bye in the playoffs. This year, McCaffrey had more than 2,000 yards from scrimmage and 21 touchdowns, leading the league in both of those categories. His contributions to the team are one of the main reasons why the 49ers finished with the second best record in the league and a first-round bye in the playoffs.
Even though he is not going to win the MVP award, McCaffrey will win the Offensive Player of the Year award, which will be the first time he has won the award in his seven-year career despite being widely regarded as the best multi-threat running back in the league.
Despite the award being a shining accomplishment in his impressive career thus far, it is a consolation prize to being named the MVP. Even doing something historic likely isn’t enough for a non-QB to win the MVP award. Most recently, in 2021, Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp came within 17 yards of breaking the NFL’s receiving yards record, but only received one vote out of 50. Who got the rest? QB Aaron Rodgers with 39 votes and Tom Brady with 10, and those two have won a combined 7 regular season MVPs.
This season, Jackson led his team to the best record in the league in what anyone would agree was an impressive season, but he didn’t even make it to 30 combined passing and rushing TDs. His MVP award will be undeserving.