The race for the NFL’s Most Valuable Player has sort of turned into the “best quarterback on the best team” award over the years. This season, however, there is no clear cut MVP at any position.
Some will argue for Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, as his late season surge has brought the Packers back into playoff contention. Others will argue for Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr, who has had a fantastic season clinching the Raiders their first playoff birth since 2002.
A recent sample of NFL general managers found a different consensus MVP, however. This sample, taken by USA Today, found Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott to be the league MVP.
The support for Elliott in this poll was not overwhelming, with Patriots quarterback Tom Brady finishing in a close second place. But when you look at the facts, it’s hard to argue against his candidacy.
His 1,551 yards rushing leads the league, and is over 300 yards more than his closest competitor. He has more runs of 20 yards-plus than anyone else, has averaged 5 yards a carry, has scored a team rookie record 14 touchdowns, and has brought the Cowboys from a 4-12 record last season to a 12-2 one now.
Of course, he alone is not responsible for the Cowboys turnaround, but I believe it is fair to argue that he has been the most key piece in the team going from worst to first in just one calendar year.
The awards are not decided by general managers, though. In early January, fifty media members will submit their votes for league MVP, among other awards. Surprisingly enough, the Associated Press voted MVP award has never been given to a rookie. Maybe Zeke will find a way to change that this season.