Cam Newton won the 2015 NFL MVP and helped to drive his Carolina Panthers to the Super Bowl, only to find himself and the Panthers outclassed by the Denver Broncos. While the Panthers record of 15-1 was impressive, Cam only passed for 265 yards and one interception in the Super Bowl. The Panthers were overwhelmed by the pass rush of the Broncos.
All this goes to show that the NFL is a team league more than one of individual performance and it is essential for a team to gel and to be cohesive rather than to rely on one star. Still, despite this, there will always be intrigue for which player will win sufficient respect to be considered the most valuable player each year.
The odds typically say that a player from a top team has the best chance to win the award. Vegas has the Packers, Panthers, and Patriots as top contenders so it’s no surprise the favorites are Cam Newton, Aaron Rodgers, and Tom Brady. I can easily see why Vegas thinks that way. Here’s why.
The most likely candidate for a MVP in the NFL is of course a quarterback. Quarterbacks will touch the ball more than any other player in the game and therefore have the highest potential to have the most significant impact on the field. If you compare that to a running back, who touches the ball only a fraction of the time the odds will clearly be in favor of a quarterback. Teams can often game plan around a dominant defensive star and can thrown double teams in his direction or throw to another part of the field. However, a quarterback is hard to subvert and it is for this reason that most MVPs are quarterbacks.
Leading Quarterback Options
Peyton Manning was the winning quarterback of the Super Bowl but his skills had long diminished despite his victory. Either way, Manning is now retired and there are only a few quarterbacks who seem capable of winning the MVP.
Cam Newton has a chance of repeating if his team can have the same type of year after a Super Bowl loss. Teams that lose the Super Bowl often falter the next year as well so it isn’t likely to see them do well again. That doesn’t bode well for Cam. Having said that Cam is still on the upside of his career and if he can continue to develop he can truly repeat as MVP.
One quarterback that you can never ignore is Tom Brady. Brady is almost as old as Peyton Manning was when he retired last year but unlike Manning, Brady has shown no signs of his age. He keeps putting together magnificent season after magnificent season. Brady won the Super Bowl in 2014 and the Patriots remain a perennial contender each and every year.
While there aren’t other quarterbacks that warrant individual mention there are a number of quarterbacks who can get there if they put together solid years. Andrew Luck, with an offensive line finally in place can realize his true potential as a quarterback. Eli Manning can further flourish under the west coast offense and Odell Beckham. Eli can go on a real run with the Giants for an MVP. Or Aaron Rodgers can bounce back from a challenging 2015 to put together another great year.
There are other players outside of the quarterback position who can also shine and earn an MVP. On the defensive side of the ball Von Miller certainly looked like an MVP in the Superbowl and can earn the big contract that he has been lobbying for. JJ Watt has been a dominant defensive end for ages now and can truly receive the MVP that he has previously earned.
Alternatively a wide receiver like Odell Beckham or AJ Green can stand up and seize the MVP with a dominant performance. To do so they would likely need to get close to 20 touchdowns and 1,500 receiving odds which may be a stretch.
In 2016 expect a quarterback to win the MVP again. While Cam, Aaron Rodgers, or Brady can all take the prize, our bet is on Rodgers to have a bounce back year and seize the 2016 MVP award.