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Ask Mase: How the NFL MVP award became the QB of the Yr award


It could even be nice to discuss a Bronco contending for the league’s MVP award this 12 months. And for Russell Wilson himself, the MVP trophy is one among the few items missing from his trophy case.

Wilson has nine Pro Bowl trips, the Walter Payton Man of the Yr award and a Super Bowl ring. The MVP award has eluded him, though his profession body of labor is best than some who’ve won the trophy — particularly Cam Newton (2015) and Matt Ryan (2016).

And the very fact is, he’s really the one Bronco who’s more likely to be within the MVP conversation, period. That’s because MVP has effectively turn out to be a QB-of-the-Yr award in recent times.

Which brings me to …

From Dan in Recent York:

Will there ever be a non-QB NFL MVP again? Will there ever be a defensive player win MVP again? I remember these items happening (LT, and…the opposite LT!), but on this age of the league it seems unimaginable. What would it not take for a non-QB to win?

You never say “never.” And while this era of football is hyper-focused across the quarterback, the lengthy arc of history says that in some unspecified time in the future, a non-QB will win the award again. But at this moment in time and for the foreseeable future, it seems highly unlikely.

Consider these examples:

  • 2020: Titans running back Derrick Henry becomes just the eighth running back to surpass 2,000 yards in a single season. He didn’t receive a single MVP vote.
  • 2021: Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp became the primary receiver in 34 years to catch at the very least 120 passes, accumulate over 1,500 receiving yards and rating at the very least 15 touchdowns in the primary 16 games of the season. (Kupp added a 7-catch, 118-yard, 1-touchdown game in Week 18 because the cherry on the sundae.) He got a single MVP vote out of fifty.

Neither were NFL MVP. Neither even got here close.

Fourteen of the last 15 MVPs were quarterbacks. The one exception was in 2012, when Adrian Peterson’s 2,000-yard season pushed him to the award.

Consider the variety of non-QB MVPs by decade for a moment:

  • 2020s: 0 (2 years)
  • 2010s: 1
  • 2000s: 3
  • Nineties: 4 (one, Barry Sanders in 1997, was a co-MVP with Brett Favre)
  • Eighties: 3
  • Nineteen Seventies: 5
  • Nineteen Sixties: 3
  • Nineteen Fifties: 2 (in three years, because the MVP award goes back to 1957)

So, as you may see, the speed was pretty stable for many years — 3-to-5 non-QB MVPs every 10 years. Only within the last twenty years has it gone out of whack.

Now, Henry and Kupp were the NFL’s Offensive Player of the Yr within the last two seasons. Effectively, that award has turn out to be a strategy to honor non-quarterbacks who’ve off-the-charts seasons. 4 of the last five winners were non-quarterbacks, including the last three in a row. In 2019, Lamar Jackson was a unanimous NFL MVP — but he finished second within the Offensive Player of the Yr balloting behind Recent Orleans wide receiver Michael Thomas.

It’s value noting, nevertheless, that in 4 of the last nine seasons, a quarterback who won NFL MVP also won Offensive Player of the Yr.

So, the NFL should immediately change the standards for Offensive Player of the Yr to be certain that only non-QBs win the award.

Something else that will help: Allowing voters to have first, second and third selections, like within the NBA. Because it stands today, the 50 NFL MVP voters make one pick: the winner. That’s it. Would the outcomes be different in the event that they modified this? Perhaps not. But multiple selections would likely enhance the discussion.

From Pablo in Fairbanks, Alaska:

Thanks for answering my Gradishar query, Mase. I’m a trifle embarrassed by my ignorance of the method. There are few with greater knowledge of Gradishar’s worthiness than you but your larger point ie ‘bottleneck’ being the difficulty is valid.

I used to be truthfully upset that Cliff Branch had died before his enshrinement and feel compassion to Falcon and Bengal fans (Ken Riley) who’re so grossly under-represented. I suppose I should count my blessing that quite a few Broncos have made it in of late.

Still. I feel back to that AFC Championship Game in ‘77 when the Broncos defeated the defending world champion Raiders. I think nine players and coaches from that Raiders team are enshrined. Not one Bronco although Randy and Louis Wright were the most effective players on the sphere that day.

No reason to be embarrassed. The HoF selection process isn’t something that generates huge headlines. It is usually one among those “inside baseball” style of arcane issues that doesn’t have much meaning within the grand scheme of football, but matters deeply to a small group of individuals.

Regardless that the “Orange Crush” defense it didn’t win a Super Bowl, it was iconic and dominant. The identical might be said of Minnesota’s “Purple People Eaters” of the 1970 — right all the way down to not winning a Super Bowl. Yet three Vikings defenders from that era are inducted: Alan Page, Carl Eller and safety Paul Krause. One other three Nineteen Seventies Vikings from offense are within the Hall.

No one which the Broncos of the Nineteen Seventies must have equal representation to the Vikings. In any case, Minnesota made 4 Super Bowls between 1969 and 1976. The “Orange Crush”-era Broncos got to the large game only once.

Gradishar needs to be in. Louis Wright needs to be in, too. But so long as Gradishar stays locked out of the reward he earned, it’s hard to advocate for Wright, though the cornerback has an incredible case. He was Champ Bailey before Champ Bailey.

From Michael in San Isidro, Costa Rica:

Now with recent ownership, I hear that a recent stadium needs to be built, so Denver could host a Super Bowl. I assumed that the Super Bowl is now limited to 4 everlasting rotating locations. Which is fact?

Fact No. 1: While there may be loads of speculation a couple of potential recent Broncos stadium, it could be a surprise if the Walton-Penner ownership group makes a direct declaration someway upon assuming ownership in the approaching weeks.

It’s more likely that the group will engage in further study and investigation of the choices before making a commitment. That said, if the Broncos do go to a recent stadium, it wouldn’t occur until the second half of this decade, on the earliest.

Fact No. 2: There isn’t any current rotation on Super Bowl locations. And one is unlikely to develop. It’s one among those things about which reporters often speculate.

Most spitballed rotations involve Los Angeles, Miami, Recent Orleans and the Phoenix or Las Vegas areas. But there are other viable locations — Atlanta, San Francisco Bay Area, Tampa, Houston and Dallas-Fort Price are five examples. A domed or retractable-roofed stadium in Denver would bring the Mile High City into the combination. Nashville will enter the chat when it builds its projected domed stadium.

With all of those venues in play, a recent stadium would mean — at best — one Super Bowl a decade in Denver.

#AskMase What do you think that of scripting the primary 15 plays? I feel it resides prior to now, in addition to a scarcity of capability for coaches to to begin with diagnose the defense’s weaknesses and secondly take immediate advantage of them. Why wait a half to do this? What is going to Nate do?

— Daisy Bennett (@DaisyBe19269324) July 17, 2022

Well, 15 plays isn’t waiting a half. And the “script” is a bit looser than the term implies. There’s latitude to regulate for situation — down-and-distance, etc. Bill Walsh, the widely accepted father of play scripting, would deviate when he faced some specific scenarios. A seasoned quarterback like Russell Wilson can audible and react to what the defense presents.

As Rams coach Sean McVay told The Ringer in 2017, “If things go great, you’re going to simply go right down that list,” McVay says. “[But] it’s not realistic … You’ve got to be mindful about staying on schedule but in addition being able to adjust to different situations inside the framework of a drive.”

The script may be very much alive and never yet passé, in my humble opinion. It’s just not the rigid entity it might sound to be.

Got a matter? Submit it here to be a component of the subsequent edition of the “Ask Mase” mailbag, dropping weekly at DenverFan.com!


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