To say the NFL is a quarterback’s league would be a massive understatement. The quarterback is the single most important position on the team. And if you go back through the years and look at Super Bowl-winning teams, you’ll notice that about 95 percent of the winning teams have a quarterback that is either elite or really good. With the exception of Nick Foles in 2017, the list of Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks is as follows: Mahomes, Brady, Manning, Wilson, Flacco (he was good back then), the other Manning, Brees, Roethlisberger, Warner, Elway, Favre, Aikman and Young. The only two guys that stand out as not elite are Trent Dilfer in 2000 and Brad Johnson in 2002. What’s my point? Well, quarterbacks are extremely important. And in terms of the MVP Award, they get shown the most love as they are the vital cog to their team’s success.
For those of you interested in getting a futures bet or two down on the NFL’s MVP, there are a few things you should know before doing so. For starters, quarterbacks are far and away the most important position on the field and as such have been rewarded with top honors plenty of times. Since 1980, when the NFL MVP was changed from an AFC/NFC recipient to a “league-wide” winner, signal callers have won the award 29 times. Leading the way with MVP awards is Peyton Manning with five, while Tom Brady and Brett Favre have three apiece. Wide receivers get very little love, with Jerry Rice the only receiver to win the award in 1987 and 1990. Running backs have seven awards, with the last one coming in 2012 by way of Adrian Peterson.
This year, we have a group of quarterbacks that are above any competition from any other position on the field. To be exact, 12 of the top 13 odds belong to the QBs, with Derrick Henry checking in at 13th (+8000). I’ll break down each of the top candidates and give you my thoughts on if they are worthy of laying down a bet on.
Russell Wilson, Quarterback, Seattle Seahawks
If the Seattle Seahawks had any other quarterback under center, they would likely be a borderline .500 team, if not well below. Russell Wilson must have heard the offseason talk about how he hasn’t received a single MVP vote in his career despite being the face of the franchise and leading his team to two Super Bowls and coming within a single yard of winning another one. Through five games, Wilson has been the team’s best player and has led them to a 5-0 record and top spot in the NFC West. On an individual basis, Wilson ranks second in passing yards (1,502) but first in touchdowns by six (19) over a few guys we’ll talk about later on in this piece. It’s not only the stats that Wilson is putting up, it’s mostly about the “it” factor that he brings to each and every game. Wilson has manufactured game-winning drives in two of the last three games. And if you saw the Monday night game against the Vikings, I would say that only one or two other quarterbacks would be able to drive the team 94 yards, in the rain, with under two minutes left and one time out. At his current price, I would jump on it as after his bye week in Week 6, he faces the Cardinals, Niners, Bills, Rams and Cardinals again. If he can continue to cook and win his team at least three of those games, he’ll be a decent-sized favorite for the latter part of the season.
Aaron Rodgers, Quarterback, Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers took the Packers’ decision to draft quarterback Jordan Love as a sign of disrespect. I understand that the NFL is a business and it’s important to have an heir apparent at the quarterback position and that Love could learn plenty from a guy as gifted as Rodgers. However, Rodgers wanted reinforcements on the offensive side of the ball and never got it. So, what has he done through five games this year? Well, he has yet to throw an interception this season and has 1,214 passing yards under his belt. He ranks tied for second in touchdown passes with 13 and leads the NFL in QBR at 92.6. He’s essentially on an “EFF YOU” tour and has obliterated every defense he’s come up against to date; the Packers are averaging 286 passing yards per game and 38 points per game. With the upcoming schedule (potential shootouts) and the likelihood of the Packers winning the division over the Bears, I could see Aaron Rodgers grabbing his third MVP title at the end of the season.
Patrick Mahomes, Quarterback, Kansas City Chiefs
It’s hard to believe that I mentioned two quarterbacks before I even got the $500-million man and defending Super Bowl champion, Patrick Mahomes. Mahomes has taken the league by storm over the last two seasons, and he’s off to a solid start this year. He ranks third in passing yards with 1,474, second in touchdown passes with 13, second in interceptions with just one, and third in QBR at 86.1. So why is he so far down this list? We’ll because we have been treated to outstanding play after outstanding play over the last two years and he’s only had one or two of those plays through five games this year. We’ve grown accustomed to it and we expect it, but unfortunately, winning games is all that matters to Mahomes and he has his Chiefs sitting at 4-1 and he’s distributing the ball amongst his receivers. He is the team’s MVP, but he’s not done enough (yet) to be on the Wilson/Rodgers’ level this season.
Josh Allen, Quarterback, Buffalo Bills
This paragraph was supposed to be extremely positive and talk about all the things Josh Allen has done well through five games of the season. After last night’s performance, the odds of Allen winning the MVP have plummeted (down from +700), and we don’t see him making up any ground on the guys above. Prior to last night’s debacle, Allen sat T-2 in Interceptions thrown with just one but went on to throw two to push him back to T-9. He did take over second place on his own in touchdown passes with 13 and moved into second in yards thrown with 1,589. It’s not right to blame Allen for the Bills’ performance yesterday given the fact they had to wait around for Tennessee to sort out their COVID issues. But in a league driven by QB play, he certainly got outplayed by Ryan Tannehill, and that’s something that can’t happen when you’re trying to assert yourself as an elite level QB.