Talk of Fame Network
The NFL has crowned 60 MVPs since the inception of the award in 1957.
Quarterbacks have been the overwhelming choice, winning the honor 40 times. It’s been a roll call of the game’s greats at the position: Unitas, Montana, Elway, Favre, Brady and Manning… Running backs have copped the honor 17 times, again, with an honor roll of greatness: Jim Brown, Walter Payton, Emmitt Smith, Barry Sanders…
Only two defensive players have managed to wrest the honor away from the offense — defensive tackle Alan Page in 1971 and linebacker Lawrence Taylor in 1986. Only one special-teamer has ever claimed the award, Washington placekicker Mark Moseley in 1982. On two occasions the honor has been shared. In 1997, Favre and Sanders split the award and in 2003, it was Manning and fellow quarterback Steve McNair.
Quarterbacks have won the award in seven of the last eight years. Is it time for another? In this week’s Talk of Fame Network poll, we pose that question to our listeners and readers — Who’s the NFL MVP?
We offer up six candidates, including four quarterbacks. We also include a running back and a pass rusher on the ballot. So who will it be?
(Courtesy of the New England Patriots)
Tom Brady, QB, New England.
Brady is the perennial candidate. You can put him on this slate every year, and he’d be a worthy selection. He’s presided over one of the NFL’s longest running dynasties. The Patriots have won 12 AFC East titles since 2001, six AFC championships and four Super Bowls. Brady has gone to 11 Pro Bowls in those 14 seasons and won two NFL passing titles. But he’s only been the MVP twice. This season Brady has passed for more yards (4,636) and more touchdowns (36) than any other quarterback, powering the Patriots to a 12-3 record and a 13th AFC East crown.
(Courtesy of Eric Bakke/Denver Broncos)
Von Miller, OLB, Denver.
Miller earned his way onto this ballot by winning last week’s poll as the NFL’s Defensive MVP. He’s the best player on the NFL’s best defense. The Broncos lead the league in both defense and pass defense and rank second in run defense. Denver also leads the NFL with 49 sacks, ranks fourth in scoring defense (18.4 points per game) and fifth with 26 takeaways. Miller leads the Broncos with 10 sacks, forcing four fumbles and recovering three others. Denver heads into the final weekend 11-4 and atop the AFC West.
(Courtesy of the Carolina Panthers)
Cam Newton, QB, Carolina.
In a league that completes on average 63.1 percent of his passes, Newton is only a 58.6 percent passer. Fifteen quarterbacks have passed for more yardage than Newton this season and seven have higher passer-efficiency ratings. But you can’t judge Newton on statistics. You judge him on his ability to lead a team and deliver victories with his arm and legs. He lost his best wide receiver in training camp when Kelvin Benjmin went down with a knee injury. Newton has still thrown for 3,544 yards and 33 touchdowns and was the driving force in Carolina’s 14-0 start. He has passed for 300 yards three times and rushed for 100 yards once. He has had three five-touchdown games passing and has rushed for eight scores.
(Courtesy of the Arizona Cardinals)
Carson Palmer, QB, Arizona.
Palmer resurrected his career in Arizona under the direction of Bruce Arians, and the NFC West-champion Cardinals have emerged as one of the teams to beat in the NFC with a 13-2 record. Palmer is right behind Brady statistically with career-highs of 4,542 passing yards and 34 touchdowns. His 106.8 passer efficiency rating is another career high. Palmer passed for 421 yards in a game against Pittsburgh, 374 against Cleveland , 363 against Seattle and 356 against St. Louis. His nine 300-yard games are a league runnerup. He has had four-touchdown games against Chicago, Cincinnati and Cleveland.
(Courtesy of the Minnesota Vikings)
Adrian Peterson, HB, Minnesota.
Peterson leads the league with 1,418 yards and heads into the final weekend with a 64-yard lead on Doug Martin in his quest for a third NFL rushing title. This after sitting out the 2014 season under NFL suspension amid child abuse allegations. He accepted a plea bargain on the charges in November and was reinstated by the league in February. The year layoff didn’t set him back at all. Peterson rushed for 134 yards in his second game of the season and has topped 100 yards six times since then. He even slapped a 203-yard game on the Oakland Raiders. Peterson has scored 10 touchdowns, including runs of 80, 48, 43 and 35 yards. The Vikings are 10-5 and play Green Bay in the finale for the NFC North title.
(Courtesy of the Seattle Seahawks)
Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle.
The Seahawks are the defending NFC champions, but this season has been a real challenge for Wilson. The Legion of Boom defense didn’t play like it all season, and Seattle’s Pro Bowl running back Marshawn Lynch has been minimized by injuries, sitting out seven games. That put more of the burden on Wilson to carry the Seahawks, and he’s done just that. He is one of only four NFL quarterbacks to throw a TD pass in every game this season, joining Brady, Blake Bortles and Kirk Cousins. He threw five TD passes against both Pittsburgh and Baltimore and had a stretch of 167 passes without an interception from mid-November through the Christmas holiday. He also ranks second among NFL quarterbacks in rushing (behind Newton) with 541 yards and a touchdown for the 9-6 Seahawks.