NFL

NFL MVP’s Who Won’t Win MVP

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The NFL’s Most Valuable Player Award race is essentially a two-horse race between frontrunner, Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton and legendary New England Patriots QB Tom Brady, with Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer having an outside shot at the award.

We’re going to look at some players who have had MVP caliber seasons, but won’t win the award.

Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers

“AB” is simply an outstanding football player, despite his size.  He’s a dominant receiver who can win against any coverage, runs precise routes and can win jump balls despite standing just 5-foot-10 and weighing 181 pounds.  Brown is having another monster season as he’s caught 100 passes, for 1,397 yards and seven touchdowns.  The Pro Bowler from Central Michigan has been excellent this season despite playing a good portion of the season without Ben Roethlisberger.

Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots

As great as quarterback Tom Brady is, Gronk is the most dangerous weapon on the Pats offense.  You can make a case for a few different players being the best at most positions, but the conversation of the best tight end begins and ends with Gronkowski.  Not only is Gronk an impossible matchup for any linebacker, cornerback or safety, but he’s also a dominant blocker.  The two games the Patriots lost were the only two that Gronk did not finish, and their offense is extremely ordinary without him, even with the great Brady.

Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings

The outspoken Adrian Peterson is having an unbelievable season and he single-handedly has the Vikings in playoff position.  Peterson leads the NFL in rushing with 1,251 yards, averaging 4.7 yards per carry with nine rushing touchdowns, more than anyone else in the league.  The Vikings are winning without any semblance of an explosive passing offense, and everything they do is based on Peterson’s legs, and every opponent knows it and can’t stop it.

Josh Norman, CB, Carolina Panthers

Cam Newton may be the heart and soul of the Panthers, but Josh Norman is the best cornerback in the NFL.  Norman has taken his game to a new level this year as he had four interceptions in the first four games of the season before teams stopped throwing at him.  The most impressive statistic about Norman is how he’s performed against the elite wide receivers this season.  Allen Robinson, DeAndre Hopkins, Mike Evans, T.Y. Hilton, Dez Bryant and Julio Jones combined to catch eight passes for 92 yards when lined up against Norman.

Andy Dalton, QB, Cincinnati Bengals

Before injuring his thumb against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the “Red Rocket” was having a sensational season.  Dalton graduated from game manager to playmaker as he engineered one of the best offenses in football.  He completed a career high 66.1 percent of his passes, for 3,250 yards with 25 touchdowns and just seven interceptions.  If you count the three touchdowns Dalton ran in he had a 4:1 touchdown to interception ratio.  His quarterback rating of 106.3 was a career best by nearly 20 points.  Hopefully Dalton can come back for the playoffs because if he can’t, this fantastic season will have been wasted.


About Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein is the managing football editor for Football Insiders and has covered the NFL for over a decade.  Charlie has hosted drive time radio for NBC and ESPN affiliates in different markets around the country, along with being an NFL correspondent for ESPN Radio and WFAN.  He has been featured on the NFL Network as well as Sirius/XM NFL Radio and has been published on Fox Sports, Sports Illustrated, ESPN as well as numerous other publications.