Over the course of the past week, there has been a lot of talk about the NFL MVP and Coach of the Years Awards. In Boston, this has been a hot topic as Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are strong candidates for awards. There are many fans who believe that Brady and Belichick should win every year. This year, they are both certainly strong candidates. The Patriots had the best record in the NFL at 14-2. Naturally, their coach and best player deserve consideration. With that said, these awards have really lost their meaning in recent years which will be the subject of today’s post.
Here are the last nine NFL MVP’s.
2007 – Tom Brady
2008 – Peyton Manning
2009 – Peyton Manning
2010 – Tom Brady
2011 – Aaron Rodgers
2012 – Adrian Peterson
2013 – Peyton Manning
2014 – Aaron Rodgers
2015 – Cam Newton
There has been one time in the past nine years that a player other than a quarterback has won the NFL MVP. With Matt Ryan, Aaron Rodgers, and Brady as the top candidates this year, it will make nine out of ten. Granted, the QB position is the most important position in the game. However, it’s hard to believe that there has only been one time in a decade that a player other than the guy throwing the ball has been the Most Valuable Player in the league. Is this is MVP Award or the Top QB Award? This award has really lost it’s meaning. If you don’t throw the ball, you’re not a candidate to be the Most Valuable Player in the NFL anymore. It gives a perception that one position is bigger than the team. Perhaps that what the league wants, but it shows that the team approach is fading as the quarterbacks have become the focus.
This is now a popularity contest.
What does Most Valuable Player really mean? Take a look at baseball for example. Mike Trout won the award this past year. His team finished in fourth place. How valuable are you when you’re the best player on one of the worst teams in baseball? The Angels underachieved as a team. Mike Trout meant more the Angels than Mookie Betts meant for the first place Red Sox?
As for the Coach of the Year, this award has the opposite effect as the MVP. This award is no longer about who did the best coaching job. It’s about which team exceeded expectations the most. For that reason, Bill Belichick doesn’t win this award year after year. Why? Well, because of his greatness as a coach and the team’s he puts together, the expectations are always very high. When you win 12+ games every season, it’s very difficult to exceed expectations. Instead the award goes to the coach of the team who was the biggest surprise. This year it will be Jason Garrett. Does anyone really think that Garrett was the best coach in the league this year? Think he would have gone 3-1 with the Patriots roster in the first four weeks? Doubt it. Bill Belichick took a defense that was mediocre personnel-wise to the best scoring defense in the NFL. He’s the best coach in the league…but he won’t win Coach of the Year.
Again, the same is true in MLB. The award is given to the manager of the team that had the greatest improvement over the previous season. The Red Sox finished in last place in 2015 and then won the division last year. John Farrell received votes for Manager of the Year. Yes, John Farrell. The same guy who’s job was reportedly on the line the entire season. The same guy who mismanaged the bullpen all season and cost the Sox home field advantage in the playoffs. Did anyone really think that John Farrell was the best manager in the American League last year? There was no one better?
With each passing year, these awards mean less and less. They have lost their meaning. We’ll still continue to debate these awards, but the reality is that the right people aren’t always winning them and it’s because the awards are no longer about who is the best and most valuable.