29 Dec MVP: The Most Valuable Player..Or Is It?
By: Lou Landers
I want to start by saying that it is possible for a player to fall under all three of the categories that seem to be associated with the MVP award. These three categories are not the only way a player is judged, however the ones I’ve listed below seem to be the most widely used when fans and writers formulate their opinions.
1) The most valuable player that season: This is the actual “definition” of the award.
The MVP award should be given out to the player who is most valuable to their team. The question is, what actually defines valuable. Is it a player who helps his team make the playoffs?
Is it a player whose team would be significantly worse without them? Is it both?
Each sport has its own individual criteria for selecting who wins the awards. This of course because each sport is individual, has many different types of talents, positions and schedules.
2) The Best player that season: Seems like in most sports, this player gets the award.
There are a few players who come to mind in this section. Baseball is my favorite sport so I’m going to use it in my example. Let’s look at Angels OF Mike Trout (2016) and Alex Rodriguez back in his Texas Rangers days (2003).
These 2 players were undoubtedly the best players in their respective leagues in 2016 and 2003. They also played for teams who did not come close to qualifying for the playoffs, which begs the question, how are they the most valuable if their teams aren’t competitive?
2016: Mookie Betts, Edwin Encarnacion and David Ortiz all had incredible season in 2016, all were MVP candidates and their teams were in the MLB postseason. Although their overall numbers may not have been equivalent to Trouts, they were comparable and clearly had a major impact on their teams 2016 success.
2003: David Ortiz, Jorge Posada and Manny Ramirez all had amazing seasons in 2003. Their teams went to the playoffs and they actually faced off in one of the more memorable league championship series in recent history (Aaron Boone HR). Was A-Rod a better player than all of them? Yes, 100% he was.
This award is not called “Best Player Of The Year award though”. It’s called “Most Valuable Player”. If the league(s) want to reward THE BEST player, then they need to create an award for it specifically.
3) The most popular player: Like many voting systems, not just sports, it can be a popularity contest.
This NFL season is a perfect example of what I’m talking about with this one. Although the season hasn’t ended yet, most of the playoff spots are now secured and anyone who has been paying attention knows who the top 5-7 NFL MVP candidates are.
The “popular vote” seems to be for either Dak Prescott or Zeke Elliot of the Dallas Cowboys. Have they had great seasons? Absolutely, the Cowboys are 13-2 heading into week 17 and have locked down the #1 seed in the NFC. The Cowboys are still known as “Americas Team” which of course makes anyone on their team a popular vote.
Personally, even as a Cowboys fan, I think the award this year should go to Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Derek Carr or Matt Ryan. All of these players have been not only the best players on their respective teams, but also the most valuable to their teams. Of this list, only Rodgers team (GB) still has not secured a playoff spot. It is worth noting that I expect them to beat the Lions this weekend on Sunday Night Football, a victory that would not only clinch them a playoff birth, but also the NFC North division.
Not to say that players like Brady and Rodgers aren’t incredibly popular, I’m just pointing out that in comparison to 2 up and coming stars on “Americas Team”, they may be at slight dis advantage in the popularity contest.
What do you think the MVP should be based on? One, two, three or none of these things? Follow me on Facebook (Lou Landers- The SporfsCrew) or @Realsportscrew on Twitter and Instagram.