History, Fun Facts, and the Future of the NFL MVP Award

History, Fun Facts, and the Future of the NFL MVP Award

While NFL teams battle it out for the almighty title of Super Bowl Champions every year, individual players also secretly wage their own fight against each other in order to be crowned the league’s MVP.

The NFL’s MVP, or most valuable player, award is given to a single player each season that has showcased exemplary talent throughout the regular season. For over 60 years now, the Associated Press has given us the league’s MVP, the decision being decided through a vote taken by a group of fifty sportswriters.

NFL betting has never been more popular and while many people will be placing bets on their favorite team or game point spread bets, there is now also NFL MVP betting available. If you think you know who has the best chance to be crowned this year’s MVP, you may be able to cash in big. Bet on an underdog and you could really be sitting pretty if they take out the title at the end of the year.

Let’s take a look at a bit of the history of the NFL MVP award, some of the most recent winners, and which type of players are most likely to take home the award.

Brief History of the NFL MVP

Recognizing an NFL season’s most valuable player dates back to 1937 when it was awarded to Detroit Lion’s very own Flying Dutchman, or Dutch Clark. At that time the MVP award was known as the Gruen Trophy since it was sponsored by the Gruen Watch Company.

The award would go on to be renamed the Joe F. Carr Trophy just a year later and was continually awarded each year until 1946. The 1938 MVP Joe F. Carr Trophy, which was awarded to Mel Hein of the New York Giants, is generally hailed as the first official MVP award of the NFL despite the earlier 1937 Gruen Trophy winner.

There are a number of organizations over the years that have given out the title of an NFL MVP, however, it is the MVP award given out by the Associated Press (issued since 1957) which is considered to be the official and most highly sought after MVP award. Today, the NFL hosts an annual Honors Ceremony to announce the league’s MVP, usually held a day or two before the Super Bowl. The Associated Press also picks an offensive and defensive Player of the Year in addition to the MVP, somewhat as consolation prizes you could say.

Who Wins the MVP

The MVP voting panel made up of 50 sportswriters has overwhelmingly gifted the MVP award to offensive players. There’s no denying offense is where all the action and excitement is and this has led to only 3 non-offensive players winning the MVP over the history of the Associated Press MVP award.

It’s wise to bet on a quarterback to win the MVP since 38 quarterbacks have won the award. If history repeats itself, you stand a greater than 60% chance of picking the MVP winner if you go with a quarterback. Running backs hold the next highest amount of MVP titles.

The Curse of the NFL MVP

While winning the MVP may be a great achievement for individual players, it is said to come with a curse in more recent times. For over 20 years now, the team for which the MVP winner plays for has failed to go on to win the Super Bowl during that season. It has been done before, some 13 times to be exact, but you would have to go back to 1999 when Kurt Warner won the award and his St. Louis Rams won the Super Bowl in the same season.

A number of MVPs in recent years have led their team to Super Bowls, but all have failed to convert a Super Bowl win in the same season including Tom Brady which failed twice. Other teams have their own curse when it comes to producing an MVP. Seven teams including the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have failed to produce a league MVP.

The Buccaneers may now have their best shot with Tom Brady having just joined the team, Brady being the winner of three MVP awards himself. Only Peyton Manning has won more MVP awards, with five wins. Peyton Manning also has an edge against Brady when it comes to their golf games, Manning having a lower handicap and recently pairing up With Tiger Woods to defeat Brady and Phil Mickelson in The Match II  at the beautiful Medalist Golf Club.

Recent NFL MVP Winners

Lamar Jackson of the Baltimore Ravens – 2019

One of only two players to win the MVP by unanimous vote, the other being Tom Brady, Lamar Jackson is the league’s most recent MVP. Lamar Jackson is the league’s second youngest MVP winner and fourth black quarterback to win the award. He has plenty of other trophies in his collection including his college Heisman Trophy.

Jackson had quite the year in 2019, leading the league with 36 touchdown passes and racking up the most rushing yards in a season by a quarterback.


Lamar JAckson: photo by U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Delano Scott / Public domain

Pat Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs – 2018

Pat Mahomes would be one of the safest bets for an NFL MVP. He recently led his Chiefs to a Super Bowl win in the 2019-20 season, their first appearance in over 50 years. This led him to be crowned the Super Bowl MVP. He also took out league MVP in 2018, where he threw for over 5,000 yards and had 50 touchdown passes. Only one other quarterback has achieved this feat, that man being Peyton Manning.

Once an avid baseball player during his younger years, Mahomes decision to focus on the NFL has proven to be a financially wise one. He recently signed one of the richest contracts in sporting history with his 10-year, $477 million contract with the Chiefs. The team no doubt has plenty of confidence in him and barring any serious injuries we could see him add a few more MVP titles to his career in the coming years.


Pat Mahomes: Photo by Jeffrey Beall / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)

Tom Brady of the New England Patriots – 2017

Quite possibly the greatest quarterback to play the game, Tom Brady has won six of nine Super Bowls he has played in. He not only has 3 league MVP awards under his belt, but also a record 4 Super Bowl MVP titles.

Brady leads the league in career passing yards and touchdown passes, along with winning more Super Bowls than any other player in history. Age doesn’t seem to be hurting him much either. He is currently the oldest quarterback to win a Super Bowl and has never had a losing season during his career.

Despite spending 20 years with the Patriots, he has now moved south to Florida to see if he can bring a Super Bowl victory to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. While he may have a lot of competition from far younger quarterbacks in the league, never rule out another league MVP award for one of the NFL’s greatest players.  


Tom Brady: photo by Jeffrey Beall / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)

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Author: Michael Jerrard

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