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The NFL MVP Race by the Numbers

The NFL MVP is voted upon by the Associated Press, a panel of 50 NFL writers who use the eye test in order to cast their vote. Last season, Tom Brady won his 3rd NFL MVP Award, joining Peyton Manning, Jim Brown, Johnny Unitas, and Brett Favre as the only players in league history to be named NFL MVP three times in their career.

In 2018, we’ve seen more offense than ever before. The NFL is averaging a historic 361.7 yards and scoring 24.1 points per game. That’s 27.6 more yards and 2.4 more points on average than 2017 and amounts to the most offensive season in league History. Much of this has to do with the NFL’s new rules that severely limit what defenses are allowed to do. The implementation of high powered college-style offensive systems is also a huge factor in the spike of production. Defenses have yet to be able to adjust to the new look offenses and misdirection plays, and the stat sheets have been severely inflated because of it.

Players like Patrick Mahomes, Todd Gurley, Saquon Barkley, Adam Thielen, and Drew Brees are each currently in route to break NFL records at their respected positions. But, with so many record-setting type performances, who is having the best season? Who deserves to be named league MVP? And how can you possibly compare one position to another?

Every year towards the end of the NFL season, arguments for who deserves to be crowned the Most Valuable Player are made amongst fans and analysts everywhere. So how does someone win such an arbitrary debate? First, we must determine the actual definition of an MVP to be able to state our case. What is the definition of value? And is it even possible to weigh the value of one player with another? There are so many factors, from different positions, to surrounding talent, to wins and losses- the list goes on and on! Since quarterback is obviously the most crucial position on the field, shouldn’t the award automatically be dealt to the QB who had the best year? Should it be stat based, or do we go by team performance?

The variables are nearly limitless, but Blitzalytics’ MVP Rating has taken a handful of the most important factors that make up a player’s season, along with team success, and integrated these numbers into an evenly weighted metric from position to position to determine a player’s value. This is better explained as “player over team, over league, over average.” A player who’s had a great statistical season but poor team success will be devalued, while a player who has limited surrounding talent and carries his team to a respectable record will be rewarded. All statistical categories are gauged against the league average per position in order to evenly compare a player’s contribution. These factors include, but are not limited to:

- Total yards gained

- Total points scored

- Percentage of total team offense

- Percentage of offensive totals over the league average

- Strength of supporting cast including defense

- True touchdown to turnover ratio

- Games missed; “The best ability is availability”

- Win percentage

Here’s where the analytics rank the league’s top performers of 2018.

1. Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams- 215.91

2. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs- 209.98

3. Kareem Hunt, Kansas City Chiefs- 176.76

4. Alvin Kamara, New Orlean Saints- 176.14

5. Drew Brees, New Orlean Saints- 152.43

To view the entire NFL MVP Metric results click here



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