Watt could be first defensive player since 2008 to get an MVP vote

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Texans defensive end J.J. Watt probably won’t win the Most Valuable Player award. But if he even gets a vote, he’ll be doing something rare for a defensive player.

The league MVP award is voted upon by 50 members of the media, chosen by the Associated Press. And those 50 members of the media almost never vote for a defensive player.

In fact, no defensive player has received even one MVP vote since 2008, when James Harrison of the Steelers got three votes. Here’s how the MVP votes have broken down this century, with the AP sometimes having fewer than 50 voters and some voters occasionally splitting their votes between two candidates:

2013: Peyton Manning 49, Tom Brady 1
2012: Adrian Peterson 30.5, Peyton Manning 19.5
2011: Aaron Rodgers 48, Drew Brees 2
2010: Tom Brady 50
2009: Peyton Manning 39.5, Drew Brees 7.5, Philip Rivers 2, Brett Favre 1
2008: Peyton Manning, 32, Chad Pennington 4, Michael Turner 4, Adrian Peterson 3, James Harrison 3, Philip Rivers 2, Chris Johnson 1, Kurt Warner 1
2007: Tom Brady 49, Brett Favre 1
2006: LaDainain Tomlinson 44, Drew Brees 4, Peyton Manning 2
2005: Shaun Alexander 19, Peyton Manning 13, Tom Brady 10, Tiki Barber 6, Carson Palmer 2
2004: Peyton Manning 47, Michael Vick 1
2003: Peyton Manning 16, Steve McNair 16, Tom Brady 8, Jamal Lewis 5, Priest Holmes 3, Ray Lewis 2
2002: Rich Gannon 19, Brett Favre 15, Steve McNair 11, Priest Holmes 1, Derrick Brooks 1, Michael Vick 1
2001: Kurt Warner 21.5, Marshall Faulk 17.5 votes, Brett Favre 5, Kordell Stewart 4, Brian Urlacher 2
2000: Marshall Faulk 24, Donovan McNabb 11, Eddie George 8, Rich Gannon 5, Peyton Manning 1, Ray Lewis 1

As you can see, it’s virtually impossible for a defensive player to win the MVP award, or even to come close: Only Harrison, Ray Lewis, Derrick Brooks and Brian Urlacher have received any votes at all, and they were distant also-rans.

If Watt gets four MVP votes this year, he’ll have the most of any defensive player in the 21st century. That’s a major accomplishment. Just not an accomplishment that comes with a trophy he can put on his mantle.

62 responses to “Watt could be first defensive player since 2008 to get an MVP vote

  1. It’s ridiculous that the best QB in this era never got a single vote. I guess multiple SB trophies will have to do for Big Ben. Easily the most underrated player in nfl history.

  2. JJ Watt is the best defensive player in football at this present time. With that said , if you took him off the team where would they be? There already out of the playoffs so they would be in the cellar. Take Rogers , Brady , Manning , Pittsburghs Bell , Brown or Ben off of any one of these respective teams and they probably in all likelehood dont make playoffs……Just saying

  3. Just shows that just like the Heisman, this is pretty much a favorite QB award and not truly an MVP award.

  4. touchdownelvis says: Dec 27, 2014 11:28 AM

    How anyone voted Favre over Brady in 2007, I’ll never know.

    Also, how anyone voted Brady over Manning last year, I’ll never know.
    —————————-

    Step 1. believe the other QB was in a much tougher situation.

    Step 2. somehow convince yourself this difference was enough to ignore an all time record shattering performance.

    Step 3. (optional) come to your senses in later years and feel stupid.

  5. Favre only got one vote in 2009!? 40 year old qb on a new team that has the best season of his life and goes to the SB (and probably wins) if not for AP’s fumbles. The opposing team is literally trying to end his career, the star running back has multiple fumbles and Favre still gets them in a position to win before the coach blows it with 12 men. Everyone focuses on that last pick but he should have never even been in that situation.

  6. This award is a joke. They have best offensive and QB awards for a reason. The fact the media thinks MVP should always be a QB is a disgrace. Do away with this award since it only goes to QBs and the league is making it a QB friendly league with the lack of injuries and increase in fines and flags for breathing on a QB. You also cannot play any defense anymore so the QB gets free looks at easy completions to pad stats. The game had turned into a joke.

  7. I hope Watt gets enough votes so that he is the top vote getting defender this century. That would be a nice cap on a fantastic season.

    Unfortunately, MVP is not “Player of the Year”. It’s for the player who was most valuable to his team. The way the game is structured today, it is virtually impossible for a defensive player to add more actual value than a QB.

    Say Watt is a three game swing for Houston. That makes them 5-10 and in the exact same position they are in now.

    Want to take a guess what Green Bay’s record would be without Rodgers? Or what Denver’s record would be without Manning?

    Both of those teams would most likely have losing records and be far out of the playoff hunt.

    So, by definition, they are “more valuable” than Watt.

  8. Favre only got one vote in 2009!? 40 year old qb on a new team that has the best season of his life and goes to the SB (and probably wins) if not for AP’s fumbles. The opposing team is literally trying to end his career, the star running back has multiple fumbles and Favre still gets them in a position to win before the coach blows it with 12 men. Everyone focuses on that last pick but he should have never even been in that situation.

    ________________________________

    You kinda glossed over that whole interception to Tracy Porter thing, though, didn’t you?

  9. I am a Texan fan, and I would trade Watt for Rodgers today. Not because he is a greater player, but because the league is set up to where you cannot win unless you have an elite qb. Believe me, we know. Smh.

    Signed,
    HTOWN

  10. Watt easily deserves the MVP. How often do you see NFL teams resort to triple-teaming a player? Watch the all-22 and you see it every game.

    Ask the guys at ProFootballFocus. They actually watch and grade every play of every game… with multiple people. He has 18 QB sacks, 43 QB hits, 49 QB hurries, and 10 batted passes.

    Watt’s 2014 cumulative grade is already a new record +101.0 with one game to go. Aaron Rodger’s grade is +37.5, well short of Peyton’s prior two years grades.

    JJ Watt affects EVERY single play that he is on the field — defense or offense. He has to be accounted for with an extra blocker or two or three or four(Colts), or a play call adjustment. Watt is the best back side player you’ve ever seen… leave him unblocked and he’ll flash across 3 linemen to get the TFL. His motor runs high and he plays past the whistle on every single down.

    QBs typically hand the ball to a RB on half of their snaps.

    If there was ever a time a defensive player deserves the MVP, it is now. Nobody out works him. Nobody out-prepares him.

    Look at the Texan’s roster… who else is on that defense? And they’re still in the hunt for the playoffs even though they’re on their 4th QB. Most valuable? No doubt.

  11. If Ray Lewis was never MVP while carrying his team to championships and leading one of the best defenses in NFL history, J.J. Watt sure as hell shouldn’t be. I watched the Texans last week and Jared Crick was more impressive than Watt. He’s a great player, but if you’re going to win MVP as a defensive player you have to be more imposing than Ray Lewis… doubt we’ll ever see anyone like that.

  12. JJ Watt should be the MVP with Rodgers as a close #2.

    We’ve seen QBs have outstanding statistical seasons over the past few years, and no QB this year has come close to those dominant numbers.

    The only consistent player over all 16 weeks was JJ Watt. Rodgers, Manning, and Brady all struggled over extended periods of the season.

  13. The award is Most VALUABLE Player.

    How much value (wins) does Watt bring to the table?

    All Watt does is absorb so much salary cap space that they will have to ask Andre Johnson to take a pay cut.

  14. Rodgers is a media darling, that is the ONLY reason he’s inevitably going to get the mvp. Ben Roethlisberger is having the best year of any qb in the league. This is not an opinion, and the stats are not what matters, even though Ben is right up at the top of the list of every passing category. What ben does in terms of keeping plays alive, calling his own plays, and putting his players in a position to be successful absolutely dwarfs what even Brady and Rodgers have done this year.

    I’m not saying ben is better than Brady, he’s just more valuable this season. All arguments to the contrary are wrong.

  15. p8riotdynastylives says:
    Dec 27, 2014 11:28 AM
    JJ Watt is the best defensive player in football at this present time. With that said , if you took him off the team where would they be? There already out of the playoffs so they would be in the cellar. Take Rogers , Brady , Manning , Pittsburghs Bell , Brown or Ben off of any one of these respective teams and they probably in all likelehood dont make playoffs……Just saying
    ~~~~~
    Bogus argument. Put a halfway decent QB on Watt’s team and they make the playoffs. Take Watt away and they don’t. JJ Watt is the most dominant player in the NFL and impacts the game several ways. Teams game plan specifically for Watt and it has not mattered. The only reason he won’t win is because sports writers worship offensive football fantasy stats… and some are just homers/haters (look at the single votes in a couple dominant years) They should have coaches/3 coordinators vote for this and pro-bowl (nobody else)

  16. It is a popularity contest ex. Big Ben. Has better stats then Brady across the board this yr but not one talking head in the media mentions his name for MVP yet Brady is everyone’s number 2.

  17. Watt is a great player, but he can’t really be put into the “Valuble” category if his team is not making the playoffs and might finish at .500.

  18. To start your team you get the choice of a crap QB and a great DL OR you get a great QB and a crap DL.

    If anyone chooses the former, just stop watching football as you are too clueless. This is why a Defensive Player will never again win an MVP. Nor should they. As someone said here, this is not Player of the Year … this is MVP and 99% of the time that s just gonna be the QB and for good reason.

  19. Hey, I would vote for Watt as the MVP.

    Only Watt and Brady have shown how important they are to their teams and to the NFL this season.

    All others are mere pretenders.

  20. It’s hard for 1 defensive player to become an MVP in this day of offensive prowess. How many wins did Watt account for to be most valuable for a team not making the playoffs? DPOY for sure but I can see votes.

  21. doctorrustbelt says:
    Dec 27, 2014 11:32 AM
    2014 Houston Texans = 21st ranked Defense in the NFL
    —————————————————————–
    Texans are 6th in points allowed,

    And 1st in turnovers forced/takeaways.

    I don’t know how you guys keep score in the “rustbelt”, but points and turnovers are at the top of the list in the rest of the league.

  22. Kordell Stewart actually had some MVP votes…Wow
    _________________________________

    Kordell Stewart, aka Slash, was a man ahead of his time playing for a coach who didn’t know what to do with him. Kordell paved the way for Cam Newton, RGIII, kaepernick, etc.

    He actually had 2 or 3 really good seasons before Cowher destroyed him and tried to make him a pocket passer!

  23. Tampa Tribune writer and voter, Ira Kaufman, told Chris Russo last week that he is voting for Watt, so I expect Watt to get at least 1 vote. Personally, I think that’s nuts.

  24. J.J. Watt is setup for success. a Texan Publicity stunt…TDs on offense.. 93rd in tackles. 2nd in sacks and all he does is rush the passer.. look at the J. Hill uncontested run up the middle for a TD when the Texans played the Bengals… Where is JJ ? getting his jock handed to him at the far end of the formation

  25. LT got 31 TD’s plus 2 passing TD’s (not receiving TD’s, but actual “passing” TD’s, as in he threw them) in 2006, 1,850 rushing yards… And didn’t get all 50 votes…?

  26. They should vote the way they do for the Heisman i.e. 10 points for 1st, 9 pts. for 2nd, etc. That way it would reflext more accurate value when the results are close. For example, if this year Watt finishes with 5 first place votes but 45 second place votes while Rodgers/Brady/DeMarco/Romo each split 1st, 3rd, and 4th votes the results would reward Watt for that type of a performance.

  27. As a side note to all this debate, I cringe to think what the Pats record would be this season if Gronk did not get healthy.

  28. JJ Watt is a great player but he is a media darling. That much is easy to see, the fact that he can be on such a bad defense on such a mediocre team and still get MVP vote’s is ludicrous.

  29. @cheddarisbeddar

    I’m a Jets fan who watched Pennington so hear me out

    Pennington is #2 all time in completion percentage trailing Drew Brees by .2. He was a franchise QB even with his waining arm strength from shoulder injuries but could not stay healthy no matter what he did and if his shoulder held up the Jets would of won those super bowls in 2009 and 2010. It’s a shame, really.

  30. After Aaron Rodgers dismantles the vaunted Detroits number two defense for a huge win he will stamp his name on the MVP trophy and deservedly so. Watt is a great defensive player but its always the offensive catalyst that always recieves it because they put winning points on the board.

  31. pkrlvr says:

    Favre only got one vote in 2009!? 40 year old qb on a new team that has the best season of his life and goes to the SB (and probably wins) if not for AP’s fumbles. The opposing team is literally trying to end his career, the star running back has multiple fumbles and Favre still gets them in a position to win before the coach blows it with 12 men. Everyone focuses on that last pick but he should have never even been in that situation.
    ========================================

    The Super Bowl was irrelevant. The MVP was picked before then.

  32. The 21st ranked defence arguement is garbage. That is based purely on yardage. Points allowed 8th takeaways 1st. Without the Texans D they ard 2 and14 again. And JJ is so much better than any other player on the field defensively right now its embarrassingly noticable. Look is he gonna win it “no”, should he “yes”. It’ll go to another video game QB that has done the same old thing that we have seen every year for the past 10 years instead of something that has never been done.

  33. The Patriots player who should get MVP consideration is Gronkowski not Brady, Gronkowski makes that offense go, when he’s out or not at 100% then all of a sudden “Brady has no one to work with” but as soon as Gronkowski comes back and is 100% changing the game then all of a sudden “Brady makes everyone around him better.”

  34. We ought to just name the state of Wisconsin as MVP!! Rodgers plays there, Wilson played there, and Watt & Romo are from there!! At least we have Prince in MN!!

  35. if houston makes the playoffs, I would see some votes for sure

    if they don’t, its ridiculous to toss him a vote. MVP needs to be on a playoff team. its a regular season award, but the point is you remove that player and the team is not the same

    texans are still out of the playoffs with or without Watt IF they fall short this weekend. otherwise, sure, he needs to be considered.

  36. Maybe if they hadn’t turned so much of his season into an MVP pandering joke.

    I’m sure his teammates on offense loved giving up their snaps for TDs just so the team could get some more media coverage.

  37. Chad Pennington got votes once? Damn.

    I don’t understand how some people can say he’s not even in the conversation. How much more would he have to do to make you happy?

    I would vote for Luck because, let’s face it, that team would be hot garbage without him. But Watt is at least worthy of consideration.

  38. Yeah barely making the playoffs in a division that has teams like the Titans and the Jaguars to help you get 4 easy wins. Watt is Defensive Player of the Year but not MVP. Rodgers is the front runner and Big Ben, Brady and Romo should get some votes as well.

  39. Stopping JJ Watt is part of every teams game plan (MVP worthy).. He’s about to be the first in NFL history to have 2 20+ sack seasons. He has done things that haven’t been done since the 1940’s. It’s not just a coincidence that the Texans lead the NFL in takeaways (by 4..), the man strip sacked a qb then lined up as a TE 2 plays later and caught a td pass… MVP worthy? Most definitely.

  40. MVP means MVP. Yes, the way the game has changed makes a quarterback the most valuable player pretty much every year. Put Rodgers or Manning on pretty much any team and they automatically make that team a contender. The same can’t be said of Watt or any other non-qb. So, if you don’t like it, get over it. Perhaps the Offensive and Defensive POY awards are more to you liking.

  41. I like Watt and all, but he just isn’t the MVP.

    It is somewhat sad, but true that if you remove the Defensive guy from the team, the resulting team record is not likely to be changed all that much. But if you remove a team’s QB, it is a very different story.

    Having said that, it is still surprising to see the numbers. Of the 696 votes over 14 years listed above, just 9 votes were for defensive players. That is just under 1.3%, or about 1.5 votes every TWO years.

    Let me put it another way: Donovan McNabb has more MVP votes over this span that all defensive players combined.

  42. According to the media and everyone’s definition of MVP, it should go to Matt Stafford or Flacco if the Ravens make the playoffs. Actually it should go to Matt Ryan, since the Falcons will probably beat the Panthers and make the playoffs. Or perhaps it should be Palmer since he was the QB on the team with the best record in the league for most of the season.

    That’s how ridiculous and apathetic voting for this is.

  43. I’ll even add this – if Watt finishes the year with 20 sacks he’ll be the first player in NFL history to have multiple seasons with 20 or more sacks, which will add even more to his resume.

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