Super Bowl MVP voting starts before the game ends

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Julian Edelman had a big game on Sunday and was named the Super Bowl LIII Most Valuable Player, but some have raised questions about why an offensive player got the award after the lowest-scoring Super Bowl ever. Those voices included Jaguars defensive end Calais Campbell, who wrote on Twitter that awarding the MVP to an offensive player showed “no respect” for the Patriots’ defense.

But before blaming the voters for any lack of respect for defense, it’s important to understand that the NFL makes it hard on Super Bowl MVP voters by not giving them time to reflect on the game and look at their notes before submitting their votes. In fact, the voting starts before the game is even over.

Super Bowl MVP voting is determined by 16 members of the media who are at the game, and by fans voting on SuperBowl.com. The fan voting, which counts for 20 percent of the vote total, begins at the start of the fourth quarter and ends just as the game is ending, which means many, possibly most, of the votes were cast while Sunday’s game was still a 3-3 tie. Allowing votes that early in the game is a great way to get fans to just vote for the most recognizable name who’s putting up good stats, and for most of Sunday’s game, that was Edelman.

The media voting, which counts for 80 percent of the total, also begins before the game is over: NFL employees go around the press box asking the voters who they’re going to pick while the game is still going on. The voters are allowed to change their minds if something significant happens in the final minutes, but the reality is those media voters are busily working on their primary jobs, which is covering the game for the outlets they work for, and if a game-changing play happens in the final minutes, they’re more focused on writing their game stories than reconsidering their MVP votes.

PFT reached out to the league office to ask why the NFL doesn’t wait until a few minutes after the game to collect the votes. We were told that the reason the fan vote opens early in the fourth quarter is so that voting can be promoted on the TV broadcast, informing fans that they can vote and providing time to consider who they would like to vote for. The league also said that while media voters are asked to vote with about five minutes left in the fourth quarter, they can wait until the game ends to turn in their votes, and some voters who vote late in close games give two names, one from each team, with instructions that the MVP vote should go to the player on the winning team.

What would make more sense is to open the voting after the game. Fans could be given 15 minutes to vote online as soon as the game ends, with votes counted instantly, and the media voters could turn in their ballots after having a few minutes to check their notes. It only takes a minute or two to count 16 ballots, and on Sunday night Jim Nantz didn’t call Edelman up to the stage to be recognized as the MVP until 26 minutes after the game ended, so there’s really no reason to rush the voters.

Perhaps with some more time to reflect, voters would have chosen an MVP from the Patriots’ defense, like Stephon Gilmore or Dont'a Hightower. At the very least, the Super Bowl MVP — one of the signature awards in the sport of football — would be awarded based on a more thoughtful process.

36 responses to “Super Bowl MVP voting starts before the game ends

  1. Gilmore came up big. Love Edelman and object to him getting it, but Gilmore could have gotten it and I don’t think anyone would have objected.

  2. What, the Great Julian Edelman doesn’t fit your mold? Why not? Great game and a great human being!

  3. the defence played amazing, lights out
    but there was only one player that stood out from the rest
    it was Edelman
    his selection was only right
    his performance, clutch catches, crisp route running, etc
    led to his selection
    this is a no brainer for those that know the game and how it is played

  4. Defense? Defense? That was what everyone was whining about after the game. The fact that there was actually some defense played.Millennials don’t want any defense. Nobody punts in Madden…

  5. If you go back and watch the film of the game, Edelman almost single handedly won the super bowl for the Patriots. He was far and away the most valuable player. It’s not easy to get wide open on every play, especially when the defense knows what you’re trying to do. You have to be quicker than a cat, and smarter than everybody. This one was a no brainer.

  6. Osi Omeniyora, former Giants defender, is one of the voters and even he gave it to Edelman. He gave honorable mentions to the D as a whole. If you had to pick one guy it’s Edelman who almost singlehandedly kept drives alive (8 of his 10 big receptions were clutch stick-movers).

  7. Gilmore was a very good corner when he joined the Patriots. Now he is elite and one of the best in the game. Amazing to see!

  8. charliecharger says:
    February 5, 2019 at 1:26 pm
    If you go back and watch the film of the game, Edelman almost single handedly won the super bowl for the Patriots. He was far and away the most valuable player. It’s not easy to get wide open on every play, especially when the defense knows what you’re trying to do. You have to be quicker than a cat, and smarter than everybody. This one was a no brainer.

    ———
    Edelman was the only guy that could get open.

    I suspect if the Patriots still had Gordon, it would have been much easier for everyone else on offense.

  9. Edelman should have been suspended for the year.

    Hey Kids! Take PED’s and you too can be the MVP of the Super Bowl!

  10. That was NOT a great DEFENSIVE GAME – I’ve seen some and respect that play, but this was about an offense (rams) that did not change a lick and it was about poor play calling and poor offensive execution. There were Rams that couldn’t catch easy balls that no defender had any impact.

    Mediocrity in overall offensive execution does not make it a defensive battle. It was incompetence at the maximum except for one drive that went out of the norm for the Patriots. And that proves my point precisely. The same defense that was supposedly stifling the Patriots suddenly disappeared. To wit, the defensive greatness was a mirage.

  11. The MVP has always been an offensive award , regular season and SuperBowl. Unless a defensive player plays out of his mind then they give it to a QB,RB or WR. Gillmore & Hightower were nice but they needed a TD return to have a chance at some hardware.

  12. Carroll Prescott says:
    February 5, 2019 at 1:42 pm
    ____________________________________

    Belichick saw no reason to expose Brady to the rush and /or risk of turnovers as Pats were ahead until 4th quarter. He just shortened the game by running and keeping the clock going until the Rams showed any signs of scoring. When the game was tied he opened it up.They scored on 2 straight drives. That is what sets Belichick apart from all the other coaches. He coaches based on the opponent, and the gameflow. Others just do what they do and if it doesn’t work they are SOL.

  13. Edelman had a big game. But if you want to give it to anyone else, then it should go to Matthew Slater.

  14. Great message they’re sending to award the one guy on the team who violated the league’s use of Performance Enhancing drugs. Nice job!

  15. Personally, I don’t think either the fans or the sports writers should be voting for the MVP; especially the fans. The reality is, voting for an MVP adds little to the truly knowledgeable fan’s experience. If you are not a ‘football’ knowledgeable fan, who can see beyond a stat line or jersey #, you shouldn’t be voting anyway. The vast majority of fans who are actually qualified to make such a judgment, are too involved in the game to bother logging into nfl.com to vote during the game – and would no better than to vote too early anyway.

    I also agree with Florio that writers and announcers are too involved in their own jobs, to truly make a fair and timely decision. How vested can they truly be, in making sure that the absolute best candidate gets the award over another candidate who also had a good game?

    And oftentimes, the best choice is actually more than one MVP. The ballot box system and online voting, limits the opportunity to have more than one MVP, in situations where more than one MVP is appropriate.

    The solution: have the Hall of Fame inductees, who are chosen the night before the Super Bowl, and who are already at the Super Bowl with no other responsibilities other than celebrating the greatness of the sport, sit together and choose the MVP/s at a roundtable discussion following the game, a discussion that can start amongst them before the game is over, and then fine-tuned at the conclusion of the game. They can then immediately communicate to the NFL their collected choice for MVP/s in plenty of time for the presentation.

    This would not only be an efficient way to choose an MVP by qualified voters who have a vested interest in making sure that the best MVP candidates get their proper recognition (as they more than anyone understand how fair recognition can one day help a player with their own HOF candidacy), but it would also be a great way to reward and show respect for the current Hall of Fame class.

  16. The solution: have the Hall of Fame inductees, who are chosen the night before the Super Bowl, and who are already at the Super Bowl with no other responsibilities other than celebrating the greatness of the sport, sit together and choose the MVP/s at a roundtable discussion following the game, a discussion that can start amongst them before the game is over, and then fine-tuned at the conclusion of the game. They can then immediately communicate to the NFL their collected choice for MVP/s in plenty of time for the presentation.

    This would not only be an efficient way to choose an MVP by qualified voters who have a vested interest in making sure that the best MVP candidates get their proper recognition (as they more than anyone understand how fair recognition can one day help a player with their own HOF candidacy), but it would also be a great way to reward and show respect for the current Hall of Fame class.

  17. Edelman should have been suspended for the year.
    Hey Kids! Take PED’s and you too can be the MVP of the Super Bowl!
    ————————
    Whatever he took was during the off-season trying to help the recovery from a very serious injury, NOT during the season trying to gain the competitive advantage. Not the same in my book.

  18. Let’s be honest, if you didn’t name Edelman as the MVP, you would have had to make the Pat’s punter the actual MVP. In a game that became a punting exhibition, the Pat’s punter dropped at least three of them inside the 10. Now that would have made history!

  19. My choice in SB 53, would have been both Edleman and Gilmore. No reason to have to choose one. Edleman had just as much to do with the defenses success as the defense did, as he kept drives alive with great 1st down catches, allowing the defense to both rest and play from good field position.

    Hightower was also a good choice, but as great as he was, Van Noy and the D-Line were just as impactful. Gilmore’s performance though, separated him from every other defensive back on the field.

  20. When you consider some of the guys that players vote to the Pro Bowl they may not be the best to vote on MVP either. Maybe just recognize what an ultimate team game football is and don’t have a MVP. Or, given today’s mindset, perhaps there should be individual awards given to all participants along w/ healthy snacks after the game

  21. Listen to the insecure Patriots’ Apologists trying to fansplain Edelman’s PED violations! Like they know! Another Super Bowl win. Another *.

  22. I think Edelman would have still won it. He was THE standout on offence for both teams, in a game dominated by defence. The Patriots defensive performance, meanwhile, wasn’t down to one guy playing exceptionally, it was a real team and scheme performance, with everybody doing their job on pretty much every play. To single out one guy from it would have been harsh on the other defensive guys who played equally well. Now, if they could give the MVP award to a coach or a unit as a whole, it’s a whole different story, because Flores called a monster game and the defensive unit was exceptional. But it’s an individual award, so Edelman deserved it.

  23. Second the vote for Matthew Slater. Guy’s always where he needs to be in kick coverage. Pinned the Rams back several times over the course of the game.

  24. Apparently some think that when someone does something wrong, it should follow them for however long THEY see fit. Unfortunately for them that’s not how it works. Jules was rehabbing a serious injury. He took something that had a banned substance in it. Whether he was aware of it or not, the punishment was the same. He served his punishment. It’s over.

    FIFTEEN games later, in the SB, he was awesome. This was not some enhanced performance from whatever banned substance he took over the summer before the season started. It was due to him being awesome, for which he was awarded MVP, an award he thoroughly deserved AND earned.

    As for sending a bad message?
    No. It sends the message that if you do something wrong, there are consequences, but it also sends the message that once you have paid the price, a mistake shouldn’t continue to be held against you. Edelman took his punishment/ He didn’t fight it or try to get out of it. Then he put it behind him, worked his butt off, helped his team win the SB and earned the MVP in the process

  25. Co-MVP? split the award

    Nothing wrong with multiple MVP’s in a single game, especially if more than one player made game changing contributions.

  26. freefromwhatyouare says:
    February 5, 2019 at 1:36 pm
    Edelman should have been suspended for the year.

    Hey Kids! Take PED’s and you too can be the MVP of the Super Bowl!
    ——————————

    The unfortunate reality is that all pro football players probably take PEDs or Steroids at some time in their careers. Football is not like baseball, where a blister can sideline a player for a week. Football players sometimes play with broken bones. It is a tough sport full of tough players because that is what the public expects. Drugs in football have always been overlooked by the public.

  27. I hate that they open things like this up to fan voting. Most will just vote for their favorite player, or one of the few whose names they know. Way to diminish what is actually a meaningful award.

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