The Associated Press awards voting process has plenty of flaws, apart from the whole Hub Arkush situation. One major flaw continues to be the group’s refusal to permit anything more than one vote per voter per award.
With prizes like MVP, the absence of a first-place, second-place, and third-place vote limits the number of players who get mentioned in the broader discussion of consideration for the crown jewel of the AP awards. It also makes ties more likely; that has happened twice, in 2003 (Peyton Manning and Steve McNair) and 1995 (Barry Sanders and Brett Favre).
For the All-Pro team, limiting the votes to one per spot with no second-place ballot creates the possibility of no second-team All-Pros. It happened this year, with Colts running back Jonathan Taylor getting all 50 of the running back votes. It resulted in no second-team All-Pro running back.
What if one of the other high-end running backs had a seven-figure incentive based on being named second-team All-Pro? What if that running back would have been named the second-team All-Pro if the voting wasn’t so narrow and limited?
The possibility of having no second-team All-Pro is greater when there’s only one player for a given position, whether it be running back or quarterback or tight end or left tackle. For receiver, with two votes per voter, it’s far less likely for the same two receivers to appear on all 50 ballots.
But it could still happen. And it wouldn’t happen if the process consisted of first-place and second-place votes.
As Peter King recently mentioned in the context of the MVP voting, the AP fears that, with a broader voting system, the ultimate winner may not have the most first-place votes.
That’s not a realistic fear. They could add weight to first-place votes in a way that makes it much harder for the player who gets the most first-place votes to not win. Or they can count only the first-place votes to determine the first-team All-Pros and then count the remaining first-place votes and the second-place votes (omitting the first-team All-Pros) to determine the second-team.
Whatever they do, what they’re currently doing isn’t good enough. And it wouldn’t be that hard to make it better.