NFL training camps are underway, and each team will spout the mantra, “It’s all about the team!” While it's true that no one individual can win a championship, there are certain players who are flat-out better than others.
Those players are the men who battle year in and year out for the NFL's Most Valuable Player award.
Every player wants a Super Bowl ring, and careers are defined by whether you're a champion or not. But do not think for one minute that these same elite players are not also eager to be voted the best in the league. All the greats have an ego, and to have the tag “2012 NFL MVP” follow your name is an honor every player would die to have.
The NFL is a quarterback-driven league, and the MVP award clearly demonstrates this point. Nine of the past 11 winners have been quarterbacks, and in the history of the award, dating back to 1957, the quarterback position has won the MVP 37 times.
That dwarfs the second most, held by the running back position, which has won the prize 17 times.
Only three other positions have won the award, and each only won once. Defensive tackle Alan Page from the Minnesota Vikings won the statue in 1971. Washington Redskins kicker Mark Moseley was actually awarded the MVP for the 1982 season and New York Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor took home the goods for the 1986 season.
With past history as an indicator, the odds strongly favor either a quarterback or running back to win again in 2012, but with more wide-open passing attacks and more opportunities for sacks, could this be the year a wide receiver or defensive end gets their name etched on the trophy and in the history books?
Could a defensive back eclipse Los Angeles Rams Dick “Night Train” Lane's single-season record of 14 interceptions in a season and run away with the win? For any player to even be in this discussion, they have to be one of the best in the NFL.
Let’s look at each potential winner and break down their chances of being named the best player in football.