Why JJ Watt Has Earned the NFL MVP Award

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Why JJ Watt Has Earned the NFL MVP Award
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Defensive players are rarely even considered for the NFL's highest honor, but J.J. Watt has earned the MVP award.

Sure, players like Adrian Peterson and Peyton Manning have played at a level worthy of winning, but the recognition of offensive players happens each and every season.

In fact, a defensive player has not won MVP since Lawrence Taylor all the way back in 1986. 

Mike Powell/Getty Images
Watt has been every bit as devastating as Taylor was when he won MVP in 1986.

Have defensive guys not been deserving since then?

Absolutely not.

Michael Strahan set the league's sack record with 22.5 sacks back in 2002. That's two more sacks than Taylor had in his MVP season.

However, this is not a retroactive plea for Strahan; rather let's look at everything Watt has accomplished this season.

He plays on an 11-2 Houston Texans team that has clinched the AFC South division. Watt has recorded 19.5 sacks and still has three games to play. He is almost certainly going to win Defensive Player of the Year and he has held the Texans defense together while players around him have dropped like flies due to injury.

Yes, it makes sense that QBs win the award nearly every year because they have the ball on every offensive play. A quarterback can more directly affect the outcome of every one of his team's games. But Watt has been so consistently superb all season that it is hard not to put him into the same category.

Watt has only played three games all season without at least a partial sack. He has had multiple sacks in six contests and 17 total stuffs.

It would, of course, be understandable if a player like Peterson won the award. The way in which AP has battled back from a devastating knee injury and made a run at Eric Dickerson's single-season rushing record is nothing short of remarkable.

Joe Robbins/Getty Images
Adrian Peterson is an obvious front runner for MVP.

However, it is impossible to say that Watt is not deserving.

Watt said the following via the Houston Chronicle:

"I've been preparing my whole life for this type of stuff, It's just starting to come to fruition. One thing I can say is, I'm happy it's not over. I've got plenty of football left, and I can get so much better. ... The fun is just beginning."

If this truly is just the beginning, then Watt will make the MVP discussion interesting for many years to come.

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