2013 NFL MVP: Making Cases for Least-Respected Candidates to Win Award

Brian Mazique@@UniqueMaziqueCorrespondent IIIJanuary 6, 2013

FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 30: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots signals the yard line to his bench against the Miami Dolphins during the game at Gillette Stadium on December 30, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Adrian Peterson and Peyton Manning are the leading candidates for the NFL MVP award, and both are deserving. However, there are three other players who also had seasons that makes them worthy of serious consideration.

Here's the case for the best candidates—not named Peterson or Manning.


Robert Griffin III For MVP

There is some sentiment that RGIII may not even be the Rookie of the Year, let alone the MVP. I find that to be ridiculous.

With all due respect to Russell Wilson and Andrew Luck, neither of them have had the season RGIII has.

Luck has thrown for more yards and three more touchdowns, but RGIII has thrown 13 fewer interceptions, and he has 560 more rushing yards. His 102.4 QB rating dwarfs Luck's 76.5, and he has consistently taken better care of the ball.

He and Wilson's numbers are comparable, but in nearly every category, he slightly bests the Seahawks' outstanding rookie. Those advantages include an edge in passing yards, rushing yards, rushing touchdowns and QB rating. 

Now that we've dispelled any notions that RGIII isn't the Rookie of the Year, let's look at some of his numbers that make a case for MVP.

He only saw 1.3 percent of his passes intercepted this year, that is tied for the lowest percentage in the NFL. He's the third highest-rated quarterback in the league as well.

Beyond the statistics, no player has taken over a city the way RGIII has. He may not be the MVP, but he has earned serious consideration.


Tom Brady

The Patriots' all-time great can't escape the comparisons to Peyton Manning. Brady has more passing yards and less interceptions. Manning has more passing touchdowns, a higher completion percentage and a higher QB rating.

With their numbers so similar this season, you have to look at circumstances to separate them.

Even then, it is a bit of a toss-up.

Manning took over an offense that looked barely average in 2011, and he has guided nearly the exact same personnel to five more wins. The Broncos were the 23rd ranked offense in 2011, but they were No. 4 this season.

Brady fought off several injuries to his major weapons, and he has put up one of the best years of his career. His 4,827 passing yards, 34 touchdowns and only eight interceptions is exceptional.

Considering Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez missed a combined 11 games, it is even more impressive.

Manning will get a ton of the sentimental vote because he's returning from a career-threatening injury, and Brady's excellence is almost expected.

Is that fair?

Maybe not, but it is a reality.


Aaron Rodgers

Honestly, this is a case of saving the best for last, in my opinion. Rodgers' season has been the best of the players mentioned here.

What he's done behind an offensive line that has allowed him to take 51 sacks, and is void of a stand-out at running back is amazing.

Rodgers also had to endure the loss of his best receiver, Greg Jennings. Jennings had 67 receptions in 13 games in 2011. It was one less reception than Jordy Nelson who played in all 16 games.

This year, Jennings played in only eight games, and Nelson missed four games as well.

Despite the absence of the receivers, no real threat at running back, and the poor offensive line play, he still had great numbers. Rodgers threw for 4,295 yards, 39 touchdowns, and remarkably only eight interceptions.

He won the MVP last year, and because of the emotional attachment to Peterson and Manning's comeback season, he'll likely finish third.

In reality, it is hard to imagine someone being more important to their team's success than Rodgers.


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