What makes the 2012 NFL MVP race so fascinating is the real challenge to the usually quarterback-dominated field. A 2,000-yard running back leads that challenge. He is joined by a lineman who enjoyed arguably the most dominant season by a defender in league history.
These two stalwarts are legitimate threats to the top three quarterback candidates. Two of those passers are the most celebrated signal-callers of their generation. They have been locked in a career-long battle for supremacy and are real rivals for MVP.
The other is a previously steady player who has emerged as a game-winner, while leading an expanded offense. Here is a compelling argument for each of the top five MVP candidates, beginning with an honourable mention for a previous winner who just missed the cut.