Separation is the essence of greatness.
No one was ever touted in life for doing the same thing everyone else does. You need to separate yourself somehow. You need to do it better. You need to do it more efficiently. You need to do it more intelligently.
In some instances, for one to separate himself from the rest of the pack, he may need to do it...faster.
Chris Johnson is running away with the rushing title midway through the season, and his argument for NFL MVP should not be dismissed as quickly as he accelerates.
He leads the league with 959 yards after eight games, and the next back isn’t even close.
Unfortunately for Johnson, there are a slew of media-beloved quarterbacks that are having good years who will receive consideration long before Johnson’s name is ever mentioned.
But that in itself doesn’t make much sense.
How can a player be deemed “Most Valuable” if there are several other people doing the same thing? What is separating them from the rest?
Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints is having a career year. His quarterback rating of 106.1 leads all other signal-callers. The only problem is it’s not by much. Brett Favre is second with a 106.0 rating.
In fact, there are five quarterbacks within three points of each other at the top of the list.
Johnson’s 959 yards lead the NFL. Second-best Cedric Benson is over 120 yards back, with 837. In fact, Johnson and Benson are the only two backs in the league with at least 800 yards.
Matt Schaub leads the NFL in passing yards, and his 17 touchdowns are tied for first in the league. But there are six other quarterbacks who have at least 16 touchdowns, providing a traffic jam at the top of the statistics.
Chris Johnson’s 6.7-yards-per-carry average is not only ridiculous, it leads the NFL by a wide margin. In second place is Rashard Mendenhall of the Pittsburgh Steelers, a full yard behind at 5.7.
Before you fall prey to the concept that a quarterback is the sexier option this year for MVP, consider this: Tennessee is 2-6.
These aren’t padded stats from a quarterback trying to bring his team back in the fourth quarter against prevent defenses. This is a running back playing on a team that typically has to abandon the run in the second half to try and get back in the ballgame.
Johnson has not been used as a workhorse, either. He has more yards than starting running backs Clinton Portis and Kevin Smith combined...on 118 fewer carries.
Johnson has eight more games to convince his detractors that he is worthy of the NFL MVP. Those who live in the small market surrounding Tennessee have seen him play and know his value. Those who don’t need to find a way to see him play.
If you do, don’t blink. He’ll be gone in a flash.
It’s his job to create separation.