This time of year, the chatter of who will likely take home the NFL's Most Valuable Player trophy begins to heat up.
By the end of the season, it has inevitably crescendoed into a raucous cacophony of, "No, MY player's better!" and, "Your player is overrated!" rants.
The funny thing is, by the time the award is actually given out, it is ironically an afterthought of sorts.
By that time, teams are deep in the playoff hunt.
Home field advantage, sexy story lines and title games captivate more interest.
However, at this juncture, the debate is in full swing with many intriguing twists and turns thus far.
This is the first of a two part list that breaks down all the usual suspects. The stars in today's slideshow are traditional favorites, yes. But good numbers alone don't merit an MVP.
The number one criteria of the award—"Where would your team be WITHOUT you?"—bears much significance.
In addition, it should be noted that their inclusion in the "overrated" portion of the list does not mean that their play on the field is overrated; their case for the award is.
Without further adieu, here are the five best players on the outside looking in.
Let the debating commence.