Not One Vote for Chris Johnson for NFL MVP...Am I Having a Nightmare?
1) Peyton Manning (39.5 votes)
2) Drew Brees (7.5 votes)
3) Phillip Rivers (two votes)
4) Brett Favre (one vote)
After seeing this breakdown for this year's NFL MVP voting on ESPN, I found myself lost in a haze. I picked up the TV remote, started flipping around. And then, in one of those rare moments where the universe seems to be speaking directly to you, I stumbled across the movie Zoolander, just as the character Mugatu (played by Will Ferrell) was going on a rant.
"I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!" he screamed.
It was at that point I realized I had more in common with a fictional, flamboyantly-gay male fashion designer than I previously thought; I too felt like the only one genuinely disgusted with the current state of affairs.
My distaste stems not from disagreeing with Peyton Manning's deserving of the award. 4500 yards, 33 TDs, 16 INTs, a 99.9 overall QB rating, 14-0 to start the season (And if Jim Caldwell wasn't gutless and completely at ease with tampering with Peyton's legacy, they could have easily gone 16-0). Certainly, an MVP season.
Nor does it sprout from the other vote getters; all had exceptional years and were indispensable to their respective teams.
What makes me want to hurt humans is the fact that Chris Duan Johnson (note the inclusion of his middle name), a man who posted the most statistically-spectacular season in the history of his position, did not receive a single vote for MVP.
For those of you who are somehow unaware, Chris set the record for yards from scrimmage in a single season - 2509 (2006 on the ground, 503 through the air)—with 16 total TDs. He became just the sixth player to rush for 2000 yards, and had three TD runs of 80+ yards—more than any runner has had in their career. Yes, you read that correctly.
Critics of Johnson as an MVP are likely to point to the Titans mediocre season, as they finished 8-8 and missed the playoffs. Many writers seem to employ playoff qualification as an official unofficial litmus test for prospective candidates—an unfortunate reality that has burned some deserving guys over the years.
The Titans had a rough schedule to start the year (Steelers, Jets, Colts and Pats within their first six games). Combine this with Kerry "Did I pass the Breathalyzer Test?" Collins' inconsistent QB play and an unmotivated defense (59-0, need I say more?), they had virtually no chance to win. Over these six dismal games, Chris averaged 120 total yards and had three TDs, all against defenses stacking their lines because they knew Collins' posed no threat.
Insert Vince Young. His good arm, surprising pocket poise and dangerous speed gave the offense the balance it needed to fully utilize Chris' skills. From Week 8 on (Young's first week as the starter), Johnson's numbers were unreal. We can only assume that had Young started the year, CJ's numbers would have been even better.
The Titans went on to win eight-of-10, though found themselves on the outside of the playoff picture. But MVP doesn't stand for "Most Valuable Player to Get Team to Playoffs." If that were so, Alex Rodriguez could not have won the MLB MVP with Texas in 2003.
CJ's snub also brings me back to Kobe Bryant's 2005-2006 season, when he took a team of scrubs to the playoffs in the tenacious Western Conference by averaging 35 ppg, including an 81 point performance and five straight 50 point games. Another case of eye-popping statistics and no recognition.
What is wrong with sports writers? Do they have any appreciation for these workhorses that not only put up numbers but bleed themselves dry to elevate their team to a competitive level?
They must not, unless I'm missing something. Maybe it's a conspiracy. Racism? I can't deny the thought streaked across my mind, seeing four white quarterbacks with votes and not one for arguably one of the most gifted athletes in the history of the sport. That would be going too far, right? I mean, Kobe lost his MVP to...oh, wait...Steve Nash...collecting his second-consecutive and grossly undeserved trophy...hmm...
Theories aside, I leave you all with this:
BEST SEASON EVER FOR A RB = NOT A SINGLE MVP VOTE
I'm not saying he had to win the award, but "Come on, Man!"
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