Matt Forte: Making a Case for 2011 MVP Award Votes?

Jake SilverCorrespondent IDecember 3, 2011

PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 7: Matt Forte #22 of the Chicago Bears carries the ball against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on November 7, 2011 in Phildelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

During the 2011 season, we have seen a plethora of eye-popping campaigns that will vault many of this year's players into the history books.

From Aaron Rodgers' jaw-dropping passer perfection, to Cam Newton's total destruction of the rookie records, to Tim Tebow's mystifying success, plenty of players around the league have done things this season to attract attention.

Obviously, given the enormity of the Green Bay Packers complete dominance of the NFL, and the AP's fondness for the quarterback of the NFL's top team each season, it seems likely that Rodgers is headed for an almost-guaranteed MVP award.

As we know, the MVP is the player who is far and away the most responsible for his team's success, usually in reaching the playoffs. Clearly in 2011, Rodgers historical numbers, video-game quarterback rating and impossible accuracy can be credited with all 11 of the Packers' victories.

The Chicago Bears, on the other hand, have been having a bit of a roller-coaster season. After getting off to a rocky 2-3 start, the Bears rattled off five straight wins to reach 7-3, and even with their recent loss to the Oakland Raiders and lack of Jay Cutler, they are in prime position to bag a Wild Card playoff berth. 

Throughout the Bears' season, running back Matt Forte has been the focal point of Mike Martz's offense and the most intriguing player on their team.

Through 11 games this year, Forte has accounted for over 40 percent of the Chicago Bears' total offense, which is an unheard-of number for even a top-flight workhorse back like Adrian Peterson. At one point, he was accounting for over half of their total yardage with his receiving and rushing yards combined. 

If you need any more proof of Forte's contributions, he has 52 receptions this season, good for No. 1 on the Bears offense, and has nearly double the second-highest total (Johnny Knox with 28). 

Coming down the stretch, the Bears will need Forte to pile onto his 1,475 yards from scrimmage a whole lot more with Caleb Hanie under center for the remainder of 2011. At this point, they sit at 7-4, in good position to win a Wild Card, but by no means do they have it secured.

If the Bears should manage a string of clutch performances through the last five games and make the playoffs as the fifth or sixth seed, Forte will be deserving of at least some consideration for the MVP votes. Without him, there would literally be almost no offense in Chicago.

Without Forte, the Bears would likely be closer to 4-7 than 7-4. This is not a campaign for Forte to win MVP, and in all likelihood, he wont. 

If the Bears make it to the playoffs, however, it would be a crime not to at least give Forte his due consideration for the honor.