There are an awful lot of really good players in the NFL. That’s as it should be; after all, professional athletes are supposed to be the very best of the very best.
Still, even at that level of skill there are standout players at every position each year. These are the guys who go above and beyond each and every week to give their all for the team. They’re the guys the team will struggle to win without, often serving as emotional leaders in addition to their tangible roles on the field.
These are the players who should be talked about when it comes to voting for the Most Valuable Player in the league.
There are a few dark-horse MVP favorites on many peoples’ minds: Tim Tebow and Peyton Manning. Aside from those two, though, much of the MVP talk has been dominated by a trio of quarterbacks who are each on pace to break (and in some cases shatter) records this season: Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees and Tom Brady.
In many ways, these storylines have eclipsed the jaw-dropping performances of other players around the league. Over the next 12 slides we’ll take a look at some players who deserve to at least be part of the MVP hype based on their 2011 performance.