Who Is The Best Player In NFL History To Have Not Won The MVP Award?

Mark HauserCorrespondent IIMarch 14, 2009

The National Football League Most Valuable Player Award is given by various entities, most notably the Associated Press ("AP").  However, the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWOA) MVP Award is also prestigious.  In 1987, Jerry Rice won the PWWOA MVP award, but not the AP award, which was won by John Elway.  Rice did not win an MVP award by either of these organizations in any other year. 

Hence, if you consider the AP award to be the official NFL MVP award your answer to this ranking question is probably Jerry Rice.  Rice is considered one of the five greatest football players ever and at UltimateSportsRankings.com he is currently ranked as the number one Greatest NFL Player ever. 

However, my top 5 Greatest NFL Players to not win an MVP award are (assuming the AP winners): 1. Deion Sanders 2. Jerry Rice 3. Dick Butkus 4. Ray Nitschke 5. Reggie White.

Note that 4 of my players are defensive players.  That is because the MVP is really given out to the best quarterback or running back in the league, just like the Heisman Trophy in college football.  Alan Page, a defensive tackle and the AP MVP winner in 1971, is the only defensive player ever to win any MVP Award.  The great Don Hutson (the second greatest receiver in NFL history in my view) is the only receiver to win outright the MVP Award (he voted MVP twice in 1941 and 1942). 

None of this is fair or accurate in my opinion, which is one of the reasons that this site exists.  While I am not denying the quarterback, in general, is the most important player on the team, I just do not think he is almost always the Most Valuable Player in the league, or on a particular team, for that matter.


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