J.J. Watt’s case for NFL MVP
If ever there was a year to stop handing out the MVP trophy to the best offensive player and give it to the best player, period, this is the year.
I realize that a couple of weeks back I all but said J.J. Watt should be the league MVP, but I didn’t really make a case for it. For some reason people are stuck on the award going to an offensive player — even though nothing in the rules says such a thing — that it feels “wrong” for them to vote for a defensive player. I think maybe for the average defensive player you have a point, but when a player has as much of an impact on his team’s fortunes as Watt does, those arguments lose all validity.
Just to glance at his defensive stats is impressive as hell. The guy notched 20.5 sacks this season to become the only player in NFL history to have two 20-sack seasons to his name. He also had 10 pass break-ups, four forced fumbles, one interception that he returned 80 yards for a touchdown, and a fumble that he returned 45 yards for a touchdown. His 78 total tackles rank second on the team, which is patently absurd in this day and age of the NFL being a “passing” league. He basically had a big play in every category you could have one on defense.
Then there are the hidden big plays Watt forced that ended up being finished off by his teammates. No telling how many of those plays happened over the course the season.
Now lets consider the fact that the man caught three passes on offense also and all three passes were for touchdowns. Are you friggin’ kidding me?! A comparable accomplishment would in effect be a running back rushing for more than 1,800 yards on offense then being asked to blitz three times on defense and coming home with a sack all three times. The shit is bananas if you really think about it.
Oh, and did you happen to know that two of those touchdowns were the first scores of those games for the Texans? Yeah, gimmick or not it wasn’t like the Texans were only using Watt on offense late in the game when they were already up big. I should also point out that all three touchdowns came in games the Texans went on to win.
To disabuse your mind of Watt’s three scores on offense being a gimmick, understand that he had more touchdown catches than Vernon Davis, Larry Fitzgerald and Vincent Jackson. He had just as many touchdown catches as Jared Cook, Doug Baldwin and Charles Clay. Hell, in hindsight maybe the Texans should have used him more on offense.
Its not like the Texans were bad this year. Which is saying something considering the carousel of mediocrity they had at quarterback and the nagging injuries to running back Arian Foster. Now just imagine for a second what that team’s season would look like without Watt terrorizing quarterbacks every Sunday. And I do mean every Sunday. There were only four games this season out of 16 where he didn’t get at least one sack. Talk about the model of consistency, sheesh!
My last point on this might be my “big joker” because I really don’t hear people saying it. The truth is none of the “usual suspect” quarterbacks had all that great of years. Drew Brees threw for the most yardage this season, you voting for him? Aaron Rodgers is a popular pick and the 38 touchdowns against five interceptions is pretty damned impressive. Still, he has thrown for more yardage and more touchdowns twice in each category in his career. Manning has the 39 touchdowns, but also has the 15 interceptions to go with them. Hell, when talking about his career specifically, the 39 touchdowns pale in comparison to the 55 he threw just last season.
Are y’all really that impressed with any of them this year?
I will say that running back DeMarco Murray would be an interesting choice, since he did have a career year and led the league in rushing with 1,845 yards. However, I seem to see and hear more people talking about his quarterback, Tony Romo, being deserving of the award than him. Also, once again, lets be honest here. More than 1,800 yards is good, but usually you would have to get a lot closer to 2,000 to blow anybody away.
All I’m saying is none of these guys played lights out this season — they were just above and beyond everybody else in the league. J.J. Watt did. If that doesn’t describe the MVP of the league, well then what in the hell does?!
That isn’t to say that folks who don’t vote for Watt for MVP are necessarily wrong, but it does speak to the fact that they should have to at least explain the rationale behind it. Nobody can just hrmph hrmph about it like Watt doesn’t have a strong case or him winning would be ridiculous. This just isn’t a year where voting for an offensive player for MVP is a no-brainer. Period.