On Saturday, the NFL announced its season awards before the Super Bowl. I agreed with nearly every award: DeMarco Murray for Offensive Player of the Year, J.J. Watt for Defensive Player of the Year and Odell Beckham Jr. for Offensive Rookie of the Year. But, one that I did not agree with was Aaron Rodgers for Most Valuable Player.
There’s no doubt that the Packers’ quarterback had a great season, throwing 38 touchdowns and only five interceptions with a 112.2 quarterback rating, but there was someone in the league who was even more impressive than that: J.J. Watt.
There was no question that there was no better defensive player in the league this year than Watt, who registered 20.5 sacks, 59 solo tackles, four forced fumbles, one interception and a safety. After two of those turnovers, Watt ended up scoring touchdowns, which, together with his safety, makes him responsible for at least 16 Texan points.
Even more impressive than that, though, are Watt’s abilities on the offensive side of the ball and on special teams. Aside from blocking field goals and creating havoc for kicking units, Watt also had four receiving touchdowns as a tight end in Houston’s goal line offense. With MVP standing for the most valuable player in the league, how can you not choose Watt? He isn’t only valuable on defense, but on special teams and offense as well.
Watt not winning the MVP shouldn’t come as a shock, though, because there has not been an MVP that wasn’t a quarterback or running back since 1986. Ironically enough, that happened to be the year that Lawrence Taylor won the award, being only the second defensive player ever to receive the honor.
To say that defensive POY is a defensive player’s MVP award is simply ridiculous. Look at Clayton Kershaw, winner of both MLB’s National League Cy Young and MVP award this season. Kershaw was without a doubt the best player in the National League with the numbers he put up, and as a result won the MVP award. There was no question he should’ve won the Cy Young, but that shouldn’t take him out of contention for MVP if he deserved to win it over everyone else. Kershaw was more fortunate than Watt because all he came out with was defensive POY and not MVP.
Rodgers certainly should’ve given Watt a run for his money, but simply because Rodgers is a quarterback and Watt a defensive player does not make Watt any less valuable to the Texans than Rodgers is to the Packers. Sure, Rodgers was responsible for a majority of the Packers’ points this season, but Watt was responsible for points on both sides of the ball and in the special teams’ game, which I feel is even more valuable than just performing in one area of the game.
There aren’t many other players who can say they helped their team in all three phases of a football game this season the way J.J. Watt did for Houston, and for that reason I think he should have been awarded Most Valuable Player.