Dec 15, 2021 - Sports

Quarterbacks lead MVP race, as always

2021 MVP favorites
Data: DraftKings; Table: Sara Wise/Axios

Quarterbacks are dominating the MVP race, led by 44-year-old Tom Brady, who's heavily-favored to win his fourth award.

Why it matters: QBs comprising eight of the top 10 MVP favorites (and 16 of the top 19) is par for the course in regards to an award that goes almost exclusively to signal-callers on the league's best teams.

By the numbers: 14 of the 22 MVPs since 2000 went to QBs on a top-two seed, four went to other playoff-bound QBs and four went to running backs with seasons too impressive or historic to overlook:

  • 2012: Adrian Peterson became the seventh player to rush for over 2,000 yards
  • 2000, 2005, 2006: Marshall Faulk (26 total TD), Shaun Alexander (28) and LaDainian Tomlinson (31) each broke the single-season TD record.

State of play: This year is more of the same, as Josh Allen is the only QB among those top eight who's currently more than a game out of a top-two seed. Can one of the non-hurlers make a similarly historic mark as the four guys above?

  • Jonathan Taylor (+2000): He won't reach 2,000 yards (on pace for 1,763), but his 18 total TD lead the league and he matched Tomlinson's NFL record with eight consecutive games of 100+ scrimmage yards and a rushing TD.
  • Cooper Kupp (+5000): He's on pace for 148 receptions (one shy of the NFL record) and 1,947 receiving yards (17 shy). Yes, he gets an extra game to reach those numbers, but watch him play and tell me he isn't having an all-time season.

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