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Look Back: Is Josh Allen a 2020 MVP Candidate?

We take a look back at a bold prediction from May 2020

If you haven’t skipped right past this to go to the comments with some version of “duh, of course he was!” then you’re in luck. You’ll get to read the rationale behind pieces like this and hopefully not yell at me. And if you did skip past this then you’ll never read about how much I’m judging you.

Kidding (I think) aside, one of the seemingly boldest offseason takes last year was from Adam Schein who had this to say about Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills, which we discussed here last year in May:

I think this team is going places. And I think this aerial attack is about to explode. Buffalo GM Brandon Beane brilliantly traded for Stefon Diggs, giving Allen a legit No. 1 receiver. Those two will make beautiful music together. And don’t forget about Allen’s great chemistry with John Brown and Cole Beasley, which will only get better in their second season together.

With Tom Brady in Tampa, Buffalo will take the AFC East with 11 or 12 wins. Allen will put up monster numbers — with his arm and legs — to complement McDermott’s great defense. This is the player to watch on a team to watch. Big things coming.

One of the reasons this was considered such a statement at the time is that, analytically, Josh Allen was worlds removed from MVP caliber in his first couple seasons. Eye test aside, from a statistical perspective—Josh Allen needed to make a large jump in most significant categories to reach average. That’s not to say the potential wasn’t there to see in 2018 or 2019, but there’s a difference between seeing potential and realizing potential.


Josh Allen reached MVP potential. Rumblings noted that previous winners Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes had accounted for 43 and 52 touchdowns respectively in their MVP seasons. Josh Allen’s 29 touchdowns in 2019 needed a boost. Which happened. Allen accounted for 37 passing, 8 rushing touchdowns, and 1 receiving score which my calculator has assured me is a total of 46 touchdowns.

More than a 10 percent increase in completion percentage was astronomical after a significant increase between his first two years. Allen took an already good 2.0 percent interception percentage to an even better 1.7 percent. Not bad for an inaccurate gunslinger.

It’s actually really crazy to think that Schein’s biggest misses were:

  1. The Bills won 13 games instead of 11 or 12, and;
  2. Josh Allen put up passing numbers at such an increased rate he didn’t need to put up “monster” rushing numbers.

So yes, those of you who skipped past my narrative are correct. We all know Allen took second place in MVP voting, proving Schein’s prognostication right. While four votes out of 50 doesn’t sound all that impressive, it beat out Patrick Mahomes’s single vote.

To say “no one saw this coming” is objectively false. Schein called it quite well in fact. Some of you did too. Most of us were skeptical and I say with good reason. Allen’s jump was unprecedented.

One last thing, if you were with Schein all along I’ll gladly take the “I told you so.” GO BILLS!