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Opinion: MVP voters, like fans overall, think wins are a QB stat

They have and they likely will for the foreseeable future

AFC Divisional Playoffs - Kansas City Chiefs v Buffalo Bills Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson won the National Football League’s “Most Valuable Player” award. It’s not a surprising result. He was the heavy betting favorite to win the award going into the NFL Honors awards show where the MVP is handed out alongside many other coveted individual accolades.

Jackson played well this season, his team was the number-one seed in the AFC coming out of the regular season, and the Ravens beat the NFC’s number-one seed San Francisco 49ers late in the season in dominating fashion.

The stage had been set. But then a funny thing happened.

Jackson received 49 of a potential 50 MVP first-place votes, and the backlash against the lone non-Jackson voter (Aaron Schatz from FTN) was immediate and strong — even from people like Stephen A. Smith, who called Schatz’s vote “a stupid homer vote” (apparently not realizing or not caring that Schatz is a New England Patriots fan whose publication at the time made massive waves before the 2018 NFL Draft by calling Josh Allen “a parody of an NFL quarterback prospect”).

The backlash towards Schatz’s Josh Allen vote for MVP primarily revolved around variations of the insult “stat boy.” Many instances of “nerd” were observed on social media, along with less-tasteful insults towards Schatz for allegedly “robbing Lamar Jackson of history.” Schatz explained his reasoning in depth before the ballots were even revealed and before anyone knew that he’d be the lone holdout in a sea of Jackson votes. And the overwhelming negative response combined with the logic behind it reveals one thing:

MVP voters, like fans overall, think wins are a QB stat.

They’re using metrics for their determination of the most valuable player in the NFL too; they’re just using one that’s far more results-based, with way less context, and way more noise: Wins.

They’d rather use a metric of measurement that isolates QB play from their teammates less. Lamar Jackson was the QB of the team that was thought to be the best team in football heading into the playoffs and he played well this season without a top-tier offensive skill position supporting cast. That’s the entire argument.

If you’re handing the award out for raw QB production (yards, touchdowns), then Josh Allen ran away with it. If you’d like to make the award about efficiency, Brock Purdy had a historically efficient season relative to his peers. If you try to balance raw QB production with overall offensive production, Dak Prescott would get your vote. All of these votes are using some metric to buoy their argument. So is the Jackson vote. It’s just using “wins” instead. And Jackson got 49 of 50.

For 49 voters, “wins” was the main metric of determination. Not one of them wanted to go with “raw QB production plus overall offense production”... no one? Not one of them decided that “overall advanced holistic metric efficiency” was the standard? Every single voter, save one, decided that “a great quarterback on the team that had the best regular season” was their go-to standard for the award.

Josh Dubow of The Associated Press provided all the MVP voters for 2023:

  • Emmanuel Acho, FS1
  • Greg Auman, Fox Sports
  • Howard Balzer, PHNX radio
  • Jarrett Bell, USA Today
  • Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press
  • Tom Brady, Fox Sports
  • Tedy Bruschi, ESPN
  • Vic Carucci, WGRZ radio
  • Mark Craig, Minneapolis Star Tribune
  • Tom Curran, NBC Sports Boston
  • Charles Davis, CBS Sports
  • Nate Davis, USA Today
  • Howard Deneroff, Westwood One
  • Tony Dungy, NBC Sports
  • Jori Epstein, Yahoo Sports
  • Boomer Esiason, CBS Sports
  • Doug Farrar, USA Today Sports Media
  • Mike Florio, Pro Football Talk
  • Reuben Frank, NBC Sports Philadelphia
  • Rich Gannon, SiriusXM
  • Jonathan Jones, CBS Sports
  • Lindsay Jones, The Ringer
  • Mike Jones, The Athletic
  • Clark Judge, Talk of Fame Network
  • Ira Kaufman, JoeBucsFan(dot)com
  • Mina Kimes, ESPN
  • Peter King, NBC Sports
  • Pat Kirwan, SiriusXM
  • Jeff Legwold, ESPN
  • Jim Miller, SiriusXM
  • Sam Monson, Pro Football Focus
  • Bruce Murray, SiriusXM
  • Gary Myers, NFL author
  • Laura Okmin, Fox Sports
  • Dan Orlovsky, ESPN
  • Nick Pavlatos, SiriusXM
  • Dan Pompei, The Athletic
  • Nora Princiotti, The Ringer
  • Lorenzo Reyes, USA Today
  • Charles Robinson, Yahoo Sports
  • Dianna Russini, The Athletic
  • Mike Sando, The Athletic
  • Aaron Schatz, FTN Network
  • Adam Schein, CBS Sports
  • Tom Silverstein, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
  • Chris Simms, NBC Sports
  • Armando Salguero, Outkick(dot)com
  • Mike Tirico, NBC Sports
  • Ben Volin, Boston Globe
  • Charean Williams, Pro Football Talk

Lamar Jackson was going to get MVP votes because the idea that “the great quarterback from the best regular-season team” would get votes from some voters is understandable. But Jackson getting 49 out of 50 votes and there being backlash to the lone holdout as strongly as there was proves that the hivemind is alive and well in NFL discourse, and that the hivemind continues to pump one message into the members of the collective: wins are a QB stat.

...and that’s the way the cookie crumbles. I’m Bruce Nolan for Buffalo Rumblings. You can find me on Twitter and Instagram @BruceExclusive and look for new episodes of “The Bruce Exclusive” every Thursday on the Buffalo Rumblings podcast network!