Every NFL team has now played eight games, meaning the season has reached the halfway point. So this week we're presenting our NFL FanHouse Midseason Midtacular.
There are many problems with the MVP award in almost every sport. Primarily, it is dependent on how one's team performs -- you simply cannot be classified as valuable on team that isn't winning a lot. (Note that there is some logic there, but not enough to justify the exclusion of some players from consideration.)
But the beauty of the MVP in football is that generally speaking, there is a clear cut individual whose performance over the course of 16 game is so distinctly dominant that there is less of an argument re: who should win. Except when Peyton Manning and Steve McNair tie. Then it gets awkward.
Oh yes, and this year; a football season where there is absolutely -- the Tennessee Titans excluded, and more on that in a second -- no single dominant team that magnifies an individual performance. So, seriously, I ask you again, who is the MVP this year?
Half Season NFL MVP Nominees:
Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans -- "Breesus Christ" has found New Orleans to be an excellent outlet to post potentially historical numbers and this season is no exception. He's been dealing with injuries to most of his major receiving threats all season, including Marques Colston, David Patten, Reggie Bush and Jeremy Shockey. Yes, Lance Moore has become relevant.
Clinton Portis, RB, Washington -- Arguably the best fantasy pick overall right now, Portis is just five yards short of 1,000 for the season ... and we're, in case you didn't notice, handing out midseason awards. He's been the rock that Jim Zorn has leaned on to let Jason Campbell develop, and a stout 5.0 ypc doesn't hurt anything.
Kurt Warner, QB, Arizona -- With the Cardinals plowing through the absolutely inept NFC West, it would behoove any sportswriter worth his salt to at least drop the line "MVP numbers" when talking about Warner, his 4,000 fumbles be damned. He's thrown 16 TDs to only six picks, and has amassed 303.9 yards per game, good for second in the league. He's been here before and an early close out by the Cardinals followed by a similar second half finish for Kurt could lock this up early.
Philip Rivers, QB, San Diego -- This is strictly a homeresque inclusion; there's simply no way that Rivers could be considered a potential winner of MVP with his team sitting at 3-5. But the truth -- TRUTH, I say -- is that Phil is posting some ridiculous numbers. He's first in the league in QB rating at 107.8, he's fifth in passing yards at 2,038, first in the league with 19 touchdown passes, and he's doing it all while averaging less than 30 passing attempts per game (22nd overall). "But he has LaDanian Tomlinson on his teeeeeeam," you whine. Um, yeah. That's helping him a lot this year. The good news is the Chargers can still steamroll this division and he can win.
Justin Tuck, DE, New York Giants -- It's a relatively odd decision to start lobbing out defensive players this early (both in the column and season), but let's face it: the Giants are one of the two or three best teams in the league and someone needs to be talked about. It can't be Plaxico Burress though -- he's been more of a distraction than anything else. And I refuse to mention Eli Manning here. So, um, how about Brandon Jacobs? Yes, he's been very, very good and is a horse of a runner, but he's not as effective without Ahmad Bradshaw and Derrick Ward there. (In case you haven't heard, they're called Earth, Wind and Fire! How
Someone From the Freaking Undefeated Titans, Tennessee -- Chris Johnson has the best offensive numbers in terms of the skill positions that usually dominate this award, but Albert Haynesworth is the plump rock that shuts down opponents and clogs up the middle. Either could receive some consideration. Or perhaps Vince Young, without whom the Titans certainly wouldn't be here? Yeah, probably not. So we'll probably go Haynesworth. After all, as JJ Cooper noted, he's easily the best DT in the league on the best defense in the league, and he hasn't stomped on anyone's head in at least two years.
And the winner is ...
Haynesworth. He won't actually win the award -- this is after all not something that's contingent on the votes of opposing quarterbacks and running backs -- but his team is undefeated, he's the most important piece on said team defense, and, again, bonus points for not hurting people. Most importantly, the Titans aren't 8-0 and steamrolling the purported "toughest division in the NFL" (preseason, natch) without him doing what he does.