Mar. 22, 2016
Why Russell Wilson, not Cam Newton, is the MVP
The way that people are talking about the MVP race, it seems like nobody else even played in the NFL this season besides Cam Newton. I would like to bring your attention to a much more deserving candidate, Russell Wilson.
The general criteria that I use when selecting my MVP is imagining how the team would have done without that respective player. So, when using this on Newton and the Panthers, I still see a team that would have been able to win their division and have a decent chance of making a Super Bowl run. A top-five defense and the second best rushing attack in the league are really what spearheaded Carolina's dominant season.
By comparison, Wilson had two major factors working against him. The first was his patchwork offensive line that allowed him to be sacked 45 times, mostly because it lacked any real anchors after the departure of starting center Max Unger.
Closely tied to the offensive line play was their running game, which was the second major factor working against Wilson this season. From 2011-2014, the Seahawks could rely on Marshawn Lynch to essentially put the offense on his shoulders and rumble to victory. The same could not be said of this season where Lynch found himself sidelined by injury for nine games. Never fear however, because in steps undrafted free agent Thomas Rawls who looks a lot like Lynch in running style. I even wrote about how I think he is the answer after Lynch leaves. Then, Rawls breaks his ankle and the team's leading rusher is suddenly their quarterback.
The only real thing Wilson had going for him was a defense that held their opponents to a league low 17.3 points per game. With an inconsistent running game, the Seahawks were forced to rely on Wilson's playmaking abilities to score points. It's a pretty safe assumption to say that the Seahawks wouldn't have been close to making the playoffs without him.
Despite all these issues, Wilson was still able to set franchise records in passing yards (4,024) and passing touchdowns (34). Oh, and he led the league with a 110.1 quarterback rating.
Still doesn't sound like an MVP worthy season to you? What if I told you that over the last seven games of the season he threw 24 touchdowns and only one interception, winning six out of those seven games. If that doesn't convince you, consider that those 24 touchdowns (in seven games remember) are more than Matt Ryan, Jameis Winston, and Ben Roethlisberger individually threw all season.
I rest my case, Wilson should be the MVP. Plain and simple. He took what should have been a below average offense and nearly carried them to their third straight Super Bowl. Whereas Newton, just happened to be the face of a supremely talented team.