There is no easy, obvious or logical choice for NFL MVP.
As a voter for the Associated Press, I’m going to file a ballot Sunday night with my selection for NFL MVP. Who will it be? I don’t even know yet.
There are two ways to view the term “most valuable” player. Either you consider him the most productive player in the league or the player most indispensable to his team. Do you go with the stats, or do you go with team success?
I lean toward team success.
But I won’t make my decision until after the Denver-San Diego game Sunday night. That’s because Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers is one of the candidates I’m considering. I’m also considering Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler, who’s been a one-man gang for Denver.
But I can’t say that either has been more valuable to his team than quarterback Chad Pennington. He was the key addition to a 1-15 Miami team a year ago that has done an about face in 2008 and now sits atop the AFC East at 10-5.
I’ll also factor into my decision Pittsburgh linebacker James Harrison, the best player on the best defense in the NFL; Baltimore safety Ed Reed, the NFL’s best big-play maker on defense; and the Cowboys’ DeMarcus Ware, who could set an NFL season sack record Sunday.
I’ve got plenty of candidates, and I can build a case for any and all of them.
Johnnie Lee Higgins, WR, Oakland
The third-round pick from Sweeny, Texas, had been invisible. But in the last two weeks, Higgins has been a huge factor. He caught a 56-yard TD pass against New England on Dec. 14 and a 29-yarder last Sunday against Houston. He also returned a punt for a touchdown against the Texans. With six touchdowns in 2008, including four of 80 yards or more, look for Higgins to have a vastly increased role in the Oakland offense in 2009. Remember, Al Davis loves speed.
Bret Favre, QB, NY Jets
Older players tend to start fast and finish slow. At 39, Favre is an old player. Since Thanksgiving, Favre has only one TD pass in four games. He also has thrown six interceptions and has been sacked nine times as the Jets have dropped three of those four games. If Favre retires at the end of the season, the Jets would have little to show for their investment.
Commish for a day
NFL teams sell season tickets on the premise that they will field a team that will compete for a playoff berth. With the average ticket costing in excess of $100 per game in many NFL stadiums, that’s an expensive investment. Only 12 teams make the playoffs each season, so 20 teams aren’t living up to their end of the bargain. Yet there is little or no accountability. If I were the commissioner, once a team is eliminated from playoff contention, I’d order the franchise to cut its ticket prices in half for the remainder of the season. That would include writing refund checks to the season-ticket holders.
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.