The NFL's MVP award is usually won by a quarterback. We know this and it's because the QBs are the most important players on any team. They start with the ball in the offensive set and what they do therefore has a dramatic effect on the outcome of any game. The best quarterbacks are going to invariably be seen as the best players in the league for any particular season.

However, any serious discussion of this year's NFL MVP award has to include Ezekiel Elliott, the star runningback of the Dallas Cowboys. That's not to say that he has to be considered the favorite for the award, however if you are composing a list in the MVP race then a QB-only focus isn't going to do this season.

That's a point that some writers should be taking note of.

Gregg Rosenthal mentions only quarterbacks

On December 7th, Gregg Rosenthal did a QB-only article on the NFL's MVP race in an article titled: "QB Index: Cam Newton's uneven career; MVP race" (NFL.com). First Rosenthal comments on Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers and his strange ways. Then he changes focus with the following subheading: "Race for the MVP." He lists only quarterbacks and pretty much warns that that is all he going to focus on.

But if you go to the sportsbooks, Ezekiel Elliott is actually on the shortlist of favorites to win the award. In fact some firms that have betting odds open in the market actually make him a co-favorite.

Take the ever-popular bet365 for example: Elliott, Derek Carr, and Tom Brady are the three favorites to win the NFL MVP, each priced at 4/1.

Brady as a pick for the MVP award is a tough one and that's for a point that Rosenthal mentions. The MVP might be an individual award, but unless you have teammates that play a role in padding your stats then you can kiss individual acknowledgement good-bye.

On that note, the Danny Amendola injury could hurt the Patriots' attack, one that Rosenthal called "less-explosive" in commentary regarding New England's most-recent game.

Tom Brady loses from deflategate?

Another point with Brady is that he actually missed the first four games of the season because of suspension.

Four games is huge in the short NFL season, meaning that Brady will miss at least 25% of the season. The MVP award is voted on and if there are any writers out there that didn't like what they heard about Deflategate then Brady could be punished. Let's not forget that Connor McDavid, the star NHL rookie last year for the Edmonton Oilers, lost out on the voting in the Calder Memorial race precisely because of missed time. In McDavid's case, there was a higher percentage of missed games, but a similar knock could be made against Brady nonetheless.

Ezekiel Elliott has already smashed the rushing expectations that he had heading into the season. In a pre-season article that I wrote at puntersblogs.com, I noted an over/under for rushing yards at 1196.5 for Elliott for the whole season.

He has already crushed that total and 25% of the season is still ahead.

When a QB doesn't win the NFL MVP award then it has been won by a runningback in every year going back to Jerry Rice in 1987. I don't think that there is an overly strong candidate out of the QB position and that makes this year's award a candidate to go to a non-QB. By equating the "Race for the MVP" as the QB index, Rosenthal has the wrong focus in his article. A rookie runningback that is projected to run for more than 1700 yards could be the MVP, especially as his team heads to a divisional championship and possible No. 1 seed in the NFC.

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