The NFL MVP is the most prestigious individual award that a player can earn in their time playing professional football. Every year there are always a select group of players that stand out of the crowd that become obvious candidates for this award. This year, the most frequent names tossed around were Tom Brady, Todd Gurley, Carson Wentz, Antonio Brown, and Russell Wilson. Any one of these players are deserving of this award, but only one is able to win it. Before determining who'll be taking the MVP [VIDEO] award home, it's necessary to understand what being the MVP really means.

What is an MVP?

Oftentimes, people mistake "Most Valuable Player" for "Most Impressive Player." Of course, we can admire the explosiveness and play-making ability of the top players in the league, but that doesn't make them deserving to win the MVP.

What the MVP is, is the most valuable player on that team. The MVP is the player that, without him, a team would go from a playoff contender to a playoff wanna-be. Looking at the race from this perspective, I think that we can eliminate the MVP candidates to an even smaller group than what we have now. There were many impressive players this year, but only a couple that had the kind of impact on their team that would make them MVP worthy.

And the 2017 MVP is?

Now that we have established what the MVP is, or at least what it should be, let's take a look at the MVP cases for the five aforementioned players.

Antonio Brown (Wide Receiver, Pittsburgh Steelers)

Brown is by far one of the most, if not the most, explosive player in the National Football League. His route running and big-play ability is almost unheard of, but how important is he to the success of his team? With him on the field, the Steelers are the number three most efficient offense in the league according to Football Outsiders, but without him, I think they would still be in the top five, but definitely not outside the top 10.

Even without him on the field most of the game, the Steelers were offensively dominant in a game against the New England Patriots that they should have won.

Todd Gurley (Running Back, Los Angeles Rams)

Gurley is a player that is clearly a huge part of the Rams success this season and is also one of the most explosive running backs in the league. As for being the MVP, I'm not even sure that he is the most valuable player on his team. Without Jared Goff, Gurley would be a middle of the pack running back, but without Gurley, I think that Goff would still find success and the Rams would still be a playoff team. If you put in an average running back, like Lamar Miller or Isaiah Crowell, onto the Rams, I believe that the back would have an above average season. I don't think many people could do what Gurley is doing right now, but I don't think that he is the MVP.

Tom Brady (Quarterback, New England Patriots)

Though Brady and Gurley are both leading the polls in the MVP race, I don't think that either of these players truly deserves to be the MVP. If anyone on the Patriots deserves an award, it's Bill Belichick because he has shown that he could find success with or without Brady. The Patriots are obviously better than they would be with Brady than they would be without, but, considering what we've seen, the Patriots would still be a playoff team. What we've seen from Brady this season is all impressive. It is impressive what he's doing at his age. It is impressive that he led the league in passing yard (4,577) and also being the oldest player to do so, but the Patriots would still be a playoff team without him.

Carson Wentz (Quarterback, Philadelphia Eagles)

A torn ACL might keep Wentz from winning the MVP this season, but I think that having the opportunity to see how the Eagles played without him should put him near the top of the MVP voting. The Eagles were seemingly unstoppable until Wentz got hurt and, now with Nick Foles under center, they look to be really vulnerable going into the stacked NFC playoffs. Wentz is the perfect combination of a highlight reel and a difference maker. Despite being out for the last three games of the season, Wentz still finished second and only one passing touchdown (33) behind the league leader, Russell Wilson (34). Wentz is without a doubt one of the top two candidates who deserve to win MVP this season.

Russell Wilson (Quarterback, Seattle Seahawks)

Wilson was by far the heart and soul of the Seahawks this season. He had absolutely no help from a running game or decent offensive line all season, but was still able to keep his team's playoff hopes alive all season. He led the league in passing yards and scored 97.4 percent team'ss teams offensive touchdowns. Not to mention that he also led his team in rushing yards (586), by over a 300 yard margin. Without Wilson, the Seahawks are likely the worst team in the NFC West without even a shot at the playoffs. Missing the playoffs will be the only possible explanation for Wilson not being the MVP.

Results

Wentz and Wilson and are so close to me for who should be the MVP. Wilson is a bigger difference maker [VIDEO] on his team, but Wentz helped turn around the Eagles franchise and send them to the playoffs with the number one seed.

For me this truthfully comes down to a coin toss, but I am going to have to give the MVP to Russell Wilson. The Seahawks are barely an NFL franchise without him.

Russell Wilson be the 2017 NFL MVP.