Skip to main content

Top 10 Questionable NFL MVPs

TT is an online writer with over eight years of experience writing about sports and pop culture.


These guys walked away with one of the regular season's highest honors, but many wonder if they really should have. Today I rank the top 10 questionable NFL most valuable players of all time.

To be clear I'm not saying these players didn't deserve the MVP award, but in many cases their were other players who deserved it just as much.

10. Jim Brown, 1965


He's arguably the greatest running back ever, but his final season was out shined by another legend who just came into the league.

In 1965, Jim Brown led the NFL in rushing with 1,544yards and a career high 21 total touchdowns while helping the Browns to an 11-3 record and an NFL Championship Game appearance.

Brown was excellent as usual, but rookie Gale Sayers had arguably the greatest rookie season a running back has ever had. The "Kansas Comet" helped the Bears to a 9-5 season after they were 5-9 the previous year. He finished with 2,272 all-purpose yards, an NFL rookie record 23 total touchdowns, and tied a league record with six touchdowns in a single game. What's probably more remarkable is that he only touched the ball 235 times that year, so he was averaging a touchdown about every 10 touches. Whether it was as a running back, receiver, or return man, Gale Sayers made an instant impact on the NFL.

9. Shaun Alexander, 2005


He helped Seattle to the Super Bowl, but other =s contributed to his MVP status.

In 2005, Shaun Alexander had his best season with 1, 880 and a then NFL record 28 total touchdowns as the Seahawks finished 13-3 and advanced to their first ever Super Bowl.

Alexander has the stats, but the bulk of his production can be attributed to running behind Hall of Fame offensive linemen Walter Jones and Steve Hutchinson. 20 of his 28 were from six yards or less and only one of those score were from over 25 yards. Quarterback Peyton Manning deserved consideration for the award as he led the number one offense in football and led the league in passer rating with just under 3,800 passing yards and 28 touchdowns. Manning's numbers would have been even better if the Colts didn't keep him out of their final two regular season games.

8. Peyton Manning, 2008


It was his third MVP, but a guy on the other side of the ball deserved it just as much.

In 2008, Peyton Manning won his third NFL MVP with 4,002 passing yards and 27 touchdowns while helping the Colts to a 12-4 regular season.

His numbers were solid, but relatively average by Peyton's standards. Safety Ed Reed had one of his best seasons by leading the league with nine interceptions and three defensive touchdowns to go along with 16 passes defended. He also set an NFL record with a 107-yard interception return for a score.

7. Peyton Manning & Steve McNair, 2003


The two shared the MVP, but one deserved it by themselves or another player deserved it entirely.

In 2003, Peyton Manning won his first MVP while throwing for 4,267 yards and 29 touchdowns while the Colts went 12-4 and advanced to the AFC Championship. Steve McNair went 10-4 for the Titans and led the league with a 100.4 passer rating.

McNair had probably his most efficient season but he missed two games with an injury, which the Titans won both without him, and went 0-2 against Manning. Manning should have won the award outright or Chiefs running back Priest Holmes should've have had consideration for his second straight MVP. Holmes set an NFL record with 27 rushing touchdowns to go along with 2,110 yards from scrimmage at age 30 as the workhorse for the highest scoring offense in the league that year.

Scroll to Continue

6. Alan Page, 1971


He was the first defensive player to ever win the award, but was outshined by another future Hall of Famer.

In 1971, defensive tackle Alan Page anchored a defense that allowed under 10 points per game as he finished with nine sacks, three fumble recoveries, and two safeties while helping the Vikings to an 11-3 record.

Page was deserving, but it's hard to judge his impact with how statistics were in the early days of pro football. quarterback Roger Staubach went 13-0 as a starter while finishing with 17 total touchdowns to just four interceptions while helping the Cowboys to their first Super Bowl victory and posting the highest passer rating of the 1970's with 104.8. His numbers could have been more impressive if head coach Tom Landry didn't waste time with deciding on starting him or Craig Morton .

5. Joe Montana, 1990


"Joe Cool" was himself, but two other stars shined just as bright.

In 1990, Joe Montana won his second straight MVP as he went 14-1 and threw for 3,944 yards and 26 touchdowns as the 49ers looked to make it to their third straight Super Bowl.

Montana was solid, but he also set a career high with 16 interceptions. Eagles quarterback Randall Cunningham or Chiefs linebacker Derrick Thomas deserved more consideration. Cunningham had arguably the best all around season a quarterback has ever had as he threw for just under 3,500 yards and 30 touchdowns while rushing for 942 yards and another five scores. Thomas finished with a league leading 20 sacks including an NFL record seven in one game

4. Joe Theismann, 1983


He ran the show for the highest scoring offense in the league, but the way his year ended and the emergence of a star should have put him in the back seat.

In 1983, Joe Theismann passed for 3,714 and 29 touchdowns as the Redskins finished 14-2 and advanced to their second straight Super Bowl.

Theismann was great but seemed to get the quarterback on the best team in football treatment and his team fell on their face in Super Bowl XVIII losing 38-9 to the Raiders in a game where Theismann really struggled. Rams rookie running back Eric Dickerson was sensational leading the league with 2,212 yards from scrimmage, 1,808 rushing yards, and 20 total touchdowns. The Rams went from a 2 win team to 9-7 and the playoffs the year they drafted Dickerson. That's changing the culture of a team

3. Aaron Rodgers, 2014


Don't get me wrong he was incredible, but another star had a year we may never see again.

In 2014, Aaron Rodgers won his second MVP throwing for 4,381 yards, 38 touchdowns and just five interceptions as the Packers went 12-4 and advanced to the NFC Championship.

Rodgers was outstanding, but you kind of expect that with him at that point. Texans defensive end JJ Watt had a year we'll likely never see again from a defender. He finished with 78 tackles, 29 tackles for loss, 51 quarterback hits, 20.5 sacks, 10 passes defended, four forced fumbles, five fumble recoveries, one interception, two defensive touchdowns, and another three touchdowns on offense. Watt became the first defensive player to have two 20+ sack seasons and he should have been recognized as the league MVP.

2. John Elway, 1987


He was a one man show, but the best receiver ever had an all time year.

In 1987, John Elway won his only MVP throwing for 3,198 yards and 23 total touchdowns in the strike shortened season as the Broncos advanced to their second straight Super Bowl.

Elway was solid, but their was an obvious choice the award should've gone to. Wide receiver Jerry Rice rewrote the record book with 65 receptions for 1,078 yards and a then record 23 total touchdowns in just 12 games. He became the first receiver to have at least 20 receiving touchdowns in a season and led the league with 89.8 receiving yards per game as the 49ers won 13 games and were the top seed in the NFC. He was on pass for 30 touchdowns if the strike doesn't happen so he should have ran away with the MVP.

1. Mark Moseley, 1982


He's the only kicker ever to win the award and probably shouldn't have.

In 1982, the NFL went on strike and cut the season to just nine games. Redskins kicker Mark Moseley made 21 of his 22 field goal attempts as his team went 8-1 and eventual won Super Bowl XVII.

Moseley was productive, but you don't give the league MVP to a kicker, especially one that missed three extra points that season. Chargers wide receiver Wes Chandler or Cowboys cornerback Everson Walls could have justifiably won the award. Chandler finished with 49 receptions for 1,032 yards and nine touchdowns in just eight games while setting an NFL record with 129 yards receiving per game and 260 receiving yards in a single game. If he played a full season, he would've finished with 2,064 yards receiving. Walls led the league in interceptions for the second straight season with seven in nine games as the Cowboys finished 3rd in scoring defense. Chandler and Walls easily could have been co-MVPs in the striked shortened season.

People's Poll

Related Articles