Shutdown Corner - NFL

With the NFL's MVP race being so closely contested this year, Shutdown Corner reached out to five prominent NFL bloggers to make the case for their player as MVP. Read the arguments below, and then cast your vote.

The case for Chris Johnson
Jimmy Morris, Music City Miracles

The Case for Chris Johnson is simple. The MVP is an individual award where one player needs to distinguish himself from the rest of the pack. CJ did that when he won the rushing title by 590 yards. He also had three rushing touchdowns of 85 yards or more. No other played has done that in a career. CJ set the single season record for yards from scrimmage with 2,509 while becoming the first player ever to have 2,000 yards rushing and 500 yards receiving in the same season and finished the season with 11 straight 100 yards games.

In closing he had the best season ever by a running back. Why would anyone else even be considered for MVP?

The case for Philip Rivers(notes)
John, Bolts from the Blue

Philip Rivers should be the NFL's MVP. Not simply for how good he's been (which is to say, every bit as good as Peyton Manning(notes) or Drew Brees(notes)), but for how bad the team and the circumstances around him have been by comparison to other MVP candidates. Here are the numbers: 3rd in QB Rating (1st in AFC), 1st in Yards/Attempt, 3-to-1 TD/INT ratio and he's been sacked only 5 times in the last 7 games of the season. Also, 42.8% of his throws go for first down (1st in the league). Here are the circumstances: A patchwork offensive line (3/5 of the starters are new in 2009), no running game (lowest YPC in the league) and a team that started the season 2-3. No other MVP candidate has dealt with as much turmoil, or had as little support from the rest of the team, as Rivers.

The case for Drew Brees
Tom Mantzouranis, NFL Fanhouse

Though it seems that Drew Brees will have another amazing season get overshadowed (seriously, he runs into LaDainian Tomlinson's(notes) record-breaking 2006 and now Peyton Manning's huge 2009? What luck...), he is, without doubt, the most deserving MVP. Forget that "Well, look at how bad the Colts looked with Curtis Painter(notes)!" talk and watch the game film of Mark Brunell(notes) playing the Panthers in Week 17. And then consider this: Brees had one of the best seasons for a quarterback. Ever.

He might not have broken 5,000 yards, he might not have thrown for 50 touchdowns, he might not have captained a 16-0 team. But he did break Ken Anderson's record for completion percentage, throwing a ridiculous 70.6 percent. And he didn't do it as a dink-and-dunk passer, he did it throwing at 8.5 yards per attempt, a remarkable prowess for downfield passing. He also threw what some consider the best game ever by a quarterback in defeating the Patriots. And he did it with no Pro Bowlers at skill positions surrounding him. For his on-field play and his intangible effect on the players around him, Brees is the league's most valuable player.

The case for Peyton Manning
Deshawn Zombie, 18to88.com

Ultimately, this race comes down to quarterbacks with similar stats. Each one is a little better or a little worse in this rate stat or that volume stat. The case for Manning comes down to seven game- winning drives in the fourth quarter, and the fact that no team has a bigger drop off from number one to number two QB in football than the Colts (backup Curtis Painter has a passer rating of 9.8).

Manning carries the Colts and the city of Indianapolis emotionally in a way that only a few guys in football can match (Brees, Brady, Roethlisberger). He replaced two of his top receivers from last year on the fly with rookie fourth round pick and a second- year, sixth round pick. He played in the tougher conference and dominated it. Manning played biggest in the biggest moments and kept his team in every game. Every time he had the chance to win a game, he pulled it off. Bill Belichick was so terrified of him that he went for it from his own 28.

Manning is always an MVP candidate because he calls all his own plays and shoulders the offensive burden for a team that always wins at least 12 games. This year, his team never lost a game when he played in the fourth quarter. That is the definition of the MVP.

The case for Brett Favre(notes)
Dan Zinski, The Viking Age

Brett Favre changed the identity of the Vikings' offense for the better-- even if Brad Childress doesn't think so. He transformed them from a plodding ball-control team to a consistent and occasionally explosive passing team, increasing their scoring average by a touchdown per game. He made stars out of Sidney Rice(notes), Visanthe Shiancoe(notes) and Percy Harvin(notes). He took pressure off Adrian Peterson, who had worn down the last two seasons. He infused the entire team with a confidence it never had before. And he was the author of several dramatic moments, most notably his last-second TD to Greg Lewis(notes) vs. the Niners.

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