Start the campaign now: Houston DE J.J. Watt for NFL MVP

Start the campaign now: Houston DE J.J. Watt for NFL MVP

It's crazy to start discussing the NFL MVP already, but the task at hand needs to begin now because it's monumental.

I want a defensive player to get MVP consideration.

Crazy, I know. In the history of this award, two defensive players have gotten it: Minnesota's Alan Page in 1971 and the Giants' Lawrence Taylor in 1986. That's it. In the long and distinguished history of the NFL, only twice has a defensive player been the best player in the game, I guess. And it hasn't happened in 28 years.

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The fact that defensive players are crossed off the ballot before the season starts doesn't bode well for Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt. But let's make no mistake: Watt is the best player in football right now, he might be the NFL's best defensive player since Reggie White was in his prime, and roughly a quarter into the season he is the NFL MVP.

San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers and Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck have played great. Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray has a great argument because the 3-1 Cowboys have built their offense around him. But Watt is the best candidate, and it's not debatable (if you haven't already decided to ignore the defensive side of the ball, that is).

Watt's dominance can be shown in a few ways, but one would be how often he gets to the quarterback, and in a passing league that has enormous value. Here are some of the stats that were thrown out after Watt put in an AFC defensive player of the week performance:

You get it. Watt is the best player in the entire league. He is playing defensive end better than Peyton Manning plays quarterback or Calvin Johnson plays receiver. He's part of a nondescript front seven (No. 1 pick Jadeveon Clowney has barely played because of injury) which means that every week opponents have one guy to concentrate on stopping. And none of them can do it.


Watt has contributed in different ways, too. He caught a touchdown pass at Oakland when he lined up at tight end. He had an incredible pick-six against Buffalo in a game that Houston won by six points. Houston is 3-1 right now, a year after going 2-14, and Watt is the biggest reason.

Watt is absolutely the MVP of the NFL so far, if we lived in a world where someone outside of quarterback and running back was eligible. It's too early to give him the award, of course, but it's not too early to start talking about it.

Defensive players have been ignored in the voting for almost three decades. The campaign needs to begin now, to give Watt a chance at an award he is clearly earning.

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Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!