Playoff exit takes nothing away from Lamar Jackson’s special season

Mike Florio

In this age of hot takery and random gasbaggery, it’s no surprise that some are using Baltimore’s loss to the Titans as a vehicle for knocking quarterback Lamar Jackson. But regardless of what the Ravens did (didn’t do) in the postseason, nothing diminishes his spectacular regular season.

The hottest of the gasbaggish asshat takes goes like this: The respective performances of Jackson and Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson justifies voting for Wilson over Jackson as MVP. That argument was made in a clumsy defense of former NFL G.M. Bill Polian, who suggested that Jackson should switch to receiver two years ago and who voted for Wilson not Jackson as the Associated Press All-Pro quarterback for 2019.

The parameters of the votes, which are made the Wednesday after the regular season ends, are simple and clear. It’s based only on performance in the regular season, not actual or expected performance in the playoffs. And what happens in the playoffs has no relevance whatsoever to who deserved which honor for the regular season.

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And spare me the “reasonable minds may differ” bullstuff that several members of the media spewed in defending the right of the 50 AP voters to pick whoever they want for any award. Sometimes, reasonable minds shouldn’t differ. If they do, it speaks to the question of whether the person entrusted to properly exercise his or her voting rights is reasonable and/or sane and/or ultimately qualified to even have a vote.

Under the notion that Jackson’s effort in a playoff loss (during which he nevertheless accounted for more than 500 yards from scrimmage) doesn’t compare favorably to Wilson’s effort in a playoff loss and thus makes Jackson less valuable than Wilson, every NFL MVP since 1999 would lose his trophy, because every NFL MVP since 1999 didn’t ultimately get his fingerprints on the only NFL-related trophy that matters.

From Patrick Mahomes to Tom Brady (three times) to Matt Ryan to Cam Newton to Aaron Rodgers (twice) to Peyton Manning (five times) to Adrian Peterson to LaDanian Tomlinson to Shaun Alexander to Steve McNair to Rich Gannon to Kurt Warner (in 2000) to Marshall Faulk, no NFL MVP has won the Super Bowl since Warner’s paper-or-plastic-to-riches rise to the top of the NFL mountain in Super Bowl XXXIV. That failure didn’t take away from their regular-season achievements, and it shouldn’t take away from Jackson’s.

(Material from personal interviews, wire services, other beat writers, and league and team sources was used in this report.)

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