Why Derek Carr Should Be The NFL’s 2016 MVP
Following a stellar season in 2016, Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr should be named the NFL’s Most Valuable Player.
The Most Valuable Player of the National Football League is an award that carries significant weight, for obvious reasons. It’s an absolute legacy changer, and it cements the recipient into NFL history. And for the 2016 season, the NFL’s MVP should be Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr.
If the award is truly supposed to be a representation of its namesake — most valuable — then there is no one more fitting and more deserving than Carr. To put it simply, no player is more valuable to their team than Derek Carr is to his.
Admittedly, debates like this are next to impossible to quantify, especially in the NFL. There are countless different things used to measure performance — whether statistically or otherwise — but here goes the case for Carr.
To start, Carr’s strongest case to be the MVP is the easiest measure to quantify — the seven comeback victories he engineered. Carr was directly responsible for each and every one of those come-from-behind wins, whether it was by leading a long drive that setup a field goal or a touchdown, or him delivering the game-winning pass himself.
In 2016, Carr became the first player in NFL history to throw five game-winning touchdown passes in the fourth quarter or overtime, per Elias Sports.
Not Peyton Manning, not Tom Brady, not Aaron Rodgers or anyone else. Carr stands alone in NFL history in this regard. So if someone ever tells you that the clutch gene doesn’t exist, just point to Derek Carr. The only thing you’ll struggle with is which Carr moment to point to.
How about the late touchdown and subsequent game-winning two-point conversion in Week 1?
His fourth touchdown pass on the day against the Ravens, which won the game?
The 4th & 2 touchdown to Crabtree to beat the Chargers?
The franchise-record 513 passing yards against the Buccaneers, capped by an overtime touchdown pass to win the game?
The two fourth quarter touchdown passes to beat the Texans in Mexico City?
Overcoming a dislocated and fractured pinky against the Panthers to tie the game with a touchdown pass, and then to lead the offense on a game-winning drive?
Or the 29 unanswered points in the second half to beat the Bills?
Carr was nothing short of remarkable in 2016. His numbers may not be the flashiest in the league, but they are still excellent. He threw for 3,937 yards, completed 63.8 percent of his passes, and had 28 touchdowns compared to just 6 INTs. With five more quarters worth of stats, he surely would have been around 4,200 yards with at least 30 TDs.
Not to mention the drops that left plenty of yardage and points off the board.
By count of most any publication that keeps track of drops, the Raiders were in the top two or three. Oakland’s wideouts also led the league in drops on 3rd and 4th down, so Carr’s supporting cast didn’t do him many favors here.
While it can’t be denied that other players strong cases for the award — Matt Ryan, Ezekiel Elliott and Tom Brady, namely — what separates Carr from the pack is that he means absolutely everything to the Raiders. Take Carr off the Raiders, and how many games would they win in 2016? Maybe five or six? And that might be generous.
Look at the final five quarters of the regular season and the Wild Card game as evidence. In those nine quarters of action, the Raiders were outscored by a lopsided 62-20. That gives Oakland’s offense an average of 2.22 points per quarter without Carr. Yikes.
The Wild Card game, of course, won’t count as consideration. So taking that game out, the Raiders were outscored 35-6 without Carr in the regular season. If that doesn’t demonstrate value, then nothing will.
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Let’s also take a quick look at his competitors.
Brady? He was suspended for the first four games and oh…his team went 3-1 without him. Pass.
Zeke? Phenomenal running back, but is running behind the best run blocking line in football. He also had a dud of a game, fumbling twice against Washington. Pass.
Stafford laid a dud in Chicago.
Rodgers? Can’t forget that 4-6 start to the season.
The main competition will be Ryan. But arguably the best wide receiver in the NFL on his team as well as an elite offensive coordinator and a much more consistent run game than the one in Oakland, his supporting cast looks quite good in comparison.
Carr’s two duds were both against the Kansas City Chiefs. One of them was just a no excuses, awful game. The other was on a short week, in cold weather with a bum pinky. Giving him a little slack on that one, he was incredibly consistent in 2016.
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Regardless if Carr wins MVP this time around or not, go ahead and pencil him in as the 2017 winner. Better yet, put it in sharpie.