The reigning Super Bowl MVP, Patrick Mahomes, hasn’t won the regular-season NFL MVP award either of the last two seasons.
He’s probably OK with that, and would certainly deal with it if he could hoist a second-straight Lombardi Trophy while being the MVP of the season’s final game again. But it’s at least a bit ironic that Mahomes has proven he may indeed be the league’s most valuable player while never winning the award that capitalizes the first letter of those three words.
Of course, Mahomes has lost out to two magnificent seasons, first Lamar Jackson in 2019 and then Aaron Rodgers in 2020, finishing a distant third in voting (Bills QB Josh Allen was second). From a statistical standpoint, both had better individual seasons than Mahomes. At that point, it all comes down to how folks want to define “valuable,” which is a conversation for another day.
In the meantime, here’s a look at why Mahomes may have missed out on MVP for a second consecutive season after claiming the honor in 2018.
Why didn’t Patrick Mahomes win MVP?
To put it simply: Aaron Rodgers had a better regular season than Patrick Mahomes.
The MVP is a regular-season award, taking into account nothing that happens in the postseason. And Rodgers finished the season on fire while Mahomes didn’t even play Week 17, pushing the Packers’ great ahead of Mahomes in the voting.
Rodgers finished the 2020 season with 48 touchdown passes compared to Mahomes’ 38 while throwing one fewer interception. Rodgers also completed a greater percentage of his passes, 70.7 percent to 66.3 percent, while averaging an additional tenth of a yard per pass attempt.
In both the old-school quarterback rating and the new-school QBR, Rodgers was superior to Mahomes and in fact led the league in those categories. For 16 regular season games, Rodgers played better than Mahomes, and more often than not these days, the MVP award is won by the best-playing quarterback.
When is NFL MVP voted on?
Voting for the MVP award takes place after the final regular season game and before the first playoff game. This season, the regular season concluded on Sunday, Jan. 3, and the playoffs started on Saturday, Jan. 9.
That means that all votes cast for Rodgers, Mahomes or otherwise were submitted the week of Jan. 4. If recency bias mattered at all, Rodgers had just thrown for 346 yards and three TDs while Mahomes didn’t play Week 17. Both of their teams earned their conference’s lone first-round bye for the playoffs.
The award isn’t announced the night before the Super Bowl, but it’s been decided for almost a month by that point who the NFL MVP is — the world just doesn’t know until Feb. 6.
SN’s NFL AWARDS: Full list of 2020 winners as voted on by players
Patrick Mahomes vs. Aaron Rodgers vs. Josh Allen stats
|Completion %||Passing yards||Total TDs||INTs||Rushing yards||QBR|
MORE NFL AWARDS: Sporting News 2020 NFL All-Pro team
History of NFL MVP award by year
The Associated Press NFL Most Valuable Player Award is the one cited whenever discussing NFL MVPs. The AP considers the first year it awarded the current honor to be 1961, so below is a list dating to 1961 of the winners of the AP NFL MVP.
|1997||Brett Favre/Barry Sanders||QB/RB||Packers/Lions|
|2003||Peyton Manning/Steve McNair||QB/QB||Colts/Titans|