BLOG: If NFL MVP is truly an individual award, David Johnson should win it

Posted at 7:06 PM, Dec 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-19 13:22:32-05

Once again, David Johnson simply did what his teammates have come to expect from him.

For the 14th time in 14 games this year, the Arizona Cardinals' 2015 third-round pick gained over 100 total yards of offense. He also scored touchdowns No. 16 and 17 on the season.

"As impressive as a stat as that is, you kind of expect it. He's that good a player," Cardinals quarterback said after the game.

Doesn't that comment say it all? Another game, another 100-yard performance from Johnson. Same old, same old.

The fact that Johnson's teammates expect that kind of excellence from him week in and week out should tell you all you need to know about his candidacy for the NFL's Most Valuable Player award.

Emphasis on the word "should" because, even though Johnson has been the NFL's best player in 2016, his chances of winning an individual award are slim to none.

Why? Because his team has just five wins in 14 games.

After Johnson compiled 108 total yards and scored two rushing touchdowns in the Cards' loss to the Saints, I asked Palmer whether the 6-foot-1, 225-pounder from Northern Iowa should be in the MVP discussion despite the team's record.

"Absolutely," he said. "If not the best player, I think he's one of the best players in this game.

"There's obviously an argument for a lot of teams, and typically that award goes to a team with a better record, or the player who has the better record. But there's no doubt he's one of a kind."

Here's a quick rundown of what Johnson has accomplished during his second NFL season. (You'll notice the word "history" is used quite often in the list below.)

-On Sunday, he became the first player in NFL history to gain 100-plus yards from scrimmage in each of his team's first 14 games of the season.

-His two touchdowns vs. the Saints gave him 17 TDs on the season, tied with John David Crow for the most in a single season in the Cardinals' 118-year history.

-He has scored multiple touchdowns in seven games this season, the most in franchise history and the most in the NFL since Arian Foster also did it seven times in 2010.

-He has scored 104 points, more than any non-kicker has scored this season.

-Also, this:

Johnson also has an outside shot to become just the third player in NFL history to record 1,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards in the same season. Only the Rams' Marshall Faulk and the 49ers' Roger Craig have ever accomplished this.

"Only two people have done it, and those are two great players. I definitely have that on my radar," Johnson said. "The players have talked to me about that, and hopefully I'll have a chance to do that."

Again, Johnson won't win the NFL's MVP award, for the simple reason that his team is going to finish the season with a losing record. In the history of the award, no player has won it in a year in which his team had more losses than wins. (The worst-ever mark of a team to boast the league's MVP was 9-7, when Barry Sanders won the award with the Lions in 1997.)

In other words: Would-be MVP candidates are essentially disqualified from winning an individual award if their team under-performs. If that makes any sense to you, please find me on Twitter and explain it to me.

Let's be clear: David Johnson hasn't missed an extra point this season. He hasn't given up a big pass play. He hasn't thrown a costly interception or had a bad snap on a field-goal attempt.

All Johnson has done is given the Cardinals a better chance to win every single time they've taken the field this year. Isn't that the definition of Most Valuable Player? 

If MVP were truly an individual award and not simply given to a really good player on a really good team, Johnson would be this year's winner.

But unlike Johnson's consistently amazing on-field performance, it's not something Cardinals fans should expect.