McCaffrey deserves MVP consideration

Keith+Allison+%7C+Wikimedia+CommonsChristian+McCaffrey+has+been+the+focal+point+of+the+Panther%E2%80%99s+offense+this+season.

Keith Allison | Wikimedia CommonsChristian McCaffrey has been the focal point of the Panther’s offense this season.

Kyle McKee

Historically, the MVP award in the NFL has gone to quarterbacks. The last time a non-quarterback won the award was in 2012, when running back Adrian Peterson took home the trophy. That year, Peterson totaled an amazing 2,097 yards, 12 touchdowns, 6 yards per attempt and 131 yards per game. Those numbers sit amongst the greatest running backs of all time and closely resemble the prime seasons of hall of famers Barry Sanders, Marshall Faulk, Emmitt Smith and Jim Brown, to name only a few. 

Right now, Christian McCaffrey is having a season on par with those listed above. McCaffrey, despite being undersized is leading the NFL in rushing yards per game, scrimmage yards per game and rushing touchdowns. 

McCaffrey is on pace to finish the season with 2,488 scrimmage yards, which would be the second most in NFL history behind only Chris Johnson’s 2,509 yards in 2009. He also is projected to score 26 scrimmage touchdowns. To compare, three of the four players who scored as many touchdowns won the MVP award. 

McCaffrey’s season with that of 2012 MVP Peterson and 2006 MVP Tomlinson, shows nearly identical numbers. In 2009, Chris Johnson produced similar numbers, if not better, and still did not win the award. 

But unlike those other running backs, McCaffrey is a dual threat. Not only can he sidestep defenders with impeccable footwork, or break tackles, McCaffrey can run routes and catch the majority of balls thrown his direction. His completion to target ratio is on par with that of most NFL wide receivers. He also is a receiving threat in the end zone, with multiple receiving touchdowns in the RedZone this season. 

This complicates things for defenses, as there are very few all around defensive talents, as positions in NFL defenses are based on player specialties. This opens up Carolina’s offense, with McCaffrey usually being double marked as the Panther’s approach their end zone. In the NFL there are players who are between good and great. The good players are able to put up big numbers when they are up against mediocre to sub-par defenses. Usually, this is because the good players only excel in one facet of the game. 

A good example of this kind of player is DeSean Jackson, who takes advantage of slow defenses with his explosive speed and footwork. T

hroughout his career, Jackson has been shut down by either tough man-to-man cornerbacks such as Darrelle Revis, Richard Sherman or Champ Bailey. McCaffrey however, is not slowed down by even the most elite of NFL defenses. Against the San Francisco 49ers, who hold running backs to the second fewest yards in the entire NFL, McCaffrey rushed for 117 yards and a touchdown, while catching another touchdown. 

Who could forget the season opener against the Los Angeles Rams, in which McCaffrey rushed for 128 yards, 2 touchdowns and received 10 passes for 81 yards. Clearly McCaffrey is unstoppable this year, against all NFL defenses. So, if MVP goes to a quarterback which it most likely will, he should be a top contender for Offensive Player of the Year. He deserves at least that.