San Francisco 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey is having a historic season and should be the NFL’s Most Valuable Player. Yes, McCaffrey is a running back, and skill position players don’t win MVP. But come on, McCaffrey is the best player on the best team in the league. Yes, McCaffrey’s teammate, 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy, is also an MVP candidate is currently the odds-on favorite to win the award. But does it really make sense?
Purdy is having a really good season, no doubt about it. He’s on pace to throw for 4,512 yards, score 35 total touchdowns, and toss nine interceptions. Yes, these are really good numbers for a quarterback. But last season, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes won MVP throwing for 5,250 yards, 41 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions. Yes, the NFL as a whole is experiencing a down year in quarterback play, Mahomes included. But that doesn’t mean that we HAVE to give a quarterback MVP.
If quarterbacks as a whole are having a down year, the MVP should be given to the best-skill position player. And this current moment, McCaffrey and Miami’s Tyreek Hill are the two best players in football. 4,500 yards, 35 touchdowns, and less than 10 interceptions are no doubt great numbers for a quarterback, but they are not MVP numbers. Besides, most people would tell you that McCaffrey is the best player on the 49ers. So why shouldn’t the MVP go to the best player on the best team in the league?
The Case for Christian McCaffrey to be MVP
The Obsession with Quarterbacks
Right now, Purdy and Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts are both top three to be the odds-on favorite to win MVP, with Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott sandwiched in between the two. Purdy, Prescott, and Hurts are all having fine seasons. Their teams are doing very well and are the three of the best teams in the NFC. However, McCaffrey and Hill aren’t having “fine” seasons. They are having historic seasons.
McCaffrey is currently on pace to eclipse 2,071 total scrimmage yards and 24 touchdowns. This is a historic stat line. Only eight running backs in the history of the NFL have ever crossed 2,000 yards and only five have scored more than 24 touchdowns. Currently, McCaffrey leads the NFL in total rushing yards, rushing yards after contact, runs of 10+ yards, runs of 15+ yards, runs for first down, most catches for a running back for a first down, most touchdowns receiving for a running back, and most receiving yards for a running back.
Christian McCaffrey leads the NFL in:
Rushing yards – 1,033
Rushing yards after contact – 699
Missed tackles rushing – 48
Runs of 10+ yards – 28
Runs of 15+ yards – 13
1st downs rushing – 63
1st downs receiving by RB – 24
TDs receiving by a RB – 5
Receiving yards by a RB – 429
— Jeff Deeney (jeffdeeney on Threads) (@PFF_Jeff) December 6, 2023
Meanwhile, Tyreek Hill is on pace to have the first 2,000-yard receiving season of all time. Considering the fact that receivers such as Jerry Rice, Randy Moss, Terrell Owens, Michael Irvin, Marvin Harrison, Calvin Johnson, and more have played this game and Hill is the first to be on pace to reach that milestone is astounding. This alone should make Hill a frontrunner and make him a true contender for the award. He is having the greatest season of any receiver of all time. Doing something that has never been done before.
Why Aren’t McCaffrey and Hill True Contenders?
There is a very easy answer to this question. It’s the fact that the NFL seems to think that quarterbacks are automatically the most valuable players on winning teams. Is Brock Purdy the Most Valuable Player on the 49ers? No, he is not. This is a very easy question to answer. So why does he have more odds to win the award than the ACTUAL Most Valuable Player on the 49ers?
The same goes for the Dolphins. Tua Tagovailoa, like Purdy, is a very good quarterback. But is he the best player on the Dolphins? The most valuable? No! It’s Tyreek Hill.
This is a good enough case for a non-quarterback to win a quarterback award for this season. If Purdy or Hurts or Prescott wins MVP over McCaffrey or Hill, the NFL should just rename the award “the Quarterback on the Best Team in the League Award”.
Main Image: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports