Recently, at least two national media figures (ESPN’s Dan Orlovsky and CBS’s Cody Benjamin) have mentioned the word ‘MVP’ in the same sentence with Justin Fields, and that’s something most Chicago Bears fans have never experienced in their lives.
A Bears quarterback mentioned as a potential MVP candidate? Truly wild times we live in.
Most people will tell us to pump the brakes with such talk, and they’re not wrong. Justin Fields will not win the MVP award this year unless the Bears go on a miracle run to finish the season 10-7. But that brings us to a problem I have with the MVP award: it’s a team accomplishment, to a degree. Excellent players on losing teams aren’t candidates for the award, and I don’t think that’s fair. Football is the ultimate team sport, so why should a team’s win-loss record count when you’re considering the most valuable player?
Consider Deshaun Watson’s 2020 season: 4,800 yards, 33 touchdowns, completed 70% of his 544 passes, and finished with a passer rating of 112.4. However, he was never even considered for the award, due mainly to the Texans winning just four games.
Shouldn’t excellence on a terrible team count more toward the MVP award? A league-average quarterback should be sufficient to get a playoff berth when you have a team with as much offensive talent as the Bills, the Chiefs, or the Eagles. So if a quarterback is putting up impressive numbers and breaking NFL records on a roster many have derided as Bush League, why don’t we factor that into the voting equation? Shouldn’t the most valuable player be the guy doing more with less?
I understand why voting is the way it is. The best NFL teams usually feature quarterbacks that are the face of the league and the powers that be want these guys to have accolades congruent with their abilities and their team’s record. And I’m not advocating completely rewriting the rules for selecting the MVP, either. It’s just a little unfair to players like Justin Fields. He’s a quarterback making history every week for the past month, but the idea of considering him as the MVP is dismissed because his team isn’t talented enough to get some wins.
Hopefully, with the Bears’ first-round draft pick creeping ever higher and with the mountain of money general manager Ryan Poles has in the 2023 vault, the Bears should be able to add the talent necessary to win more of these close games. Maybe then we will see Justin Fields get some genuine attention in the MVP race.
Until then, Bears fans must be content with the ridiculous highlight reels their quarterback is compiling in losing games.