24 seasons ago, despite playing in only 12 games that season due to the 1987 NFL players strike, Jerry Rice still managed to gain 1,078 receiving yards and an NFL record 22 touchdown receptions. That record stood unitl 2007. Randy Moss broke the record in which he needed 16 games in order to do it.
That year, in 1987, the Associated Press voted Denver Broncos John Elway NFL most valuable player. Jerry Rice of the San Francisco 49ers was voted NFL MVP by Pro Football Writers Association of America, Newspaper Enterprise Association, Maxwell Club of Philadelphia & The Sporting News.
Most of us know by now that the MVP award is not awarded by a players performance during the season and the playoffs. Last years awarding to Tom Brady is proof positive of this. By no means am I insinuating that Brady didnt deserve it with his performance last year. All I’m saying is if the voting counted both the regular season along with the playoffs then voters may have been swayed to vote for Aaron Rodgers instead of Tom Brady.
With that being said and without further ado let’s proceed to my main point. If the award is based off of season performance alone. Then why couldn’t Andre Johnson of the Houston Texans contend for that award this year?
Stars and moons would have to align perfectly along with several other things that would have to happen in order for this to take place. First off the Associated Press would have to open its mind and deem a wide receiver worthy of the NFL Most Valuable Player Award. Something that has never happened in the history of the NFL. Now why is that? Is it because they feel without a quarterback throwing the receiver the ball then the wide receiver really is a lost after thought on the field? In the 54 year history of the AP’s award there has been 36 QB’s and 17 RB’s chosen for the award. In 1997 and 2003 there were Co-MVP’s awarded. In 1982 a Washington Redskins placekicker, Mark Moseley won the APs NFL MVP award. Now I must ask again, if a place kicker can be awarded the award then most certainly a wide receiver can be anointed the hardware?
Now I know Andre Johnson wouldn’t want the award unless it came as a result of overall team success but the Houston Texans would most certainly contend for the AFC south division if Andre Johnson put up the kind of numbers needed to warrant MVP award consideration. And don’t expect the AP to even toss a look in a wide receivers direction if the personal stats were there but team success was not.
Andre Johnson is the best wide receiver in football at the moment. Some might have a problem with that statement but it will be hard for them to offer up a logical argument to prove otherwise. Last year alone Johnson missed 3 games and still ended up with 86 receptions for 1,216 yards, ranking Johnson 6th in both categories. Still ranking 6th while missing 3 games seems quite a feat. Andre Johnson lead the league with 93.5 receiving yards per game last year. Some may argue if playing the full 16 game season that average may have dropped some but then if that is your argument then you must also be open to the idea that playing in 3 more games could of easily bumped his average up over 100 yards per game. Something that hasn’t been done since 2003. As a matter of fact Andre Johnson has led the NFL in receiving yards per game the last four years in a row, 2009- 98.1ypg, 2008- 98.4 ypg & 2007-94.6 ypg.
Understandably leading the league in receiving yards per game isn’t going to win the hardware for Johnson. He (Johnson) would need to be tops in the league in every receiving category along with eclipsing the 20 touchdown mark. This is something he has never even came close to doing. Andre Johnson has never had more than 9 touchdowns in a season. This is likely due to the lack of a consistent threat at the number two receiving postion and constant double teams that most pay compliment to Johnson and his skill set.
All that could change this year. The Texans could address wide out spot opposite side of Johnson via free agency. This would force defenses to play Andre Johnson more honest. Giving Johnson more one on one coverage could account for more total touchdowns thrown Johnson’s way. Wade Phillips coming in and installing a new defense that is sure to improve a defensive secondary that had more holes than a sponge. With this defensive improvement it should yield a legitimate run at a division title for the Houston Texans first playoff birth. A playoff run spearheaded by a great statistical season by Johnson could be exactly what the doctor ordered for a legitimate look at an MVP award for Johnson.
Until the Associated Press begins to recognize players other than QB’s and RB’s when it’s time to vote an for MVP Johnson doesn’t stand a chance. However the national media will at some point need to begin to look at the Houston Texans as a team with some very explosive weapons. But maybe…just maybe if a culmination of all things discussed begin to come to pass then we could see Andre Johnson as a legitimate candidate for a league MVP award. However as fans we need to bring attention to the media that here in Houston we have someone that may warrant MVP consideration in 2011 or in the years to follow.
So once as the season begins and Andre Johnson begins his usual statistical assault on the league and the Texans begin to reel off win after win then call-in to radio shows, post articles or blogs and remind someone in the mainstream media to not forget about Houston Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson.