Barry Sanders – 1997
The Detroit Lions rarely enjoy any kind of success but for many seasons they had the league’s best running back in Sanders. He won the MVP award after an electrifying season in 1997. Sanders rushed for 2,053 yards with 11 rushing touchdowns. Meanwhile, he scored another three receiving touchdowns and showed a complete game.
The dysfunctional Lions didn’t deserve Sanders’ talents because he was an outstanding player. This was also the second year that he won the Offensive Player of the Year award after achieving his first in 1994. Sanders delivered consistently for Detroit and stayed loyal to them throughout his career (via Yardbreaker).