These days most people think of Simpson’s infamous trial and criminal antics. It’s easy to forget that the former Bills star was one of the greatest players of the 1970s. He won the MVP award in 1974 after a scorching campaign with the franchise. He ran through the regular season as though opposition teams wronged him.
This was when Simpson became the first player in history to rush for over 2,000 yards. It’s all the more remarkable because he achieved this in just 14 games when player health wasn’t a consideration. Meanwhile, he led the NFL across other metrics including rushing touchdowns (via Sportskeeda).
This was another fantastic season for Manning and his fans. He threw a record 49 touchdown passes as the Colts blitzed through the regular season. Furthermore, this came before the NFL tightened restrictions on defensive backs. This made it one of the most stunning achievements of his career (via Bleacher Report).
The five-time MVP had some fantastic moments but this was up there with the best. He also threw at least five touchdown passes in four games. It’s no surprise that he won the NFL Offensive Player of the Year Award. Manning threw for over 4,500 yards that season but the Colts fell short in the playoffs.
Taylor became the second defensive specialist to win the NFL MVP award when voters chose him in 1986. Remarkably, no other defensive player has won the coveted prize since. Nonetheless, Taylor earned the MVP after a magnificent season with the Giants. The man was like a brick wall and nobody could block him.
He led the league in sacks, notching with an impressive 20 as he demonstrated his attrition. Many analysts believe that Taylor had a better season than Alan Page who was the first defensive player to become an MVP. Meanwhile, the Giants defeated the Broncos in the Super Bowl so he also won a ring (via USA Today Sports).
In 2021, Rodgers became one of the few players to win an MVP award in consecutive years. He claimed it for the second year in a row after a series of brilliant performances for the Packers. Surprisingly, he didn’t win the Offensive Player of the Year award as Cooper Kupp claimed that prize.
The Green Bay quarterback passed for 4,115 yards with 37 touchdowns. However, some fans sneered at Rodgers after the Packers crashed out of the playoffs in the divisional round. Critics mocked his regular season output compared to his struggles when every game mattered (via Sky Sports).
Warner’s story is one of the most incredible in sports history because he won everything against the odds. The undrafted free agent quarterback played in NFL Europe before he made it in the U.S. Then he led ‘The Greatest Show on Turf’ to greatness. They won Super Bowls and Warner claimed an MVP award.
He passed for 4,830 yards in 2001 with 36 touchdowns. Meanwhile, he achieved a stunning average of 301 passing yards per game. This was an outstanding year and Warner was at the peak of his powers. In the end, the 14-2 Rams became one of the few teams on this list to seal the deal (via Clutchpoints).
It’s a shame that Newton’s career fizzled out like an old balloon because he was brilliant in 2015. Fans will never forget his MVP season as it appeared he was on course for a Hall of Fame career. The Panthers devastated opponents that year and Newton led them to a Super Bowl appearance (via Sky Sports).
But this is all about his regular season exploits as he threw for over 3,800 passing yards. Remarkably, he achieved this despite losing Carolina’s star receiver in Week One. He threw 45 touchdown passes as he demonstrated his deadly accuracy. Furthermore, he had one of the best running games in the entire NFL.
These days we associate the MVP award with quarterbacks, but there used to be more diversity. Faulk was the first of a string of running backs to win an MVP award in the 2000s. His achievement came in the first year of the decade as he took the league by storm. He won the most votes after a stunning Super Bowl-winning season for the Rams.
Faulk rushed for 1,359 yards and accumulated 830 receiving yards as St. Louis stormed through the regular season. Meanwhile, he scored a combined total of 26 touchdowns as opposition defenses failed to handle him. Faulk was one of the best running backs of his generation and this was an amazing triumph (via Bleacher Report).
This was an amazing regular season for Manning because it came against the odds. The Colts reluctantly allowed him to go to Denver because they thought he was past his peak. Most people believed that a debilitating neck injury would slow him down but Manning proved them wrong (via SBNation).
Manning racked up over 5,500 passing yards and threw a ludicrous 55 touchdowns as the Broncos stormed into the playoffs in a season that fans will never forget. Unfortunately, things went wrong for Manning and co. in the Super Bowl. Nonetheless, this was a majestic season and he won his ring with the Broncos two seasons later.
It’s almost unthinkable for a defensive player to win the MVP award because only two have achieved this. Page became the first defensive tackle in history to claim the coveted award after a great year in 1971. The two-time Defensive Player of the Year was a true trailblazer and one of the greatest of all time.
Page set higher numbers the previous year but didn’t win the award. Nonetheless, his consistent excellence saw him achieve what no defensive player had won before. He recorded nine sacks, three fumble recoveries, and two safeties across the season for the Vikings. Page was a player ahead of his time (via Pro Football HOF).
Quarterbacks have won the overwhelming majority of MVP awards in the 21st Century. However, some players made their case inarguable because they had elite years. In 2006, Tomlinson lit up the NFL with the Chargers as he scored a record 31 touchdowns. Nobody could handle the amazing running back because he had everything.
Meanwhile, Tomlinson rushed for 1,815 yards with over 506 receiving yards. It’s rare that a running back has a season like this but it was one that fans will never forget. Many people think that Tomlinson was one of the best in his position of all time because of his consistent excellence (via ESPN).
Quarterbacks won the MVP award in every year of the 2010s with a single exception. We’re talking about Peterson’s unreal 2012 season with the Vikings in a year that fans will never forget. The craziest aspect of this was that he returned from a torn ACL and an MCL injury. But nobody would have known because he was phenomenal.
Nobody could stop him as he rushed for over 2000 yards with 12 rushing touchdowns. Everybody knew that he was Minnesota’s biggest threat but it didn’t matter. His poise and athleticism combined in a lethal package for one of the greatest MVP seasons ever. It’s a shame that he never won a Super Bowl because his career deserved a ring (via NFL.com).