It’s unheard of—the NFL MVP award going to someone other than a quarterback or running back. After all, those are the two positions that pile up the huge yards, big scores, and glitzy end zone celebrations. Offense rules the NFL. In fact, the last non-quarterback or running back to win football’s highest honor was wide receiver Jerry Rice in 1987.
Go back just one more year, though, to 1986, to find the single defensive player to join the MVP club: Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor.
The famed Giants linebacker has held this lone honor tor 27 years, but don’t be surprised if he is finally joined by another defender following the 2012-2013 season.
J.J. Watt, defensive end of the Houston Texans, is one of the game’s most electric players to watch. In only his second year in the NFL, he has recorded 54 tackles and 13 pass deflections. The 6’5”, 290-pound athlete dominates the offensive line, ranking second in the league with 14.5 sacks. Watt is revolutionizing the defensive end position.
He is a game changer, dominating as a pass rusher, run stopper, and pass deflector. He has a presence in every matchup, and he creates understandable apprehension in the eyes of quarterbacks and in the minds of offensive coordinators. As the Houston Texans continue their impressive 10-1 record, Watt emerges as a leader of the AFC’s best team.
Sure, the history of the NFL MVP award does not play to the favor of J.J. Watt. But with the race still tight, without any runaway nominee, Watt will be as imposing in this competition as he is on the gridiron.