Patrick Mahomes is the Clear MVP

December 19, 2020
With three weeks remaining in the NFL regular season, it’s time to start making cases for who is most deserving of the MVP award. Without a doubt, Patrick Mahomes is the clear-cut favorite.
 
On the surface, it looks like Aaron Rodgers has a slight edge in the MVP race. He leads the NFL in Passer Rating and IQR, and has an edge on Mahomes in terms of completion, interception, and sack rates. However, Mahomes is maintaining similar rate stats to Rodgers with 73 more dropbacks.
 

2020 Summary, MVP Candidates

Name Rating IQR Comp% On-Tgt% Int% Sack%
Aaron Rodgers 119.7 126.4 69.6 79.3 0.9 2.7
Patrick Mahomes 112.3 120.3 68.4 77.6 1.0 3.3

 

These numbers don’t tell the whole story, though. It is important when discussing player awards to isolate the individual contributions they made throughout the season. Numbers for completions, interceptions, touchdowns, and sacks can be too reliant on what players other than the quarterback are doing.

Total Points Earned is useful here because it awards each man on the field an individual value for each play. A great throw will give a quarterback their proper credit, while a short pass that's taken to the house won't give them too much credit. Offensive line performance, catchability of a pass, and drops are also considered.

While Rodgers’ rate stats look nice, Mahomes is the runaway leader in Points Earned in the NFL in 2020.

Mahomes has at least 6 Points Earned in every game this season. His competitors for the MVP race—Aaron Rodgers, and to a lesser extent, Russell Wilson and Josh Allen—all have season-worst Points Earned that are non-positive (-6, -4, 0, respectively). Mahomes also had the league’s best single-game Points Earned total of the season when he put up 21 against the Baltimore Ravens.

While betting markets have Allen and Wilson in the hunt, the MVP race is essentially down to Rodgers and Mahomes. Mahomes has 163 Points Earned on the season, while Rodgers is a not-so-close second with 136.

If Rodgers plays out the final three weeks at his average performance and Mahomes plays at his season-worst each of those three weeks, Rodgers will still trail in Points Earned on the season.

Mahomes’ dominance doesn’t just draw from his cumulative total—from a game-by-game perspective, he is consistently bringing more value to each play.

Total Points Earned per Game since Week 8

Week Mahomes Rodgers
8 13 7
9 15 18
10 (bye) 6
11 18 6
12 18 12
13 18 15
14 7 13

 

There is still a lot of football to be played, but it’s not too early to say that Mahomes is the definitive MVP.

Game Logs is a new, free feature from the SIS DataHub, where you can see game-by-game stats, including Points Earned, for any current player, such as Patrick Mahomes or Aaron Rodgers. The DataHub is an indispensable tool for all of your football data needs.

IQR - Sports Info Solutions' proprietary quarterback metric builds on the traditional Passer Rating formula by considering the value of a quarterback independent of results outside of his control such as dropped passes, dropped interceptions, throwaways, etc.

Total Points Earned - The total of a player's EPA responsibility using the Total Points system that distributes credit among all players on the field for a given play. For passers, this includes accounting for offensive line play, sacks, off-target passes, dropped passes, and dropped interceptions. For rushers, this includes accounting for offensive line play, run direction, broken tackles, and fumbles.

 
 

COMMENTS (2 Comments, most recent shown first)

RichEddy44
Also the major advanced-stat NFL website Football Outsiders has Mahomes as clearly superior.
4:32 PM Dec 19th
 
MarisFan61
Perhaps off the subject, but wanted to note, it is great to see some apparent female participation here!!

BTW I'm assuming that "Sarah" indicates a female, which I realize can't be necessarily assumed. Like, the poet Joyce Kilmer -- not female.
And there have been some NFL and MLB players (can't think of any offhand) whose given first names seemed distinctly female, but weren't. And I'm not counting names like Fran Tarkenton.
And of course there's Judy Johnson.
So I'm not totally assuming!

But "assuming" -- welcome, and great to see this.
I've only been aware of one female participant on this site, and her presence was very brief.


On the article itself: Interesting and somewhat surprising. I don't follow the NFL closely enough to really know, but, it seems like Mahomes isn't someone that has been that-much noted this year, nor particularly Rodgers. At least in these parts (New York), others seem to have gotten much more buzz. I realize full well that amount of buzz doesn't necessarily relate to actual performance.

3:01 PM Dec 19th
 
 
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