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NFL MVP Win Shares: Tom Brady Deserves An Extra Half of an MVP Award from Peyton Manning

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Pro Football Talk's Michael David Smith posed an interesting question on Twitter this morning:

Well that's certainly interesting. The way that Major League Baseball (MLB) constructs their voting for Most Valuable Player (MVP) is slightly different from the methods of the National Football League (NFL).

In baseball, the voters make a ranked list of their top 10 players, with additional points awarded to their first place vote and fewer points to their tenth place vote. Every ballot is added together to determine which player has earned the most points, and that player is named MVP.

Of course this means that history will forget the player who came in second place in a given year, even though they could be considered the second best player in the entire sport. The website Baseball Reference has tallied all of the historical ballots and created a statistic called an "Award Share" to give some value to the non-winners.

In other hypothetical words, a player that received 30% of the votes, but didn't win, would pick up 0.30 of an award share, while the winner with 70% of the vote would earn 0.70 of an award share. Using a percentage helps because the numbers of voters has changed over the years.

Got it?

In football, there isn't a ranked ballot, but instead just one player named from each voter. The website MVP Voting has done an outstanding job compiling the results over the years, with the last consecutive season of full data dating back to 1986. He has some partial and full results mixed in from an earlier time period, but we'll start our win share calculations in 1986.

We all know that quarterback Peyton Manning has won five MVP awards, and his Award Share is 4.58, which means that he's earned 0.42 awards above expectation. New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has two MVP awards (2007, 2010), but his award share is 2.40, which means that he's earned 0.40 fewer awards than expected.

It's only fair that Peyton break off 40% of one of his awards (preferably his 2009 award) and mails it to Brady. That said, props to Peyton for having nearly double the MVP shares of any other player.

Quarterback Brett Favre has 3 awards, but only 2.20 shares, which means he is 0.80 above expectation- and that Brady has actually received a greater percentage of MVP votes in their respective careers, despite Favre's extra award.

Quarterbacks Steve Young, Aaron Rodgers, Joe Montana, and Kurt Warner all own between 1.0-1.8 MVP shares since 1986, and they all have multiple MVPs to their name. Warner has the most awards above expectation, with 2 awards against 1.11 MVP shares.

No other player has more than 1.0 MVP shares.

Quarterback Randall Cunningham and wide receiver Jerry Rice are the only players in a worse position than Brady. Both have zero MVPs to their name, while Rice has a 0.69 MVP share, and Cunningham has a crazy 0.83 MVP share.

Here's the full list of MVP Shares dating back to 1986:

Player # MVPs MVP Shares vs Expected
QB Peyton Manning 5 4.58 0.42
QB Tom Brady 2 2.40 -0.40
QB Brett Favre 3 2.20 0.80
QB Steve Young 2 1.78 0.22
QB Aaron Rodgers 2 1.58 0.42
QB Joe Montana 2 1.44 0.56
QB Kurt Warner 2 1.11 0.89
RB Marshall Faulk 1 0.99 0.01
QB Cam Newton 1 0.96 0.04
QB John Elway 1 0.95 0.05
RB LaDainian Tomlinson 1 0.88 0.12
RB Barry Sanders 1 0.83 0.17
QB Randall Cunningham 0 0.83 -0.83
WR Jerry Rice 0 0.69 -0.69
RB Adrian Peterson 1 0.67 0.33
RB Terrell Davis 1 0.59 0.41
QB Steve McNair 1 0.55 0.45
RB Emmitt Smith 1 0.53 0.47
ED Lawrence Taylor 1 0.51 0.49
QB Rich Gannon 1 0.50 0.50
RB Thurman Thomas 1 0.48 0.52
QB Boomer Esiason 1 0.45 0.55
QB Shaun Alexander 1 0.38 0.62
QB Jim Kelly 0 0.28 -0.28
QB Drew Brees 0 0.27 -0.27
DL JJ Watt 0 0.26 -0.26
RB Roger Craig 0 0.25 -0.25
QB Warren Moon 0 0.22 -0.22
QB Donovan McNabb 0 0.22 -0.22
RB Eric Dickerson 0 0.21 -0.21
RB Eddie George 0 0.16 -0.16
ED Bruce Smith 0 0.14 -0.14
RB Barry Foster 0 0.14 -0.14
QB Tiki Barber 0 0.12 -0.12
QB Dan Marino 0 0.11 -0.11
RB Jamal Lewis 0 0.10 -0.10
QB Mark Rypien 0 0.10 -0.10
QB Don Majkowski 0 0.09 -0.09
WR Randy Moss 0 0.09 -0.09
RB Jamal Anderson 0 0.09 -0.09
RB Priest Holmes 0 0.08 -0.08
RB Michael Turner 0 0.08 -0.08
QB Kordell Stewart 0 0.08 -0.08
QB Chad Pennington 0 0.08 -0.08
QB Philip Rivers 0 0.08 -0.08
RB Jerome Bettis 0 0.07 -0.07
RB Joe Morris 0 0.06 -0.06
QB Carson Palmer 0 0.06 -0.06
LB Ray Lewis 0 0.06 -0.06
ED James Harrison 0 0.06 -0.06
DL Dana Stubblefield 0 0.05 -0.05
QB Michael Vick 0 0.04 -0.04
LB Brian Urlacher 0 0.04 -0.04
RB DeMarco Murray 0 0.04 -0.04
QB Tony Romo 0 0.04 -0.04
QB Steve Deberg 0 0.04 -0.04
WR Sterling Sharpe 0 0.04 -0.04
QB Troy Aikman 0 0.04 -0.04
DT Keith Millard 0 0.03 -0.03
RB Marcus Allen 0 0.02 -0.02
S Carnell Lake 0 0.02 -0.02
QB Jim Harbaugh 0 0.02 -0.02
LB Derrick Brooks 0 0.02 -0.02
LB Bobby Wagner 0 0.02 -0.02
RB Chris Johnson 0 0.02 -0.02
RB Edgerrin James 0 0.02 -0.02
DL Cortez Kennedy 0 0.01 -0.01
QB Tony Eason 0 0.01 -0.01
RB Walter Payton 0 0.01 -0.01
TE Mark Bavaro 0 0.01 -0.01
QB Phil Simms 0 0.01 -0.01
LB Seth Joyner 0 0.01 -0.01
CB Deion Sanders 0 0.01 -0.01