The NFL MVP award is almost always given to a quarterback.
With the quarterback being the most important position on the field, it’s not surprising that the award goes to the signal-caller with the most impressive season.
The last time a non-quarterback won the MVP award was in 2012 when Minnesota Vikings’ running back Adrian Peterson took home the hardware.
In 2021, it might be time for another running back to claim the award, snatching it away from the quarterbacks. And his name is Jonathan Taylor.
Before Sunday, Taylor was already having an All-Pro-like season. The second-year back had totaled 937 yards (T-1st in the NFL) and nine touchdowns (3rd) on the ground to go along with 303 yards and a touchdown through the air in only 10 games.
Then came the massacre of the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.
Going up against the third-best run defense in the NFL, Taylor put on one of the best performances you’ll ever see from a running back. Whether it was running over defenders or making guys miss, he did it all on his way to 185 yards on 32 carries and four touchdowns. JT also caught three balls for 19 yards and another score, giving him five touchdowns as the Indianapolis Colts rolled the Bills 41-15.
“They all were my favorite,” Taylor said when asked what his favorite touchdown was. “Any time you get into the end zone, it’s a good day.”
Five touchdowns in a game are a new Colts’ franchise record. After the game, Colts’ owner Jim Irsay had some words with his superstar running back.
“He told me how proud he was,” Taylor revealed. “He said he spoke to Edgerrin (James) as well, and it kind of makes you want to go out there each and every single week during practice to put the work in so that it comes to life on the field on Sunday and you’re able to back him up and prove him right.”
Today was a performance not seen by a Colts running back since the days of James, where no matter who was on the other side, everyone knew James was going to dominate. Taylor has arisen into that category. Teams know the Colts are going to “Run The Damn Ball” and ride Taylor throughout the game. It hasn’t mattered.
“A game like he had today honestly doesn’t surprise me anymore because every single week he shows up and shows out,” Colts quarterback Carson Wentz said. “He makes big plays and especially in a game like this where we thought coming in, we had to establish the line of scrimmage and the big boys up front did that. JT, he did the rest.”
Wentz continued, “He’s incredible. He’s incredible. I just appreciate they let me get in on the fun with one of those touchdowns but no, he’s a beast. We’re going to ride him as much as we can.”
Taylor on the year has 1,122 yards (5.8 avg) and 13 touchdowns in 11 games, leading the league in both categories. His 1,444 yards from scrimmage also lead the NFL, and the superstar has a chance to surpass 2,000 yards from scrimmage with six games remaining.
One of the unique traits that Taylor possesses is his unselfishness. In an era where many superstars want to point to their accomplishments and take the spotlight, Taylor will always credit his teammates, most notably his offensive line, before anything else.
“I love him, we try to put attention on him and you can tell he’s uncomfortable,” Colts head coach Frank Reich said. “I just think – the most important thing is, (Taylor’s) not too high, not too low but you need everyone to embody that. When some of your best players and your leaders really believe that and live that out, that really helps matters. He’s the perfect example of that. He’s a great leader and a great player.”
There’s no one in the NFL playing as well as Taylor is right now. There may not be a player more important to his team’s success right now than JT, either. The proof is in the stats.
In 2021, when Taylor carries the ball at least 18 times, the Colts are 4-0. When Taylor carries the ball 17 times or less, Indy is 2-5 in such games. When the Colts feed JT, great things are bound to happen.
The Colts are a completely different team when Taylor is having success. It’s how Reich envisioned this offense before the season started; relying on Taylor and running back Nyheim Hines to keep defenses honest so all of the pressure would not be on Wentz to will this team to victory.
But Taylor has taken it to another level. He’s gone from a starter, to a star, to a superstar in less than a season. Can he become the first non-quarterback NFL MVP since 2012?
“If any skill position player should be MVP, Jonathan Taylor should be first in line,” Hines said.
I think many would agree with that statement.
Have thoughts on Jonathan Taylor being in the conversation for NFL MVP? Drop a line in the comments and let us know what you think!
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