|NFL awards from the Associated Press|
The Associated Press NFL Most Valuable Player Award is presented annually by the Associated Press (AP) to the National Football League (NFL) player deemed to have been the "most valuable" in that year's regular season. While there have been many selectors of NFL MVPs in the past, today the MVP award presented by the AP is considered the de facto official NFL MVP award and the most prestigious. Since 2011, the NFL has held the annual NFL Honors ceremony to recognize the winner of each year's Associated Press MVP award, along with other AP awards, such as the AP NFL Offensive Player of the Year and AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year. The incumbent AP NFL MVP is Matt Ryan, who led the Atlanta Falcons to an 11–5 record and whose 117.1 passer rating was the highest among quarterbacks in the 2016 season.
The AP has presented an award recognizing the NFL's top player since 1957, although the pre-1961 awardees are recognized as winning the AP's "NFL Most Outstanding Player Award", and the 1962 award is considered the AP's "Player of the Year" award. The award is voted upon by a panel of 50 sportswriters at the end of the regular season, before the playoffs, though the results are not announced to the public until the day before the Super Bowl. The sportswriters chosen regularly follow the NFL, and remain mostly consistent from year to year. They are chosen based on expertise and are independent of the league itself. Voters for the award have included Troy Aikman of Fox Sports; Cris Collinsworth and Tony Dungy of NBC Sports; and Herm Edwards of ESPN. The only player to be voted unanimously is quarterback Tom Brady, who received 50 out of 50 votes for the 2010 season.
Due to voters' tendency to favor offensive positions, the award has been overwhelmingly dominated by offensive players; of the 56 undisputed winners, 53 played an offensive position: 37 quarterbacks and 16 running backs. Two defensive players have won the award: Alan Page in 1971 as a defensive tackle, and Lawrence Taylor as a linebacker in 1986. The sole special teams player to be named AP NFL MVP was Mark Moseley, who won as a placekicker in 1982.
Thirteen awardees also won the Super Bowl (or NFL Championship Game prior to 1966) in the same season. However, this has not occurred since 1999, when MVP Kurt Warner won Super Bowl XXXIV with the St. Louis Rams. Since then, seven AP NFL MVPs have led their team to the Super Bowl and were defeated each time. This has led to claims in recent years that the MVP award is "cursed" to prevent the awardee's team from winning the Super Bowl.
The AP has presented an award recognizing the NFL's top player since the 1957 season, although the pre-1961 awardees are recognized in the Official NFL Record and Fact Book as winning the AP's "NFL Most Outstanding Player Award", and the 1962 winner was recognized as the AP's "Player of the Year". The AP considers 1961 to be the first year in which it presented a "Most Valuable Player" award. Thus there are numerous inconsistencies among sources regarding each of the first four awards, and whether or not the winners are included in the overall list of AP MVP winners at all. The discrepancies include 1958's winner being either Jim Brown or Gino Marchetti; the 1959 winner as Johnny Unitas or Charlie Conerly; and whether or not Norm Van Brocklin shared the award in 1960 with Joe Schmidt.
|†||Inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame|
|‡||Denotes player who is still active in the NFL|
|Player (X)||Denotes the number of times the player has received the award|
|1957||Brown, JimJim Brown||Running back||Cleveland Browns||||-||-||-||-||-|
|1958||Brown, JimJim Brown (2)||Running back||Cleveland Browns||||or||Gino Marchetti||Defensive end||Baltimore Colts|||
|1959||Unitas, JohnnyJohnny Unitas||Quarterback||Baltimore Colts||||or||Charlie Conerly||Quarterback||New York Giants|||
|1960||Van Brocklin, NormNorm Van Brocklin||Quarterback||Philadelphia Eagles||||or||Van Brocklin, NormNorm Van Brocklin
Schmidt, JoeJoe Schmidt
|1961||Hornung, PaulPaul Hornung||Running back||Green Bay Packers|||
|1962||Taylor, JimJim Taylor||Running back||Green Bay Packers|||
|1963||Tittle, Y.A.Y.A. Tittle||Quarterback||New York Giants|||
|1964||Unitas, JohnnyJohnny Unitas (2)||Quarterback||Baltimore Colts|||
|1965||Brown, JimJim Brown (3)||Running back||Cleveland Browns|||
|1966||Starr, BartBart Starr||Quarterback||Green Bay Packers|||
|1967||Unitas, JohnnyJohnny Unitas (3)||Quarterback||Baltimore Colts|||
|1968||Morrall, EarlEarl Morrall||Quarterback||Baltimore Colts|||
|1969||Gabriel, RomanRoman Gabriel||Quarterback||Los Angeles Rams|||
|1970||Brodie, JohnJohn Brodie||Quarterback||San Francisco 49ers|||
|1971||Page, AlanAlan Page||Defensive tackle||Minnesota Vikings|||
|1972||Brown, LarryLarry Brown||Running back||Washington Redskins|||
|1973||Simpson, O.J.O.J. Simpson||Running back||Buffalo Bills|||
|1974||Stabler, KenKen Stabler||Quarterback||Oakland Raiders|||
|1975||Tarkenton, FranFran Tarkenton||Quarterback||Minnesota Vikings|||
|1976||Jones, BertBert Jones||Quarterback||Baltimore Colts|||
|1977||Payton, WalterWalter Payton||Running back||Chicago Bears|||
|1978||Bradshaw, TerryTerry Bradshaw||Quarterback||Pittsburgh Steelers|||
|1979||Campbell, EarlEarl Campbell||Running back||Houston Oilers|||
|1980||Sipe, BrianBrian Sipe||Quarterback||Cleveland Browns|||
|1981||Anderson, KenKen Anderson||Quarterback||Cincinnati Bengals|||
|1982||Moseley, MarkMark Moseley||Placekicker||Washington Redskins|||
|1983||Theismann, JoeJoe Theismann||Quarterback||Washington Redskins|||
|1984||Marino, DanDan Marino||Quarterback||Miami Dolphins|||
|1985||Allen, MarcusMarcus Allen||Running back||Los Angeles Raiders|||
|1986||Taylor, LawrenceLawrence Taylor||Linebacker||New York Giants|||
|1987||Elway, JohnJohn Elway||Quarterback||Denver Broncos|||
|1988||Esiason, BoomerBoomer Esiason||Quarterback||Cincinnati Bengals|||
|1989||Montana, JoeJoe Montana||Quarterback||San Francisco 49ers|||
|1990||Montana, JoeJoe Montana (2)||Quarterback||San Francisco 49ers|||
|1991||Thomas, ThurmanThurman Thomas||Running back||Buffalo Bills|||
|1992||Young, SteveSteve Young||Quarterback||San Francisco 49ers|||
|1993||Smith, EmmittEmmitt Smith||Running back||Dallas Cowboys|||
|1994||Young, SteveSteve Young (2)||Quarterback||San Francisco 49ers|||
|1995||Favre, BrettBrett Favre||Quarterback||Green Bay Packers|||
|1996||Favre, BrettBrett Favre (2)||Quarterback||Green Bay Packers|||
|1997||Favre, BrettBrett Favre (3)
Sanders, BarryBarry Sanders
|Green Bay Packers
|1998||Davis, TerrellTerrell Davis||Running back||Denver Broncos|||
|1999||Warner, KurtKurt Warner||Quarterback||St. Louis Rams|||
|2000||Faulk, MarshallMarshall Faulk||Running back||St. Louis Rams|||
|2001||Warner, KurtKurt Warner (2)||Quarterback||St. Louis Rams|||
|2002||Gannon, RichRich Gannon||Quarterback||Oakland Raiders|||
|2003||Manning, PeytonPeyton Manning
McNair, SteveSteve McNair
|2004||Manning, PeytonPeyton Manning (2)||Quarterback||Indianapolis Colts|||
|2005||Alexander, ShaunShaun Alexander||Running back||Seattle Seahawks|||
|2006||Tomlinson, LaDainianLaDainian Tomlinson||Running back||San Diego Chargers|||
|2007||Brady, TomTom Brady||Quarterback||New England Patriots|||
|2008||Manning, PeytonPeyton Manning (3)||Quarterback||Indianapolis Colts|||
|2009||Manning, PeytonPeyton Manning (4)||Quarterback||Indianapolis Colts|||
|2010||Brady, TomTom Brady (2)||Quarterback||New England Patriots|||
|2011||Rodgers, AaronAaron Rodgers||Quarterback||Green Bay Packers|||
|2012||Peterson, AdrianAdrian Peterson||Running back||Minnesota Vikings|||
|2013||Manning, PeytonPeyton Manning (5)||Quarterback||Denver Broncos|||
|2014||Rodgers, AaronAaron Rodgers (2)||Quarterback||Green Bay Packers|||
|2015||Newton, CamCam Newton||Quarterback||Carolina Panthers|||
|2016||Ryan, MattMatt Ryan||Quarterback||Atlanta Falcons|||
Peyton Manning has won the AP MVP award five times; no other player has won more than three. Manning is also the only player to win the award with more than one team, winning four with the Indianapolis Colts and one with the Denver Broncos. Jim Brown, Johnny Unitas, and Brett Favre have each won three times each, with Favre winning three consecutively. Two-time winners include Joe Montana, Steve Young, Kurt Warner, Tom Brady, and Aaron Rodgers. The Colts, Green Bay Packers, and San Francisco 49ers have each had two players win multiple AP MVP awards.
|Peyton Manning||Quarterback||Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos||5||2003, 2004, 2008, 2009, 2013|
Green Bay Packers
|3||1957, 1958, 1965
1959, 1964, 1967
1995, 1996, 1997
|San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers
St. Louis Rams
New England Patriots
Green Bay Packers
The AP NFL awards, which essentially serve as the official league honors...
The Associated Press MVP award is the most prestigious, but it's only Round 1 when it comes to NFL player-of-the-year awards.
I think the first year we gave out awards was 1957.
Including the four years prior to 1961 when it was known as the Most Outstanding Player award...
Fifty media members (I'm one of them) will vote by Jan. 4 for awards given out by The Associated Press, which began awarding the MVP in 1961 and has never given it to a rookie. (Cleveland Browns fullback Jim Brown did win what was then called NFL Player of the Year in his rookie year in 1957.)
"AP NFL Most Valuable Player Winners". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved August 1, 2016.
"Full list of NFL MVP winners". Sports Illustrated. February 2, 2016. Retrieved February 1, 2017.
"National Football League MVPs". ESPN. Associated Press. January 2, 2009. Retrieved January 9, 2017.
"NFL History: Awards". CBS Sports. Retrieved August 1, 2016.
Philadelphia quarterback Norm Van Brocklin and Detroit linebacker Joe Schmidt shared the award in 1960.