Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Stop him before he votes again

I have less interest in the Most Valuable Player voting, for any sport really, than just about anyone.

There are always the pithy debates about how MVP is not equal to best player, nor is it equal to Offensive Player of the Year, etc. Yawn.

When I really lose interest is when people like Peter King explain how they arrived at their vote. King's been printing his running MVP race every week for a while now, lest anyone miss his not-subtle-at-all point that his vote is going to be a statement, a point of semantics, in which football would be secondary.

King's most famous MVP vote that he used to make a statement was 1997. Brett Favre and Barry Sanders were co-MVPs that season. Naturally, when it's a dead-heat, you go back and look how the votes fell.

Peter King's vote: Carnell Lake, Pittsburgh Steelers

Huh? I waste my vote on the Libertarian every time, but at least I have a point.

Sidebar begged by Fave and Sanders winning MVP: must have been a rough year for the Beloved Bears, right? Oh, you've got that right. Definitely during the Wannstedt regime. 1997 was probably the lowlight of Wanny's tenure, as this was the year he traded a first-round draft pick for Rick Mirer. How many years did that set us back? And when Mirer got in, everyone had a heart attack because the man he replaced, Erik Kramer, had the audacity to yuk it up on the sidelines. We're heart-attack serious here. No laughing at the new star QB, pal.

Back to Pete King. Drew Brees has been King's choice since he started running this feature. Each week Tomlinson would break a new record, but King sticks with Brees, essentially crediting him with single-handledly rebuilding the state of Louisiana.

I disagree that the emotional stuff that isn't really measurable should be the primary factor, but Brees isn't a terrible choice on that basis. I've strongly disagreed, but have mostly been OK with King deciding several months ago that Brees was going to get his vote, regardless of what happened on the field the rest of the season. But today he answered a letter defending his choice and now gives an age-old argument that I'd expect of shouting heads on talk-radio but is shocking coming from a real voter:

The Chargers finished 14-2, New Orleans 10-6. Let's take Brees off the Saints and Tomlinson off the Chargers. Then you'd have Michael Turner running for San Diego and Jamie Martin quarterbacking New Orleans. This is one of my points on this issue that means the most. The Saints would be a 5-11 team without Brees, in my opinion. Maybe worse. And in my opinion, the Chargers would be a playoff team without Tomlinson. Maybe a 10-win team, but a playoff team.

Yep, we've heard this all before ... take each guy off his team and project what you think would happen. It has nothing to do with MVP voting, or I should say "shouldn't" have anything to do with it, but it's the issue that means the most for Pete.

Tomlinson's feats are diminished because the Chargers happen to have a competent backup? Brees is much more valuable because his backup is an inept, bumbling old fart. Brilliant!

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