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The foundation for making any kind of awards-based futures bet is understanding who has won said award and why. Since these types of futures are only named annually, one of the challenges in analyzing these awards is that we are working with a small, unreliable sample size. On top of that, NFL football is both played and analyzed much differently than it was even 20 years ago. That’s why there has to be some kind of cutoff so that old, irrelevant information doesn’t unnecessarily infect our process. With all due respect to NFL icons like Jim Brown or Barry Sanders, studying their NFL MVP campaigns of yesteryear isn’t going to help us make better bets this award season.

That’s why I decided to break down the last 10 years of NFL award winners, in search patterns and emerging trends that we can use to improve our process while making sharper betting decisions. Early next week I will follow this up with an analysis on potential candidates for MVP, Coach of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, as well as both the Offensive and Defensive Rookies of the Year this coming season.

Editor’s Note: During the season, Ryan will examine the the awards futures market as part of our In-Season package. That package also includes Silva’s Matchups, Tiered DFS Top Plays, our Projections and all our shows. Click here for a full content schedule. 

 

MVP
It’s no secret that the MVP award has become a quarterback award, as Vikings running back Adrian Peterson is the only non-quarterback to take home the MVP since 2007.

Year Player Team Record Seed GS Pass Comp% TD Int Rush TD Rate QBR Odds

2019

Lamar Jackson Bal 14-2 1 15    3,127

66.1%

36

6

   1,206

7

113.3

81.8

+4000

2018

Patrick Mahomes KC 12-4 1 16    5,097

66.0%

50

12

      272

2

113.8

80.4

+3525

2017

Tom Brady NE 13-3 1 16    4,577

66.3%

32

8

         28

0

102.8

73.2

+385

2016

Matt Ryan Atl 11-5 2 16    4,944

69.9%

38

7

      117

0

117.1

79.4

+7500

2015

Cam Newton Car 15-1 1 16    3,837

59.8%

35

10

      636

10

99.4

67

+5200

2014

Aaron Rodgers GB 12-4 2 16    4,381

65.6%

38

5

      269

2

112.2

78.3

+600

2013

Peyton Manning Den 13-3 1 16    5,477

68.3%

55

10

      31

1

115.1

80.9

+600

2012

Adrian Peterson Min 10-6 6 16

   2,097

12

+4000

2011

Aaron Rodgers GB 15-1 1 15    4,643

68.3%

45

6

      257

3

122.5

84.5

+400

2010

Tom Brady NE 14-2 1 16    3,900

65.9%

36

4

         30

1

111

78.3

+800

 

MVP Rankings

Year Player Team Record Pass Comp% TD Int % Rush TD Rate QBR

2019

Lamar Jackson Bal 1st 22nd 8th T 1st 10th 6th 14th T 3rd 1st

2018

Patrick Mahomes KC 2nd T 2nd 16th 1st 16th 70th 62nd T 2nd 1st

2017

Tom Brady NE 1st T 1st 5th 3rd 3rd 170th

3rd 3rd

2016

Matt Ryan Atl 5th T 2nd 3rd 2nd 7th 108h

1st 1st

2015

Cam Newton Car 1st 16th 28th 2nd T 13th 31st 2nd T 8th 11th

2014

Aaron Rodgers GB 1st T 7th 9th 3rd 1st 71st 51st T 2nd 2nd

2013

Peyton Manning Den 1st T 1st 3rd 1st 4th T 307th 84th T 2nd 1st

2012

Adrian Peterson Min 9th T

1st 3rd

2011

Aaron Rodgers GB 1st 5th 2nd 2nd 2nd 71st 40th T 1st 1st

2010

Tom Brady NE 1st 8th 4th 1st 1st 174th 72nd T 1st 1st

 

MVP Takeaways
— Nine of the last 10 MVPs were not only quarterbacks, but quarterbacks whose team earned a first-round bye in the playoffs.
— Seven of those nine quarterbacks had the number 1 seed in their conference.
Matt Ryan is the only quarterback of those nine to win fewer than 12 games.
— Running back Adrian Peterson’s 2012 Vikings team was a 10-win, 6th seed. Meaning that all of the last ten MVPs, regardless of position, played for playoff-bound teams.
— Apart from general team success and position, passing touchdowns have been the next-most consistent factor for NFL MVPs over the past decade, as no QB has finished worse than 3rd in that category during this span.
— Both rating and QBR have also been strong indicators over the past decade. Cam Newton’s 2015 campaign being the lone instance where an MVP-winning quarterback did not finish 3rd or better in both categories.
— Standard numbers such as passing yards, completion percentage, interception percentage, or rushing yards are inconsistent factors for MVP voters in recent years.
— Half of the previous 10 MVP winners were long shots, the other half were among the favorites for the award.
— The seasons of Lamar Jackson, Patrick Mahomes, Matt Ryan, Peyton Manning, Adrian Peterson and, to a lesser extent, those of Cam Newton and Aaron Rodgers (2011) could all be considered historically significant performances.
Peyton Manning (5), Tom Brady (3), and Aaron Rodgers (2) have all won the MVP multiple times.
Tom Brady is the only player of this group that was not taken in the first round.
Carson Wentz “probably” wins the 2017 MVP if he doesn’t miss the final three games due to injury.

 

Coach of the Year
Coach of the Year is not necessarily an award for the best strategist or a means to reward the most successful team. It is, at its core, an exceeds expectations award.

Year Coach Team Record Win Total Win Total Differential Previous Record Win Differential Notes

2019

John Harbaugh Bal 14-2

8.5

5.5

10-6

4

1st-Time Winner

2018

Matt Nagy Chi 12-4

6.5

5.5

5-11

7

1st-Time Winner, 1st Year

2017

Sean McVay LAR 11-5

5.5

5.5

4-12

7

1st-Time Winner, 1st Year

2016

Jason Garrett Dal 13-3

9.5

3.5

5-11

8

1st-Time Winner

2015

Ron Rivera Car 15-1

8.5

6.5

7-8-1

8

2nd-Time Winner

2014

Bruce Arians Arz 11-5

7.5

3.5

10-6

1

2nd-Time Winner

2013

Ron Rivera Car 12-4

7

5

7-9

5

1st-Time Winner

2012

Bruce Arians Ind 11-5

5.5

5.5

2-14

9

1st-Time Winner, Interim HC

2011

Jim Harbaugh SF 13-3

7.5

5.5

6-10

7

1st-Time Winner, 1st Year

2010

Bill Belichick NE 14-2

9.5

4.5

10-6

4

3rd-Time Winner

 

Coach of the Year Takeaways
— Every Coach of the Year (COY) winner over the last decade has beat their team’s win total by at least 3.5 games, which accounts for at least 21.875% of an NFL season.
— Seven of the last 10 COY winners have exceeded their team’s projected win total by five or more games, which accounts for at least 31.25% of an NFL season.
— Additionally, nine of the last 10 COY winners have surpassed their team’s record from the previous season by four or more wins, which accounts for at least 25% of an NFL season.
— Six of the previous 10 COY winners have surpassed their team’s record from the previous season by seven or more wins, which accounts for at least 37.5% of an NFL season.
— Seven of the last 10 Coaches of the Year were first-time winners of the award.
Bruce Arians (2), Ron Rivera (2), and Bill Belichick (3) have all won COY multiple times.
— Four of the previous 10 COY winners were in their first year as a head coach.
— In the case of Bruce Arians’ Colts of 2012, Arians took over as an interim coach for Chuck Pagano, who missed the season with a Leukemia diagnosis.
— Only three of the last 10 COY winners had a team with a .500 winning percentage or better from the previous season.
— Eight of these 10 teams won their division. Four of these teams were the 1st seed, two were the 2nd seed, two were the 3rd seed, and two were Wild Cards with the 5th seed.
— Four out of the last five COY winners began the season with +2800 or greater odds.
— Only four of these teams had a win total of eight or more games entering the season.
Jim Harbaugh, Ron Rivera, and Jason Garrett were all eventually fired by the team that they won COY for.

 

Offensive Rookie of the Year
In some years, such as Saquon Barkley in 2018, the Offensive Rookie of the Year had a legitimate monster season. On the other hand, in 2010, Rams quarterback Sam Bradford didn’t exactly set the world on fire during his Rookie of the Year campaign.

Year Player Team Pos Draft Pick Passing TD Int Rush TD Rec Yards TD Odds

2019

Kyler Murray Arz QB 1st 1st     3,772

20

12

544

4

+150

2018

Saquon Barkley NYG RB 1st 2nd

1307

11

91

721

4

+155

2017

Alvin Kamara NO RB 3rd 67th

728

8

81

826

5

+5000

2016

Dak Prescott Dal QB 4th 135th     3,667

23

4

282

6

+900

2015

Todd Gurley Stl RB 1st 10th

1106

10

21

188

0

+1350

2014

Odell Beckham Jr. NYG WR 1st 12th

35

0

91

1305

12

+2500

2013

Eddie Lacy GB RB 2nd 61st

1178

11

35

257

0

+800

2012

Robert Griffin III Wash QB 1st 2nd     3,200

20

5

815

7

+400

2011

Cam Newton Car QB 1st 1st     4,051

21

17

706

14

1

27

+400

2010

Sam Bradford Stl QB 1st 1st     3,512

18

15

63

1

+500

 

Offensive Rookie of the Year Takeaways
— Over the past 10 years, five quarterbacks, four running backs, and one wide receiver have won the offensive rookie of the year (OROY).
— Seven of the past 10 OROY were first-round draft picks. Packers running back Eddie Lacy (2nd), Saints running back Alvin Kamara (3rd), and Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4th) were not selected in the first round.
— In recent years, Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray edged out Raiders running back Josh Jacobs (who missed time with an injury) while Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott won a very tight race with teammate Ezekiel Elliot.
— Only four of these 10 OROY winners were on a team with a .500 or better winning percentage.
— Four of the 10 previous OROY did not play in all 16 games.
— Additionally, Kamara was only classified as the starter in three of the 16 games he played in during his rookie campaign.
— The favorite has won the award in each of the past two seasons.
— Seven of the past 10 winners had odds of +900 or less.
— Half of the past 10 OROY winners have had odds of +500 or less and would be considered one of the three favorites for the award.
Odell Beckham Jr. and especially Kamara are the only two real longshots to take down the award over the past decade.

 

Defensive Rookie of the Year
Unlike the Offensive Rookie of the Year, the Defensive Rookie of the Year over the last decade has continued to be a notable performer well beyond their rookie campaign.

Year Player Team Pos Draft Pick Record PA Tkl TFL Sack Int FF FR PD Odds
2019 Nick Bosa SF Edge 1st 2nd 13-3 8th

47

16

9

1

1

2

2

+700
2018 Darius Leonard Ind LB 2nd 36th 10-6 10th

163

12

7

2

4

2

8

+3050
2017 Marshon Lattimore NO CB 1st 11th 11-5 10th

52

1

0

5

1

1

18

+1800
2016 Joey Bosa SD Edge 1st 3rd 5-11 29th

41

17

10.5

0

1

0

0

NA
2015 Marcus Peters KC CB 1st 18th 11-5 3rd

60

2

0

8

1

0

26

+3500
2014 Aaron Donald Stl DL 1st 13th 6-10 16th

48

18

9

0

2

0

1

+900
2013 Sheldon Richardson NYJ DL 1st 13th 8-8 19th

78

12

3.5

0

1

0

1

+2000
2012 Luke Kuechly Car LB 1st 9th 7-9 18th

164

12

1

2

0

3

7

+450
2011 Von Miller Den Edge 1st 2nd 8-8 24th

64

19

11.5

0

3

0

4

+400
2010 Ndamukong Suh Det DL 1st 2nd 6-10 19th

66

13

10

1

1

1

3

+175

 

Defensive Rookie of the Year Takeaways
— Over the past 10 years, three edge rushers, three interior defensive linemen, two linebackers, two cornerbacks, and no safeties have won the Defensive Rookie of the Year (DROY).
— One could frame that as six of the last 10 DROY were pass rushers or, at minimum, disruptors.
— Colts linebacker Darius Leonard is the only DROY not taken in the first round, although he was very close as the 36th overall pick in the 2018 draft.
— Eight of the last 10 DROYs were selected within the first 13 picks, while four were taken within the first three selections.
— Only four of the last 10 DROY award winners were on top-10 defenses, while only one was on a top-five defense.
— Only four of the last 10 DROY award winners were on teams with records better than .500. However, all four of those instances happened in the last five years.
Aaron Donald at +900 had the longest odds out of the DROY winners this past decade.
— The reason Nick Bosa had +700 odds is because he first held out into late July and then sat out the entire preseason with an ankle injury.
— Seven out of the last 10 DROY had +450 or worse odds, while three of them had +200 or worse odds.

 

Defensive Player of the Year
A high accumulation of sacks and/ or turnovers plays a big part for Defensive Player of the Year contenders.

Year Player Team Pos Record PA Tkl TFL Sack Int FF FR PD
2019 Stephon Gilmore NE CB 12-4 1st

53

0

0

6

0

1

20

2018 Aaron Donald LAR Rush 13-3 20th

59

25

20.5

0

4

2

1

2017 Aaron Donald LAR Rush 11-5 12th

41

15

11

0

5

1

1

2016 Khalil Mack Oak Rush 12-4 20th

73

14

11

1

5

3

3

2015 J.J. Watt Hou Rush 9-7 8th

76

29

17.5

0

3

1

8

2014 J.J. Watt Hou Rush 9-7 7th

78

29

20.5

1

4

5

10

2013 Luke Kuechly Car LB 12-4 2nd

156

10

2

4

0

0

7

2012 J.J. Watt Hou Rush 12-4 9th

81

39

20.5

0

4

2

16

2011 Terrell Suggs Bal Rush 12-4 3rd

70

20

14

2

7

0

6

2010 Troy Polamalu Pit S 12-4 1st

63

6

1

7

1

1

11

 

Defensive Player of the Year Takeaways
— Seven of the 10 Defensive Players of the Year (DPOY) this past decade are primarily pass rushers.
Khalil Mack and Terrell Suggs are edge rushers, while Aaron Donald and J.J. Watt, who have combined to win this award five times over the past 10 years, have seen significant work both in the interior and off the edge throughout their careers.
— The other three DPOY winners are one linebacker in Luke Kuechly, one safety in Troy Polamalu, and one cornerback in Stephon Gilmore.
— All of the previous 10 DPOYs were first-round draft picks.
— All of the previous 10 DPOYs were on teams with records above .500, nine of those 10 teams made the playoffs, while eight of them were division winners.
— Seven of the previous 10 DPOY winners were on teams that won 12 or more games.
— Four of the last 10 DPOY winners were on defenses ranked in the top five in terms of points allowed.
— Seven of the last 10 DPOY winners were on defenses ranked in the top 10 in terms of points allowed.
— Only two of these 10 DPOY winners were on the best defense in football that year, and both of them played in the secondary.
— Kuechly, the other member of this group that wasn’t primarily a pass rusher, was on the second-best defense in the year that he won the DPOY.