RENTON, Wash. — When the Seahawks and Cowboys kick off Sunday afternoon there will be three players on the field who have received an MVP vote since 2012.
None are named Russell Wilson.
The three who have are Wilson’s teammate Bobby Wagner (one vote in 2014) and Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott (one vote in 2016) and running back Ezekiel Elliott (six votes in 2016).
Wilson, meanwhile, has never received a vote, though 19 others have since he entered the league in 2012.
True, he has won something far more important — a Super Bowl trophy. And true, we’re just two games in to the season and it’s far too early to really care about awards.
But even Wilson acknowledged this week an MVP award is something he has his eye on.
“I don’t want a vote,” Wilson said. “More importantly, I want to win.”
And as the rest of his statement made clear, he meant both games and the MVP award.
“Obviously the MVP is a special award,” Wilson said.
“I think for me, I want to be regarded as one of the best to ever play this game, to be honest with you. I think it’s of the process and hopefully I can, you know, win enough games and do enough special things as a team to be able to do that.”
As Wilson noted, those who win it tend to be parts of teams who do special things.
Three of the last five winners were quarterbacks who played in the Super Bowl, the exceptions being Lamar Jackson, whose team finished with 14 wins and the best record in the NFL, and Patrick Mahomes in 2018, when he threw for 50 touchdowns.
“It’s a team award, really, Wilson said. “It’s a special award because it’s everybody’s involved in it and hopefully I can be a part of that and hopefully we can be a part of that as a team.”
Both Wilson and the Seahawks are off to the necessary start.
Wilson has completed an astounding 82.5% of his passes with nine touchdowns and a 140 passer rating while Seattle has won both of its games.
Wilson’s start has only heightened the curiosity over the fact he’s never gotten an MVP vote.
Even the Seahawks are now noting it, having added a note about that fact to its weekly media notes.
In a section highlighting many of Wilson’s most impressive numbers is an item headlined O that reads: “Despite numerous NFL and franchise records, team wins, two Super Bowl appearances, a Super Bowl title and the most consistent numbers for the last decade, Russell Wilson has yet to receive one vote or the league’s most valuable player.”
It’s a stat that figures to be trotted out during the telecast of every Seahawks game this season.
While Wilson receiving no MVP awards so far despite a resume that includes having the second-highest passer rating in league history sounds hard to believe, it makes a little more sense when understanding how the voting works.
The MVP voting is conducted by The Associated Press. The 50 members of the voting panel vote for just one MVP — there is no voting for a top 10 as is done in Major League Baseball.
Last year, Jackson got all 50 votes, capping a recent string of pretty obvious wins. Patrick Mahomes got 41 of 50 votes in 2018 (Drew Brees got the rest) and Tom Brady got 40 of 50 votes in 2017 (when the only other two to get votes were Todd Gurley and Carson Wentz).
Timing has also played a role in Wilson not getting votes yet.
Wilson was obviously one of the best players in the league last year, but Jackson was the unquestioned star of the season and any voter who didn’t cast a ballot his way was going to be open to some criticism.
Wilson’s first three years he didn’t put up the kind of passing numbers that attract attention In his first real breakout year in 2015, Cam Newton was an obvious choice leading Carolina to a 15-1 record.
And in 2016, when the voting was the most wide open its been in recent years — Matt Ryan won it with 25 votes while five others got a vote — Wilson struggled with injuries and had the worst statistical season of his career.
But everything may work in Wilson’s favor this year with the Seahawks opening up the offense as they never have in his time as quarterback and Wilson already getting the kind of high-profile win to put him in the early conversation last week against New England.
In fact, this week Wilson moved into being the betting favorite to win the award, listed at 10-1 by William Hill sportsbooks.
Now comes another chance to make a big statement — both for any individual awards and the Seahawks — with a visit from America’s Team, fresh off a stunning 40-39 win and considered among the favorites for the NFC this season.
If Wilson were to threw four touchdowns Sunday he’ll tie Mahomes in 2018 for the most TD passes in the first three games of a season with 13.
More importantly, as Wilson said, is to win.
Games, trophies, Super Bowls.
The way Wilson has played the first two games, it all seems possible.
©2020 The Seattle Times