Associated Press NFL Most Valuable Player Award

The Associated Press NFL Most Valuable Player Award is presented annually by the Associated Press (AP) to a player in the National Football League (NFL) 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.[1][2] Since 2011, the NFL has held the annual NFL Honors ceremony to recognize the winner of each year's AP 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.[3] The most recent AP NFL MVP is quarterback Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers.[4]

Aaron Rodgers is the most recent recipient.
Awarded forMost valuable player in the National Football League
Presented byAssociated Press
First award1957
Most winsPeyton Manning
Most recentAaron Rodgers (3)
Peyton Manning won the award a record five times.

The AP has presented an award recognizing the NFL's top player since 1957. 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.[5] Voters for the award have included Troy Aikman of Fox Sports; Cris Collinsworth and Tony Dungy of NBC Sports; and Herm Edwards of ESPN.[5] Only two players in the history of the award have won it unanimously: Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady in 2010 (with the New England Patriots) and Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson in 2019.[6]

Due to voters' tendency to favor offensive positions,[7][8] the award has been overwhelmingly dominated by offensive players; of the 57 undisputed winners, 54 played an offensive position: 38 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.[9]

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.[9] Since then, nine AP NFL MVPs have led their team to the Super Bowl and were defeated each time.[10] This has led to tongue-in-cheek claims in recent years that there is a "curse" preventing the awardee's team from winning the Super Bowl.[11][12]

Seven NFL franchises have not produced an MVP, the New York Jets (not counting Joe Namath's two AFL MVPs), Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, Chicago/St. Louis/Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals, Philadelphia Eagles, New Orleans Saints, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The Green Bay Packers have the most overall winners with nine; if including disputed awards (see below), the Colts would have the most overall winners, with ten. The Green Bay Packers have the most unique winners with five players winning the award.


The AP has presented an award recognizing the NFL's top player since the 1957 season,[5][13] 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",[9][14] and the 1962 winner was recognized as the AP's "Player of the Year".[15][16] The AP considers 1961 to be the first year in which it presented a "Most Valuable Player" award.[15][17][18] 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.[15]

MVP Super bowl jinx

In recent years, if a player that won the MVP makes it to the Super Bowl, the MVP often loses the Super Bowl in the year they won the MVP. That includes Brett Favre in 1997, Kurt Warner in 2001, Rich Gannon in 2002, Shaun Alexander in 2005, Tom Brady in 2007 and 2017, Peyton Manning in 2009 and 2013, Cam Newton in 2015, and Matt Ryan in 2016.[19]

Only ten players have won the Super Bowl and MVP in the same season: Bart Starr in 1966, Terry Bradshaw in 1978, Mark Moseley in 1982, Lawrence Taylor in 1986, Joe Montana in 1989, Emmitt Smith in 1993, Steve Young in 1994, Brett Favre in 1996, Terrell Davis in 1998, and Kurt Warner in 1999. In these ten cases, all but three regular season MVP winners were also the Super Bowl MVP for their respective games - with Moseley, Taylor, and Favre not completing the duplicate MVP year.


Johnny Unitas won three AP NFL MVP awards as quarterback of the Baltimore Colts.
Quarterback Bart Starr was awarded in 1966 after passing for 2,257 yards and 14 touchdowns and leading the Green Bay Packers to Super Bowl I.[20]
Running back O. J. Simpson became the first player to rush for 2,000 yards in a season en route to winning the 1973 award with the Buffalo Bills.[21]
Running back Marcus Allen set an NFL record with 2,314 yards from scrimmage in 1985 for the Los Angeles Raiders.[22]
Quarterback Brett Favre won three straight awards from 1995 to 1997 with the Green Bay Packers.
Quarterback Peyton Manning won four awards with the Indianapolis Colts and one with the Denver Broncos. He is the only player to win an MVP award with two teams.

AP NFL Most Valuable Player Award winners
Season Player Position Team Ref
1957 Jim Brown Running backCleveland Browns[23][24]
1958 Jim Brown (2) [25][26][24]
1959 Johnny Unitas QuarterbackBaltimore Colts[27][24]
1960 Norm Van Brocklin Philadelphia Eagles[26][24]
1961 Paul Hornung Running backGreen Bay Packers[28]
1962 Jim Taylor [29]
1963 Y. A. Tittle QuarterbackNew York Giants[30]
1964 Johnny Unitas (2) Baltimore Colts[31]
1965 Jim Brown (3) Running backCleveland Browns[32]
1966 Bart Starr QuarterbackGreen Bay Packers[20]
1967 Johnny Unitas (3) Baltimore Colts[33]
1968 Earl Morrall [34]
1969 Roman Gabriel Los Angeles Rams[35]
1970 John Brodie San Francisco 49ers[36]
1971 Alan Page Defensive tackleMinnesota Vikings[37]
1972 Larry Brown Running backWashington Redskins[38]
1973 O. J. Simpson Buffalo Bills[21]
1974 Ken Stabler QuarterbackOakland Raiders[39]
1975 Fran Tarkenton Minnesota Vikings[40]
1976 Bert Jones Baltimore Colts[41]
1977 Walter Payton Running backChicago Bears[42]
1978 Terry Bradshaw QuarterbackPittsburgh Steelers[43]
1979 Earl Campbell Running backHouston Oilers[44]
1980 Brian Sipe QuarterbackCleveland Browns[45]
1981 Ken Anderson Cincinnati Bengals[46]
1982 Mark Moseley PlacekickerWashington Redskins[47]
1983 Joe Theismann Quarterback[48]
1984 Dan Marino Miami Dolphins[49]
1985 Marcus Allen Running backLos Angeles Raiders[22]
1986 Lawrence Taylor LinebackerNew York Giants[50]
1987 John Elway QuarterbackDenver Broncos[51]
1988 Boomer Esiason Cincinnati Bengals[52]
1989 Joe Montana San Francisco 49ers[53]
1990 Joe Montana (2) [54]
1991 Thurman Thomas Running backBuffalo Bills[55]
1992 Steve Young QuarterbackSan Francisco 49ers[56]
1993 Emmitt Smith Running backDallas Cowboys[57]
1994 Steve Young (2) QuarterbackSan Francisco 49ers[58]
1995 Brett Favre Green Bay Packers[59]
1996 Brett Favre (2) [60]
1997 Brett Favre (3)
Barry Sanders
Running back
Green Bay Packers
Detroit Lions
1998 Terrell Davis Running backDenver Broncos[62]
1999 Kurt Warner QuarterbackSt. Louis Rams[63]
2000 Marshall Faulk Running back[64]
2001 Kurt Warner (2) Quarterback[65]
2002 Rich Gannon Oakland Raiders[66]
2003 Peyton Manning
Steve McNair
Indianapolis Colts
Tennessee Titans
2004 Peyton Manning (2) Indianapolis Colts[68]
2005 Shaun Alexander Running backSeattle Seahawks[69]
2006 LaDainian Tomlinson San Diego Chargers[70]
2007 Tom Brady QuarterbackNew England Patriots[71]
2008 Peyton Manning (3) Indianapolis Colts[72]
2009 Peyton Manning (4) [73]
2010 Tom Brady (2) New England Patriots[74]
2011 Aaron Rodgers Green Bay Packers[75]
2012 Adrian Peterson Running backMinnesota Vikings[76]
2013 Peyton Manning (5) QuarterbackDenver Broncos[77]
2014 Aaron Rodgers (2) Green Bay Packers[78]
2015 Cam Newton Carolina Panthers[79]
2016 Matt Ryan Atlanta Falcons[80]
2017 Tom Brady (3) New England Patriots[81]
2018 Patrick Mahomes Kansas City Chiefs[82]
2019 Lamar Jackson Baltimore Ravens[83]
2020 Aaron Rodgers (3) Green Bay Packers[84]

Multiple-time winners

AwardsPlayerTeam(s)YearsYear inducted into
Pro Football Hall of Fame
5Peyton ManningIndianapolis Colts2003, 2004, 2008, 20092021 (Elected)
Denver Broncos 2013
3Jim BrownCleveland Browns1957, 1958, 19651971
Johnny UnitasBaltimore Colts1959, 1964, 19671979
Brett FavreGreen Bay Packers1995, 1996, 19972016
Tom BradyNew England Patriots2007, 2010, 2017Active
Aaron RodgersGreen Bay Packers2011, 2014, 2020 Active
2Joe MontanaSan Francisco 49ers1989, 19902000
Steve Young1992, 19942005
Kurt WarnerSt. Louis Rams1999, 20012017

See also


  • "AP NFL Most Valuable Player Winners". Sports Reference. Retrieved February 5, 2018.
  • "Full list of NFL MVP winners". Sports Illustrated. February 2, 2016. Retrieved February 1, 2017.
  • Gellerman, Jacob; Drexler, Sam; Marini, Matt; Cocchiaro, Nicolas; Zerkel, Alex, eds. (2016). 2018 Official NFL Record and Fact Book (PDF). National Football League. pp. 522–523. Retrieved August 14, 2018.
  1. Bieler, Des (January 20, 2016). "Pro Football Writers name Cam Newton their NFL MVP". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 22, 2016. The AP NFL awards, which essentially serve as the official league honors...
  2. Thomas, Jim (January 10, 2002). "Warner is in hunt for another NFL honor". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. p. 20. Retrieved February 2, 2017 via 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.
  3. "First-ever 'NFL Honors' show will be hosted by Baldwin in Indy". National Football League. January 3, 2012. Retrieved June 21, 2016.
  4. "Tom Brady Wins His Third M.V.P. Award". The New York Times. Associated Press. February 3, 2018. Retrieved February 6, 2018.
  5. Kreinberg, Jake (February 3, 2016). "How we count the votes for the NFL's top awards". AP Insights. Associated Press. Retrieved August 2, 2016. I think the first year we gave out awards was 1957.
  6. Jamison, Hensley. "Ravens QB Lamar Jackson unanimous pick for NFL MVP after historic season". ESPN. Retrieved February 2, 2020.
  7. Mays, Robert (December 12, 2014). "How Hard Is It for a Defensive Player to Win NFL MVP? Just Ask These Guys". Grantland. ESPN. Retrieved April 25, 2017.
  8. Greenberg, Micah (December 21, 2016). "Forget the MVP, Award Position Groups". Fox Sports. Retrieved April 25, 2017.
  9. Lee, Brenden; Gellerman, Jacob; King, Robert, eds. (2015). 2015 Official NFL Record and Fact Book (PDF). National Football League. p. 524. Retrieved June 21, 2016.
  10. Campbell, Dave (February 5, 2018). "Brady takes his 3rd Super Bowl loss, despite 500-yard game". Chicago Tribune. Associated Press. Archived from the original on February 7, 2018. Retrieved February 7, 2018.
  11. Breech, John (February 2, 2017). "Tom Brady, Matt Ryan beware: NFL MVP is in the middle of an ugly Super Bowl drought". CBS Sports. Retrieved April 26, 2017.
  12. Joyner, KC (January 28, 2016). "Why Cam Newton should worry about MVP curse in Super Bowl 50". Retrieved April 26, 2017.
  13. "AP NFL Most Valuable Player Winners". Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved June 20, 2016.
  14. Garven, Rich (December 18, 2016). "Strong showing in Denver should bolster Brady for MVP". The Providence Journal. Retrieved February 1, 2017. Including the four years prior to 1961 when it was known as the Most Outstanding Player award...
  15. Turney, John (January 11, 2010). "AP gets it partially right". Pro Football Weekly. Archived from the original on December 16, 2011. Retrieved February 1, 2017.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
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  17. Pelissero, Tom (December 22, 2016). "Who's the NFL MVP: Our sampling of executives gives Ezekiel Elliott the edge". USA Today. Retrieved February 1, 2017. 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.)
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    Janssen, Sarah (December 6, 2016). The World Almanac and Book of Facts 2017. Simon and Schuster. p. 1,994. ISBN 978-1600572074. Retrieved February 3, 2017.
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