The Read Option: MVP: Many Varied Perspectives

by Josh Farnzy

It should be an easy definition.

Just three little letters hoisting up what is supposed to be the most prestigious individual accomplishment of a given sports season. Most. Valuable. Player. MVP. Easy to get everyone on the same page, right?


Well, it’s complicated.

The MVP award carries so much weight, but unfortunately, so much of that bulk is gray area open to interpretation. It creates great fodder for talk radio and Discord servers, but also serves as a reminder that it is hard to get us to agree on greatness sometimes.

The same is true of the SFL MVP award. If you get 20 experienced SFL minds in the same room (virtual room or table at the convention), you’re likely to get at least eight or so different ways of thinking about how the MVP of anything should be awarded.

There are various genres of thinking. There is the…

Leader of the best team genre

With this mindset, the MVP discussion disqualifies anyone not on the top or top couple teams record-wise and then analyzes who stands out amongst this group. People in this genre believe the MVP is more of a team award than others.

SFL frontrunner for this style: Logan Lee/RB/Canton. He’s the leading rusher in the league and the catalyst for an undefeated team, so consideration would go to this Classic. Leading the league in various rushing categories (1,107 yards rushing, 17 TDs, 6 yards/per rush) is helpful, but this genre would only consider him because of the 12-0 record attached to the team.

QB is alpha genre

Some who vote in other football leagues say they will never consider anyone for MVP unless they play quarterback. They wax poetic over the fact that it is the most challenging position on the field - the one where the player touches the ball every play and is judged accordingly. All hail the gunslinger.

SFL frontrunner for this style: Johnny Reno/QB/Minnesota. Admittedly, those who most identify with this genre will have the hardest time deciding this season. No quarterback truly separated him- or herself from the pack. For my money, Reno should get top billing for finishing second in yards, top 5 in completion percentage and a 17/11 TD-INT slash line that was as good as anyone. 

Statmaster genre

Numbers are everything for this group. Some feel stats are the most objective way to compare performance over time. When the sample size is big enough, they see that making a case for someone whose stats lag behind are near impossible to consider.

SFL frontrunner for this style: Gabriel Manning/WR/Tulsa. Manning has truly separated himself from the pack when it comes to gaudy numbers. While Tulsa has not yet clinched a playoff berth, Manning has led the league in every major receiving category - far more than any QB, RB or TE in their respective spots.

Addition by subtraction genre

This group likes to draw a line in the sand and wonder: What would this team look like if Player X was somewhere else? They take the word “valuable” as seriously as anyone. In other words, if you are great, but your team would still be great without you, kiss the MVP votes from this group goodbye.

SFL frontrunner for this style: Lauren Percoco/TE/DC. Manning could also narrowly go here as well, but I would argue Percoco’s impact at tight end for this team had a slightly more drastic impact on the Dragon offense as a whole. Take her away and I believe the rushing languishes (she is an unheralded blocker as well) and the passing game is not nearly as in sync. Also, those 1,100-plus yards would be harder to come by.

Best player on best team unit

Since QBs often don’t play any D and CBs don’t record a single yard rushing, throwing or receiving from scrimmage, this genre sees the MVP as a product of being the catalyst for the top offensive or defensive squad within the team. Just think ‘85 Bears defense. While this category is similar to the leader of the best team genre, this group focuses less on overall record and more on the offensive or defensive ranking as the place to pinpoint their selection.

SFL frontrunner for this style: Kevin Brackett/OLB/Canton. The Classic defense is simply the best overall unit - offense or defense - in the SFL this season. And Iceman delivered a slightly better Season 22 than his fellow Canton defenders. He finished with 69 tackles, 30 tackles for loss (5th in SFL), 11 sacks (tops by 1.5 in SFL), 6 PDs and 3 forced turnovers (1 INT and 2 forced fumbles, the latter of which was tied for 4th in the SFL).

So where do we go from here?

Just an understanding. We all have different barometers for greatness. As for myself, I think weighing all of these genres has merit. The MVP may just be the player who can best stand up to many tests. Every one of these categories has a good point, but lacks context to see the whole story.

So which genre are you? Still not sure who the MVP is?

Don’t worry. After all, it’s complicated.