Like the Heisman Trophy, the NFL’s Most Valuable Player award unofficially yet almost exclusively belongs to offensive players — quarterbacks and running backs in particular.
Only one defensive player has won the Heisman (Michigan DB Charles Woodson in 1997) and only two defensive players have won the NFL’s MVP: Vikings DT Alan Page in 1971, and Giants LB Lawrence Taylor in 1986.
A few weeks into the 2015 NFL season, I started to believe Seahawks strong safety Kam Chancellor had a legit shot at becoming the third defensive player to be crowned MVP.
Due to a contract holdout, Chancellor sat out Seattle’s first two games. The Seahawks promptly went 0-2 while he was gone, giving up 30 points per game. In the first two games after Chancellor returned, Seattle went 2-0 and allowed just 5 points per game. Chancellor made the game-winning play in that second victory when he punched the ball out of the hands of Lions WR Calvin Johnson to prevent a go-ahead touchdown late in the fourth quarter.
Chancellor finished the season with 74 tackles, four pass breakups, two interceptions and a forced fumble. And while he didn’t get any votes for MVP or even Defensive Player of the Year, he was recently recognized by his peers as No. 32 on the NFL Network’s ranking of the league’s top 100 players for 2016.
You can watch the NFL Network segment on Chancellor HERE, and check out a highlight reel below: