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If you want to win the NFL MVP, it’s best you play quarterback. QBs get most of the glory and plenty of blame while raking in the big bucks.

They also are always the front-runners to come away with the NFL MVP award. It’s been a decade since a non-quarterback was honored as the best player in the NFL. Who is the last non-quarterback to come away with the NFL MVP?

For each of the last 10 years, a quarterback has been named MVP in the NFL

The NFL MVP is voted on by 50 members of The Associated Press right after the final week of the regular season. It’s clear the emphasis with voters is on offense. The last time a defensive player took home the award was in 1986, when New York Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor was the recipient.

Only two defensive players have ever claimed the award. Along with Taylor, Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Alan Page won it in 1971.

While it’s clear offensive players draw the most attention when it comes to MVP, a wide receiver surprisingly has never won the award. What’s even more surprising is that a kicker has been named MVP. During the strike-shortened 1982 season, Washington Redskins placekicker Mark Moseley was the winner.

For the last 10 years, however, it’s been all quarterbacks. Former Green Bay Packers and current New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers has won the award three times during that span (four overall). Former Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning has claimed the honor five times. Last year, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes was named MVP for the second time in his young career.

Who was the last non-QB to win NFL MVP?

The last non-quarterback to claim the MVP was Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson back in 2012. Peterson finished that season with 2,097 yards — just nine short of Eric Dickerson’s single-season record. He also rushed for 12 touchdowns and had 40 receptions.

After Peterson, Manning won his fifth MVP, this time as quarterback of the Denver Broncos. Manning began a string of 10 straight QB wins.

Here are some other notable non-quarterbacks who have won the MVP award.

LaDainian Tomlinson, 2006

San Diego Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson had a record-breaking 28 rushing touchdowns and ran for over 1,800 yards in 2006 when he was named MVP. The longtime Charger was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2017.

Marshall Faulk, 2000

Part of the St. Louis Rams’ “Greatest Show on Turf,” RB Marshall Faulk received the league’s top honor after rushing for 1,359 yards and 18 touchdowns in the 2000 season. Faulk added eight receiving touchdowns. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2011.

Terrell Davis, 1998

Broncos running back Terrell Davis had a league-best 2,008 rushing yards for the Broncos in 1998 and had 21 touchdowns on the ground. His MVP season ended by helping to lead the Broncos to the franchise’s first Super Bowl title. Davis is also part of the Hall of Fame’s Class of 2017.

Emmitt Smith, 1993

The NFL’s all-time leader in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns, Emmitt Smith’s resume includes winning the 1993 MVP award. That season, he had a league-high 1,486 rushing yards en route to the Dallas Cowboys winning the second of three straight Super Bowl titles. Smith was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2010.

Detroit Lions running back Barry Sanders shared the award with Packers quarterback Brett Favre in 1997. It was the third straight year Favre was named MVP.


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