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The Five MVP Voters You Meet in Heaven

NFC Championship - Green Bay Packers v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

When it comes to voting for the NFL’s Most Valuable Player, it seems like the definition of most valuable depends on the media member. The criteria voters use can vary wildly. Below are five methods they seem to use and whom that criteria would lead them to vote for in 2016.

The Best Player MVP: Ezekiel Elliott

If you’re the best player in the league, you have to be the most valuable, right? Well considering the difference in value a great player at one position provides over one at a different position, that might not be the case. Still, you can make a case for just going with the top guy. That probably would be Elliott this year, who was the top player on an offense full of top level talent.

The This Guy’s Team Would Be Hurt Most If You Took Him Away MVP: Derek Carr

Isn’t one way to look at value to see how much the team depends on a player? In 2016, we got a pretty clear picture of that. While New England went 3-1 without Tom Brady, the Raiders saw a great season and a puncher’s chance at a Super Bowl trip go up in smoke after Carr’s Week 16 injury. Instead of cruising to a first round bye, they ended up finished by Wild Card weekend in ugly fashion. Going from a two seed with a guy in the lineup to lousy without him is value.

The Hottest Player at the End of the Year MVP: Aaron Rodgers

Under this logic, who really cares about the start of the season? It’s the end of the year that decides everything. This year the hottest player was Rodgers. His incredible run of success dragged the Packers from the fringes of the Playoff race to a division title. That kind of run when the stakes are the highest is extremely valuable.

The I’m Going to Think Outside the Box MVP: Tom Brady

Every now and then you have some writer or some group of writers who want to show you how cerebral they are. In recent seasons, we’ve gotten silly articles about how injured stars like Peyton Manning and Tony Romo should be MVP because their teams’ struggles show how valuable they are. It’s a similar argument to the one we made for Carr, only these guy didn’t actually provide their teams any value. Usually this is harmless and leads to no votes. This year, though, we have a bunch of people who think they are going to raise a discussion of whether a guy can be so good in just 12 games that he can be more valuable in those than everybody who played 16 games. That is Brady.

The Compromise MVP: Matt Ryan

Ryan’s candidacy combines a little bit of all of the criteria. He was a top player. His team depended on him quite a bit, he was hot for virtually the entire year, not just at the end and without missing a quarter of the season. He should probably take home the award.