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What Makes an MVP in Major Sport Leagues

There are many trends and outliers in the most coveted award in the major sports leagues.

February 4, 2019

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What Makes an MVP in Major Sport Leagues

Jake Ilkka

In the four major sports leagues located in the United States, the Most Valuable Player trophy is a sought after title. Each sport has different ways of categorizing and determining candidates for the trophy.

In the NBA, the Most Valuable Player Award focuses on big names in major markets. Of the 62 former winners, 10 played for the Boston Celtics, eight played for the Los Angeles Lakers and six played for the Philadelphia 76ers. The award also favors US-born players. Only three players from foreign countries won the award, with Steve Nash winning the title twice. Sophomore basketball player Collin Glassman thinks that in the current situation of the NBA, any team can have an MVP.

“There are a lot of good players on a lot of good teams; just because a team has an MVP does not mean they are going to win,” Glassman said. “There are a lot of other players in the MVP race right now.”

With the MLB’s Most Valuable Player Award, two players win the award every year. With an extra player every year, more small market teams are represented. Pitchers are at a disadvantage with the award though because of the Cy Young award and its prevalence with the position. Antioch baseball player and sophomore Austin Stewart believes that pitchers can elevate a team and provide enough of an impact to win the title too.

“They are always going to help a team in good or bad situations,” Stewart said. “They are good for the team and they help their teammates out.”

The NHL’s Hart Memorial Trophy focuses on the headlining players of the league with few repeats in winners. This leads to the Original Six teams having 52 of the total 93 Hart Memorial Trophies. Another trend in the trophy’s history is the lack of defensemen winning in recent years. Chris Pronger was the last defenseman to win during the 1999-2000 season. Lakers Hockey Association sophomore Dane Karasek believes the reason to low defensemen win rates is their lack of production on the ice.

“With MVP trophies in the NHL, people mainly focus on the forwards and the goals they score,” Karasek said. “Goalies still receive the award because they deserve recognition.”

For the NFL, the Associated Press Most Valuable Player Award serves as a platform to showcase the best quarterbacks and running backs from a season. Only three seasons are outliers in this award, won by two defenders and a kicker. The award rarely goes to the same player, as Peyton Manning was the only player to win more than three times.

Each league is able to find ways to represent the best of their sport in the honor of the fans and league representatives and they will continue to do so for many years to come. 

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