The most valuable player award is given to the player who is considered the most valuable in the NFL.
Having the most valuable player usually means you have a great football team but is that always the case? Many football fans wonder if the NFL MVP has failed to make the playoffs.
Throughout the history of the NFL, there have been two players that won the MVP but did not make the playoffs.
Unitas 1967 Season
Johnny Unitas had an interesting 1967 season which led him to become the MVP while also missing out on the playoffs.
The reason this was possible was due to the NFL’s new four-team playoff format. In this format, only the winning team from each division was accepted into the playoffs.
During the regular season, Unitas led the Baltimore Colts to a 11-1-2 season.
Interestingly enough this was tied for the best record in the NFL. The issue was the team they were tied with were the Los Angeles Rams.
The rams were in the same division as the Baltimore Colts meaning only one of the teams would make the postseason.
The Rams had beaten the Colts in the final game of the year which gave them the division tiebreaker.
This resulted in the Colts tieing for the best record in the NFL while not making the playoffs.
Since the MVP award is based on the regular season the fact the Colts didn’t make the playoffs wasn’t important.
Instead, they looked at Unitas’ record in the regular season along with his stats. Ultimately he put up some of the best passing numbers while leading his team to the best record in the league.
As far as MVPs that didn’t make the playoffs go, this one makes a lot of sense.
O.J Simpson 1973 Season
The only other player to win the MVP and not make the playoffs was running back O.J Simpson of the Buffalo Bills.
O.J Simpson nowadays is most famous for his very public trial in which he was accused of murder.
Though before all that he was an incredibly talented running back who was often considered the best in the league.
During O.J Simpson’s MVP season the Buffalo Bills went 9-5 and failed to make the playoffs. Unlike Unitas, the Bills were not excluded from the playoffs due to formating instead the team just did not provide a good enough win to loss record.
The reason O.J was still able to win the MVP award was that he put together the greatest running back season of all time.
Simpson was the first ever to break the 2,000 rushing yard marker. He did this when there were only fourteen games in a season.
On top of that incredible accolade, Simpson also led the league in touchdowns and yards from scrimmage.
Through his MVP season, Simpson ran for 2003 yards, and twelve touchdowns and averaged an incredible six yards per carry.
Despite the bills not making the playoffs this year there was no way that anyone else could go home with the MVP award.
For this reason, O.J Simpson became the second player to earn an MVP award without his team making the playoffs.