Justin Herbert is in the midst of a fantastic second season for the LA Chargers. After putting together the greatest rookie season in NFL history, Herbert has continued to play at an elite level and has inserted himself firmly into the top-five quarterback rankings in the league. Without a doubt, Herbert is a Super Bowl-quality quarterback.
Herbert's numbers this season have been fantastic as well as he is near the top in just about every important passing statistic. Justin Herbert ranks second in passing yards and third in passing touchdowns. As far as advanced statistics go, Herbert ranks third in ESPN's Quarterback Rating and first in EPA (Expected Points Added). Both of these statistics are great measuring tools for quarterbacks.
Justin Herbert definitely has the numbers to be the MVP this season and he has the wow factor as well. Herbert has arguably the best throw of the entire season thus far; a BOMB to Jalen Guyton while rolling right and getting hit at the same time. You have probably already seen it dozens of times. Let's watch it again.
However, there is something that Justin Herbert is lacking to win the MVP award: team success. While the LA Chargers have undoubtedly been successful and should make the playoffs, the fact of the matter is that a wild-card berth is not going to be enough for Herbert to win the MVP.
In fact, we can safely say that a coin toss cost Justin Herbert the MVP award in 2021.
The coin toss that we are referring to is the coin toss in overtime against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 15. Former Charger Melvin Ingram called tails and hit it, giving Patrick Mahomes the ball first. Justin Herbert never even got a chance to touch the ball as the Chiefs went down to score on a frustrating Travis Kelce touchdown.
Chances are if Herbert gets the ball there the Chargers go down and score a touchdown and win the game. While the Chiefs stopped the Chargers on their last drive in regulation, the Chargers offense was moving the ball almost at will in the game. Poor execution on fourth down kept the Bolts from scoring almost 50. With time on their side, the Bolts would have been able to drive down.
That would have been a massive statement win over the Chiefs that would have started swinging the MVP narrative in Herbert's favor. He would have been the first QB to beat the Chiefs twice in one regular season since 2014 and barring a meltdown in the final three weeks, would have been in line to win the division.
Heck, with the New England Patriots AND Tennessee Titans both losing in Week 15, the Chargers could have been in the conversation for the no. 1 seed and if they won out (which is still likely) then they probably would have been the AFC's top seed.
All of that would have helped the Herbert narrative as would Sunday Night Football. Tom Brady went out and played his worst game maybe of his career, losing the top seed in the NFC to the Green Bay Packers as a result. If the coin toss would have been heads then the BIG NFL media story right now would probably be that Justin Herbert is the front-runner for MVP.
However, unfortunately, he feels like a bit of an afterthought. While he has the numbers, he does not have the narrative, which we know is so important in these things. The last player to win the MVP and not win the division was Adrian Peterson in 2012 and that was obviously already a very unique occasion as it was a running back who almost broke the rushing yards record.
Blame Melvin Ingram if Justin Herbert does not get the MVP attention he deserves.