Patrick Mahomes’ biggest threat to 2023 MVP is right under his nose

Patrick Mahomes' comments about his offseason should get fans fired up

The league’s MVP award history is shaped like a pyramid: at the top, the offensive cream of the crop, a long line of quarterbacks (and a handful of running backs) who continue to win the esteemed honor year after year.



The bottom wide-spanning tiers of the pyramid represent all the receivers, defensive tackles, and other position groups who have put together admirable MVP-contending campaigns but ultimately lost.





As football-turned soccer fictional coach Ted Lasso would say, let’s invert that darn tootin’ pyramid. Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones is looking to ascend into the rarefied air breathed only by two other MVP-winning defensive players and believes 2023 will be his year.

On Sunday, Jones announced his intention to win league MVP next season, knowing full well that his biggest foe could be his own teammate and two-time MVP winner Patrick Mahomes.



Jones finished third in 2022 DPOY voting, trailing 49ers’ Nick Bosa and Cowboys’ Micah Parsons. He posted the best campaign of his career by far with 44 tackles, 29 quarterback hits, 15.5 sacks, and four passes defended.



Patrick Mahomes’ biggest threat to 2023 MVP is right under his nose



Jones is set to enter his eighth year in Kansas City and appears ready to build upon last season’s success; however, he’ll need more than just a few game-deciding sacks to win an award as prestigious as MVP. In the 64-year-existence of the NFL MVP award, only two defenders have ever won. Seriously.

It’s been 37 years since a defensive player last won MVP, which was New York Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor in 1986. Prior to Taylor’s accomplishment, Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Alan Page lifted the award in 1971.

Behind Taylor and Page, the MVP winner category is littered with defensive stars who may be considered the best players of their respective franchises and enjoyed some truly transcendental seasons.

Buffalo Bills’ Bruce Smith, Baltimore Ravens’ Ray Lewis, and Houston Texans’ J.J. Watt all came close — Watt was actually the runner-up in 2014 to Aaron Rodgers. For Jones to even get close to MVP territory in 2023, he’ll likely have to produce similar numbers to what Watt produced a decade ago.

The MVP race next season will feature several other offensive players not named Patrick Mahomes, too: Joe Burrow, Jalen Hurts, and Aaron Rodgers could all thrive on their respective powerhouse teams, and at least one wide receiver could also sneak his name on the ballot