Tennessee Titans RB Derrick Henry deserves MVP trophy but won’t win it

Derrick Henry #22, Tennessee Titans (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
Derrick Henry #22, Tennessee Titans (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images) /

Let’s be frank before we say anything else in this conversation with one another. The word value must have a different definition. At least that’s the case in the NFL. There isn’t a Tennessee Titans fan in Nashville or anywhere else on Planet Earth that would tell you they’d sacrifice team success for individual accolades, but come on. You have to wonder what these guys are thinking sometimes.

Sure, you clicked on this article to read about Derrick Henry, but we have to use Ryan Tannehill as a reference point. Hang in there for a second.

Here’s something that will confuse you if you’re a Tennessee Titans fan.

In 2019, Ryan Tannehill went from being a decent quarterback whose career had waddled in mediocrity for six seasons to becoming a Pro Bowl nod. He appeared in 12 games with ten starts and threw 22 touchdowns versus only six picks while leading Tennessee to a 7-3 record with him under center (and a 9-7 record overall).

The Titans earned a playoff berth thanks, in large part, to his efforts.

One year later, Tannehill was even better, tossing 33 scores versus seven interceptions while leading the Titans to an 11-5 mark. He started all 16 games, earning Tennessee an AFC South title, a feat they’re almost certain to duplicate during the 2021-2022 season. There was no Pro Bowl or MVP conversation.

That’s where Derrick Henry comes in. For as good as Tannehill was in 2020, King Henry may have been better. Blessed with a six-foot-three, 247-pound frame and, not to mention a wicked stiff-arm, The King ran wild over every team the Tennessee Titans faced en route to a 2,027-yard rushing campaign.

He found himself on the Pro Bowl roster at the end of the 2020-2021 season, but he didn’t get a single MVP vote for his efforts. No one’s saying that Aaron Rodgers wasn’t deserving, but come on. Henry didn’t get a vote?

Don’t worry Tennessee Titans fans! We’re all scratching our heads.

By now, as a sports fan, you’ve probably reserved yourselves to the fact that these awards and honors are popularity contests. Pro Bowl voters elect guys that are on their team and they fill out their ballots with names that they recognize.

The Heisman Trophy is given to the best skill-position player in college football, not the best player. The MVP Award in professional football is given to the game’s best quarterback (as long as his team is winning). Only the Good Lord in Heaven knows what the NBA and the Grammys are doing.

Perhaps the name should be changed because, if anyone deserves to be seen as the most ‘valuable’ player, it’s Derrick Henry. There may not have been five guys in the NFL that meant more to their team’s success than The King. Again, the same can be said for Rodgers, but come on. Derrick Henry didn’t get a vote in 2020. That’s inexcusable.

Here’s something else. King Henry is still somewhere between approaching his prime years and already enjoying them. It’s hard to tell. The argument can be made that he has a strong chance to eclipse 2,000 rushing yards for the second season in a row. It’s no small feat, but it’s doable.

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Sure, if you’re a Titans fan, this isn’t the overall goal, and yes, maybe the discussion can be tabled for now. Still, if Derrick Henry delivers more magic during the 2021-2022 season when every team he faces enters the contest knowing part of their job is limiting what he does, he needs to be recognized as having a realistic shot at the MVP trophy.

It’s not like anyone’s lobbying for something he doesn’t deserve. Then again, we all know how this goes. He deserves more credit, but don’t hold your breath about him receiving any.