2012 NFL MVP
The other week I mused about if Tom Brady broke Dan Marino's single season passing record but Aaron Rogers led the Green Bay Packers to an undefeated season - which QB would win the MVP? There was a flaw in the question in that Aaron Rogers could both lead the Packers to an unblemished season AND break Marino's record. So Rogers seems to be the pick at this point.
The more I thought about it the more I started thinking of a baseball parallel that could come into play. You might think I would bring to mind Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio the year Mister Coffee had a 56-game hitting streak and the Splendid Splinter hit .406. That 1941 season would be a good analogy since that was also a very contested MVP but the analogy I had in mind was actually from 2002.
That year Pedro Martinez was near unhittable but he ended up losing the AL Cy Young to Barry Zito largely because Zito had more starts than Pedro and that made a big difference to the voters. In 2002 Pedro went 20-4 with a 2.26 ERA in 30 starts while Zito went 23-5 with a 2.75 ERA in 35 starts. Pedro was much more dominating than Zito having 239 K's to Barry's 182 even though Zito pitched 30 more innings yet Zito won the award. The difference was Pedro took some starts off down the stretch because the Red Sox were out of it and that didn't sit well with some voters.
So what does that 2002 baseball season have to do with this year's NFL MVP? Well if Green Bay sews up the best record in the NFC there may be a strong push to rest him up for the playoffs. If his team loses a game, rests him, and Brady breaks Marino's record then those quarters on the bench may be the difference for Rogers between winning the MVP and losing it to Tom Brady.
This is in no way equating Tom Brady to Barry Zito. That would be like equating Barry Zito to Sandy Koufax. The situation from 2002 did strike me as relevant though.