How Jamaal Charles stacks up against previous MVP running backs

Jed Jacobsohn Getty Images Sport

How does the Chiefs RB stack up against others from his position who've taken the NFL's MVP trophy?

As the NFL regular season winds down, debate about the upcoming votes for the league's yearly awards are in full swing. When it comes to NFL MVP, however, there's not much to talk about for most folks who believe Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning will walk away with it.

Kansas City Chiefs fans have long understood the impact of Jamaal Charles, and lately several others are picking up on Charles' incredible numbers. A recent Peter King column brought Charles into the MVP conversation as a "dark horse candidate". As King writes, "Charles's play down the stretch, and how he's enlivened an offense that needed it, could thrust him into a race no one saw him in a month ago."

On the season, Charles has 1,836 yards from scrimmage. He's rushed 246 times for 1,181 yards on the ground and caught another 65 passes for 655 receiving yards. He has 11 rushing touchdowns and another seven TDs through the air for 18 total, tops in the league. In short, he's been the team's saving grace on offense.

While Charles leads the Chiefs in every offensive category besides passing stats, what sort of numbers would he need to be NFL MVP? Better yet, how does Charles stack up against other running backs who have taken home the MVP trophy? Let's take a closer look, going back to 1977 because it seemed like a good number from a long time ago:

Year Name Attempts Rushing Yds. Rushing TDs Receptions Rec. Yds. Rec. TDs
1977 Walter Payton 339 1852 14 27 269 2
1979 Earl Campbell 368 1697 19 16 94 0
1985 Marcus Allen 380 1759 11 67 555 3
1991 Thurman Thomas 288 1407 7 62 631 5
1993 Emmitt Smith 283 1486 9 57 414 1
1997 Barry Sanders 335 2053 11 33 305 3
1998 Terrell Davis 392 2008 21 25 217 2
2000 Marshall Faulk 253 1359 18 81 830 8
2005 Shaun Alexander 370 1880 27 15 78 1
2006 LaDanian Tomlinson 348 1815 28 56 508 3
2012 Adrian Peterson 348 2097 12 28 169 1
2013 Jamaal Charles 246 1181 11 65 655 7

With two full games left for Charles, Faulk's MVP season seems to be the greatest point of comparison as a dynamic receiver and rushing option. Amazingly enough, Faulk won the MVP that season despite missing two games. While other rushers have enjoyed ridiculous TD totals and higher rushing yards, Charles stacks up well when analyzing yards from scrimmage and total offensive impact. In short, Charles as an MVP candidate holds up well historically.

Unfortunately for Chiefs fans, Manning is likely to walk away with the trophy. After all, in a league where quarterback is king, the one making history will be the one who wins the MVP. But Charles has definitely enjoyed a season that deserves consideration for the best player in the NFL.

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