NFL MVP Odds: Titans’ Derrick Henry Now 10th; On Pace For All-Time Rushing Record
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images. Pictured: Derrick Henry
The Tennessee Titans’ Derrick Henry is currently on pace to beat the all-time rushing record by 100 yards.
And doing so would assuredly win him the NFL MVP Award.
His odds to win the award have shortened considerably from 50-1 to 22-1 after he kept up his record pace with 143 yards from the ground during a 34-31 upset win over the Buffalo Bills. (Those odds are according to BetMGM.)
He’s on pace to rush for a record 2,218 yards.
The current record was set by the Los Angeles Rams’ Eric Dickerson in 1984. Dickerson put up 2,105 yards that season.
In a traditional 16-game season, Henry would be on pace to fall short of that figure by just 17 yards.
But remember, from this season onward, an extra 17th game will be played.
Some voters will definitely tack on an asterisk if Henry sets the record during his 17th game.
It’s something many football purists did with Dickerson’s record when he set it in the 1980s. O.J. Simpson had been the first-ever running back to reach 2,000 yards but did so in 1973 — when the NFL had 14-game seasons.
Dickerson’s required 16 games.
Still, if Henry sets the record, it would likely be enough for voters to give him a trophy typically reserved for quarterbacks.
Since 2000, only four running backs have won the NFL MVP. Each one required record-setting seasons.
Marshall Faulk rushed for just 1,359 yards during his 2000 MVP season, but set the record in total touchdowns with 26. That was enough to push him over the line during a season with mediocre quarterback play.
Shaun Alexander then broke that record in 2005 with 28 total touchdowns and put up 1,880 yards to boot. He won that award over Peyton Manning, who came in second with stats that we’d consider in the modern day to be somewhat pedestrian.
Manning threw for 3,747 yards with 28 touchdowns and 10 interceptions along with — obviously — zero contribution with his legs. He still came in second with 13 votes. It was a weird era.
In 2006, LaDanian Tomlinson again broke the touchdown record with 31 and the single-season rushing record with 28. (Alexander had rushed for 27 touchdowns and had one touchdown reception the season before.)
Tomlinson won the award over Drew Brees and Peyton Manning in a landslide.
Henry, by the way, is on pace to tie Tomlinson’s NFL rushing touchdown record of 28. But, again, that would be in 17 games, and it’s a fickle stat to keep pace with given how volatile scoring TDs is.
Also, the NFL voters don’t have the same emphasis on that record as they once did.
Adrian Peterson was the last running back to win the award when he did so in 2012. He came just eight yards short of breaking Dickerson’s all-time rushing record. Peterson had been coming off of an ACL tear from the season before, too.
This long history lesson is all to say that Henry will need to have an exceptional year — and to write his name in the record books — in order to usurp a quarterback for MVP.
There are already several contenders from the QB position in Kyler Murray, Dak Prescott, Josh Allen, Aaron Rodgers and Lamar Jackson that are on pace to put up ridiculous numbers from the sport’s most important position.
And it’s a testament that nine QBs are ahead of Henry in the MVP market despite the running back’s gaudy numbers.
2022 NFL MVP Odds
But if Henry sets the rushing record — or, perhaps, if he puts up 2,000 yards and sets the rushing touchdown record — there’s a very distinct chance he takes the award and becomes just the fifth running back this side of American Psycho to win.
Personally, if you’re this bullish on Henry, a safer bet would be to bet his over on rushing yards every week. They’re typically set around 85-95 yards.
That way, you’d be sure to at least make some money for your troubles, should voters not be convinced at the end of the year.
Otherwise, take that 22-1 flier and hope he takes down that all-time record.