Professional football launched in 1920 as the American Professional Football Association (APFA), which became the NFL two years later. One hundred years in, here's a rundown of the best player from every season.
In just his first full season as a starter and second season in the NFL, Mahomes won MVP after leading the league with 50 touchdowns and an 82.0 QBR. The Chiefs quarterback also had 5,097 yards passing, leading the most prolific offense in the NFL.
Age was no obstacle for Brady, won who his third MVP Award at age 40. The Patriots signal-caller led the NFL with 4,577 yards passing and also had 32/8 TD/INT, leading the team to a 13-3 regular-season record.
Ryan had a breakout season, leading the elite Falcons offense with 4,944 yards passing and 38 touchdowns. His 9.3 yards per pass attempt led the league, but the Falcons memorably blew a 28-3 lead to the Patriots in the Super Bowl.
Carolina's versatile quarterback won the 2015 MVP after leading the team to a 15-1 regular-season record. He threw 35 touchdowns and also ran fro 10 more scores during the year. Newton eventually led the Panthers to the Super Bowl, but the team lost to the Broncos.
Coming off an injury-shortened 2013 season, Rodgers won the MVP Award with a huge offensive campaign. He threw for 4,381 yards and 38 touchdowns while getting picked off only five times. Green Bay went 12-4 during the regular season but eventually lost to Seattle in the NFC championship game.
Manning put together one of the greatest offensive seasons by a quarterback in history, leading the league with 5,477 yards and 55 touchdowns en route to his fifth MVP Award. He led the Broncos to a 13-3 regular-season record for the second consecutive season, but the team was blown out by Seattle in the Super Bowl.
Peterson not only made an incredibly quick return from a major knee injury in 2012, but he also reached the vaunted 2,000 yards rushing milestone. He easily led the league with 2,097 yards rushing and 2,314 yards from scrimmage to win league MVP.
Rodgers won his first NFL MVP in his fourth season as a starter, leading the Packers to a 14-1 regular-season record in his 15 starts. He threw for 4,643 yards and 45 touchdowns vs. only six interceptions. Unfortunately, Green Bay was upset by the Giants in the divisional round of the playoffs.
Brady had an incredibly efficient 2010 season, with a league-leading 36 touchdown passes and only four interceptions over 16 starts. He also led the league with 9.0 yards per pass attempt to win MVP.
Manning won his third MVP Award with Indianapolis in 2009, throwing for 4,500 yards and 33 touchdowns in a 14-2 regular season. He led the Colts to the Super Bowl, where they were upset by the Saints.
Peyton Manning was the 2008 MVP Award winner, but Brees had superior stats while leading the 8-8 Saints. He led the league with 5,069 yards passing and 34 touchdowns, making his third Pro Bowl.
After missing nearly all of the 2006 season due to a knee injury, Brady made up for lost time with a historic 2007 campaign. He led the Patriots to a perfect 16-0 regular season after leading the league with 4,806 yards passing, 50 touchdowns and a 68.6 completion rate. The Patriots were upset by the Giants in the Super Bowl, halting their quest for a perfect year.
Tomlinson led the NFL in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns, putting together one of the best years ever by a running back with 1,815 yards on the ground and 28 rushing scores. He won NFL MVP for the 14-2 Chargers.
Alexander had his fifth straight season with at least 1,100 rushing yards, and this one was clearly his best. The Seahawks star won NFL MVP by leading the league with 1,880 rushing yards and 27 rushing touchdowns. He would start to break down physically the following year.
Manning had one of the most productive seasons in NFL history by a quarterback in 2004, leading the NFL with 49 touchdown passes while adding 4,557 yards passing. He also led the league with 9.2 yards per pass attempt in a 12-4 regular season.
Manning won his first of five career MVP Awards in 2003, sharing the honor with Steve McNair. He led the NFL with 4,267 yards passing and a 67.0 percent completion rate. He added 29 touchdowns passes in the Colts' 12-4 regular season.
Rich Gannon of the rival Raiders won NFL MVP in 2002, but Holmes managed to win Offensive Player of the Year after his tremendous campaign. Playing only 14 games, Holmes had 1,615 yards rushing and led the league with 2,287 yards from scrimmage and 24 total touchdowns.
Warner's amazing three-year run culminated with a 14-2 regular season record in 2001 in which he led the NFL in passing yards (4,830), passing touchdowns (36) and completion rate 68.7 percent). He was able to win his second MVP, but the Rams were upset by the Patriots in the Super Bowl.
With Kurt Warner missing five games, Faulk was able to step up and win MVP for the league's premier offense. Over 14 regular-season games, Faulk led the league with 26 touchdowns and also had 2,189 yards from scrimmage.
Faulk was traded from the Colts to the Rams prior to the 1999 season and helped spark the arrival of the Greatest Show on Turf in St. Louis along with quarterback Kurt Warner. While Warner won NFL MVP, Faulk was arguably more deserving with a league-leading 2,429 yards from scrimmage and 12 touchdowns. He also led the league with 5.5 yards per carry.
Davis peaked in 1998 with an MVP campaign, rushing for more than 2,000 yards and 21 touchdowns. The Broncos back also led the NFL with 5.1 yards per carry.
Sanders was a co-MVP with Packers quarterback Brett Favre in 1997, surpassing 2,000 yards rushing and averaging a staggering 6.1 yards per carry. The all-time great would play only one more season before calling it a career following the 1998 season.
Favre won his second consecutive MVP Award, leading the league with 39 touchdown passes while going 13-3 during the regular season. Green Bay won the Super Bowl over New England and had the top offense in the league.
Favre won his first of three MVP Awards, leading the league with 4,413 passing yards and 38 touchdowns. Green Bay finished 11-5 during the regular season but lost to the Cowboys in the NFC conference championship.
Young won his second MVP Award in three years, completing more than 70 percent of his passes and leading the league with 35 touchdown passes. The 49ers easily won the Super Bowl due in large part to their dominant offense led by Young.
Young lost out on his second straight MVP due to Emmitt Smith's great season, but the star quarterback had another terrific year. He threw for more than 4,000 yards and led the league with 29 touchdown passes and 8.7 yards per pass attempt.
Young won the MVP in his first 16-game season as the 49ers starter, leading the league with a 66.7 percent competition rate and 25 passing touchdowns. The lefty's 8.6 yards per pass attempt was also tops in the league.
Thomas was the first running back since Marcus Allen in 1985 to win NFL MVP, rushing for 1,407 yards and nine scores while leading the league with 4.9 yards per carry. He also had more than 2,000 yards from scrimmage.
Joe Montana won NFL MVP in 1990, but Moon had superior stats for the Oilers. Starting 15 games, he led the league with 4,689 passing yards and 33 touchdowns, averaging 8.0 yards per pass attempt.
Montana won his first NFL MVP Award with arguably his finest season in 1989, completing 70.2 percent of his passes with 3,521 yards and 26 touchdowns. He easily led the NFL with 9.1 passing yards per attempt.
Esiason had his best season in 1988, winning NFL MVP with 3,572 yards passing and 28 touchdowns. He led the league in yards per passing attempt for the second time in three years, as the Bengals advanced to the Super Bowl.
Broncos quarterback John Elway won the NFL MVP, but Montana was arguably better with a league-leading 31 touchdown passes and 66.8 completion rate for the top offense in the NFL.
Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor won NFL MVP with 20.5 sacks, but Marino was the NFL's most dominant offensive player. He led the league with 4,746 yards passing and 44 touchdowns, nearly matching his epic 1984 season.
Allen was the first running back since Earl Campbell six years earlier to win NFL MVP, leading the league with 1,759 yards rushing and 2,314 yards from scrimmage. He had 14 total touchdowns as the Raiders went 12-4 during the regular season.
Marino burst onto the scene with one of the best seasons ever by a quarterback, leading the league with 5,084 yards passing and 48 touchdowns and 9.0 yards per pass attempt. Miami went 14-2 during the regular season but fell to the 49ers in the Super Bowl.
Theisman had his best season at age 34, throwing for 3,714 yards and 29 touchdowns in a 14-2 regular season. He led Washington to the Super Bowl, where it lost to the Raiders.
Fouts won the MVP in a strike-shortened 1982 season, throwing for 2,883 yards and 17 touchdowns in only nine games. He also led the league with 8.7 yards per pass attempt.
Anderson won the 1981 MVP, throwing for 3,754 yards and 29 touchdowns as he led Cincinnati to a 12-4 regular season record. The Bengals lost to San Francisco in the Super Bowl.
Sipe led the NFL in touchdown passes in 1979, but he was even better as the league MVP in 1980. He threw for 4,132 yards and 30 touchdowns while being picked off 14 times. The Browns went 11-5 during the regular season but lost to the Raiders in the divisional round of the playoffs.
Campbell won his second consecutive MVP Award in 1979, rushing for a league-leading 1,697 yards and 19 touchdowns in his sophomore season. Houston advanced to the AFC conference championship after going 11-5 during the regular season.
Rookie running back Earl Campbell won the MVP, but Bradshaw had arguably his finest season as the Steelers went 14-2 and won the Super Bowl. He threw for 2,915 yards and a league-high 28 touchdowns while averaging 7.9 yards per pass attempt.
The busiest back in the NFL with 339 carries, Payton also led the league with 1,852 rushing yards and 14 scores to earn the league MVP.
With only his second season as a full-time starter, Jones won MVP for the Colts after leading the league with 3,104 yards passing in 14 games and adding 24 touchdowns. Baltimore went 11-3 during the regular season but fell to Pittsburgh in the playoffs.
Tarkenton won MVP, leading the NFL with 25 touchdowns passes and falling just short of 3,000 yards passing in a 12-2 regular season. The Vikings were quickly ousted in the playoffs by the Cowboys, however.
Stabler had his only All-Pro season in 1974, leading the league with 26 touchdowns while throwing for 2,469 yards in 14 games. The Raiders averaged a league-leading 25.4 points per game.
Simpson became the NFL's first 2,000-yard rusher in 1973, averaging 143.1 yards per game and adding 12 rushing touchdowns. Buffalo went 9-5 during the regular season but failed to make the playoffs.
Brown was the AP Offensive Player of the Year with 1,216 rushing yards in only 12 games, leading the league with 101.3 yards rushing per game. He also led the league with 1,689 yards from scrimmage.
Griese had a brilliant season for the Dolphins with 2,089 yards passing and 19 touchdowns for his first of two All-Pro seasons in 1971. Miami would go on to have a perfect season the following year, though Griese had his season cut short due to injury.
Brodie was the MVP in 1970, leading the NFL with 2,941 yards passing and 24 touchdowns. The 35-year-old quarterback led San Francisco to a 10-3-1 regular season before the Niners fell to Dallas in the NFC championship game.
Gabriel continued his elite play for the Rams in 1969, winning the MVP after throwing for 2,459 yards and a league-high 24 touchdowns. He also throw only seven interceptions in 399 attempts.
Morrall replaced the injured Johnny Unitas in 1968 and was the Colts savior with 2,909 yards passing and a league-leading 26 touchdown passes in a 13-1 regular season. Baltimore would eventually be upset by the Jets in the Super Bowl.
Unitas won the MVP at age 34 after leading Baltimore to an 11-1-2 regular season. He led the NFL with a 58.5 completion rate and threw for 3,428 yards and 20 touchdowns.
Starr won his only MVP Award, in 1966, with a highly efficient season in which he led the Packers to an 11-2 regular season over his 13 starts. He completed 62.2 percent of his passes for 2,257 yards and 14 touchdowns while being picked off only three times.
Brown called it quits after the 1965 season, which was his third MVP campaign. The Browns running back led the league with 1,544 yards rushing and 17 rushing touchdowns.
Colts running back Lenny Moore won the MVP, but Brown was more productive with a league-leading 1,446 yards rushing, seven rushing scores and 5.2 yards per carry.
Brown had perhaps his best season in 1963, leading the NFL with 1,863 yards rushing, 12 rushing touchdowns and 6.4 yards per carry. It was his sixth time leading the league in rushing over seven seasons.
Taylor won the MVP after leading the NFL with 1,474 rushing yards and 19 rushing touchdowns in 14 games. He helped the Packers average 29.6 points per game and go 13-1 during the regular season.
Y.A. Tittle won the MVP in 1961, but Jurgensen had bigger numbers, leading the NFL with 3,723 yards passing and 32 touchdowns in his first year as a regular starter. The Eagles went 10-4 during the regular season.
Van Brocklin won his only MVP in his first NFL season, throwing for 2,471 yards and 24 touchdowns in 12 games. He led five fourth-quarter comebacks during the season.
Unitias won his first NFL MVP from the UPI, leading the NFL with 2,899 yards passing and 32 touchdowns in a 9-3 regular season. He led the Colts to a championship win over the Giants.
Brown won his first MVP Award after leading the NFL with 1,527 yards rushing and 17 rushing touchdowns at age 22. The Browns went 9-3 during the regular season, averaging 25.2 points per game.
Brown took the league by storm in his rookie season with a league-leading 942 yards rushing and nine touchdowns. Cleveland went 9-2-1 during the regular season.
Gifford was the league MVP with a career-high 819 yards rushing and league-leading 1,422 yards from scrimmage in 1956. He helped New York go 8-3-1 during the regular season.
Graham won his third UPI MVP Award in his final season. The Browns quarterback threw for 1,721 yards and 15 touchdowns over 12 regular-season games, and Cleveland eventually won the championship game over the Rams.
Van Brocklin averaged a league-high 10.1 yards per pass attempt and 2,637 total yards passing in his terrific 1954 season for the Rams.
Graham won his second MVP Award in 1953, throwing for a league-high 2,722 yards and averaging 10.6 yards per completion. Cleveland went 10-1 in his 11 regular-season starts, but the Browns lost to Detroit in the championship game.
Towler had a great season as the league's leading rusher with 894 yards and also led the NFL with 10 rushing touchdowns. Los Angeles lost to Detroit in the playoffs.
Graham won his first MVP Award in 1951, as he threw for 2,205 yards and 17 touchdowns. Cleveland lost the championship game to the Los Angeles Rams.
Van Brocklin led the Rams at quarterback with 2,061 yards passing and 18 touchdowns in only his second NFL season. L.A. lost to the Browns in the championship.
Van Buren led the NFL in rushing for the third consecutive season, finishing with 1,146 yards and 11 rushing touchdowns in 12 games. Philadelphia averaged more than 30 points per game and won the championship.
Averaging nearly 86 yards rushing per game, Van Buren led the league with 945 yards rushing and 10 rushing touchdowns. Philly's offense averaged 31.3 points per game and won the championship.
Baugh's Redskins went only 4-8 during the regular season, but he led the league with 2,938 yards passing and 25 passing touchdowns. His 4.2 percent interception rate was also the best in the league.
Luckman led the NFL champion Bears at quarterback, leading the league with 1,826 yards passing and 17 touchdown passes.
Waterfield led the NFL in touchdown passes (14) and yards per pass attempt (9.4) in his rookie season, as the Rams went 9-1 and won the championship. He also won the Joe F. Carr Trophy as the league MVP.
The 1942 Heisman Trophy winner at Georgia, Sinkwich was the 1944 NFL MVP after rushing for 563 yards and six touchdowns.
Luckman led the NFL with 2,194 yards passing and 28 passing touchdowns, averaging 10.9 yards per attempt. The Bears won the championship after a great 8-1-1 regular season.
Hutson had a career year in 1942, leading the NFL with 74 receptions for 1,211 yards and 17 receiving touchdowns. He also successfully kicked 33 extra points and had seven interceptions at safety.
Green Bay's star end led the NFL with 58 receptions for 738 yards and 10 receiving touchdowns. He also led the league with 20 extra points made.
Baugh led Washington to a 9-2 regular-season record, leading the NFL with 1,367 yards passing and 12 touchdowns. He completed 62.7 percent of his passes.
Hall led the NFL in passes and touchdown rate during his rookie season, completing 51 percent of his passes for 1,227 yards and nine touchdowns. He also ran for 458 yards and two scores. He won MVP after becoming the first player in league history to complete more than 100 passes in a season.
Hutson was an All-Pro for the first time in 1938, leading the league with 548 receiving yards and nine receiving touchdowns.
Battles played his final NFL season in 1937, leading the league with 216 carries for 874 yards and five rushing touchdowns. Washington went 8-3 during the regular season and won the championship.
Herber led the NFL in passing touchdowns for the third time in 1937, with 11, and added a league-high 1,239 yards passing. The Green Bay native led the team to a 10-1-1 regular season record and championship win.
Clark led the NFL in points scored in 1935, with six touchdowns, two touchdown passes and 16 extra points made. The Lions won the championship after a 7-3-2 regular season.
Clark led the NFL with eight rushing touchdowns and also kicked 13 extra points during Detroit's 10-3 regular season. He was selected as a first-time All-Pro at quarterback.
Musick had a fantastic 1933 season, leading the NFL with 809 yards rushing and 67.4 yards per game to make the NFL All-Star team.
Herber had one of his best seasons in a Hall of Fame career, throwing for a league-high 639 yards and nine scores. He also ran for 149 yards in a 10-3-1 regular season.
Johnny "Blood" McNally led the Packers to their third straight championship, scoring 14 touchdowns. Green Bay went 12-2 during the regular season.
The Packers won their second consecutive championship, as Lewellen scored nine touchdowns. Green Bay went 10-3-1 for the season.
After taking a year off from the NFL in 1928, Nevers returned to be the league's top fullback with 12 touchdowns and added 10 extra points.
Friedman led the best offense in the NFL in 1928, throwing 10 touchdown passes and also leading the league in rushing touchdowns. The Wolverines went 7-2-1 for the season.
McBride led the NFL in scoring during the 1927 season, his third in the league. He kicked 15 extra points and scored six touchdowns.
Wentz scored a league-high 10 touchdowns in 1926, as the Maroons went 10-2. He was named an All-Pro.
Berry played in both the NFL and MLB. His NFL rookie season in 1925 saw him lead the league with 74 points scored, including six touchdowns and 29 extra points.
Hamer scored 12 touchdowns for the Yellow Jackets in 1924 and was named First Team All-NFL with 72 total points scored.
Driscoll played in both MLB and the NFL and scored 78 points for the Chicago Cardinals in 1923. He was the league's leading scorer, even though he appeared in only eight of 12 games.
Chamberlin served as both a player and head coach of the Bulldogs, as the team went 10-0-2. He scored seven touchdowns, leading the league in points.
Oliphant led the league in points scored after throwing seven touchdowns and also kicking five field goals and 26 extra points. Buffalo went 9-1-2 with Oliphant starring in 1921.
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