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Most valuable player: Lamar Jackson

After the Ravens beat the Jets on a Thursday night in December, I said that anyone on the AP awards panel who votes for anyone other than Lamar Jackson for MVP should have their voting rights rescinded permanently. And I meant it.

Lamar Jackson is the MVP without question. There’s not even a close No. 2 at this point. He shattered the single-season record for rushing yards by a quarterback, finishing with more than 1,200 yards. And he added another 3,100 yards through the air, along with a league-leading 36 touchdown passes.

Beyond the stats were the moments. Plays that ripped the soul out of an opponent, with Jackson making a big run or a stellar throw just as the foe was on the ropes. He played like a man among boys at Louisville, and he re-created that vibe in his second NFL season.

He’s also great for business. Beyond the fact that they can’t make enough of his jerseys to keep up with demand, he’s the rare superstar who will hold an audience during a blowout.

“He’s doing things that have never been done before,” Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes told PFT in December. And that assessment carries extra weight when it comes from the 2018 MVP, who did things that had never been done before.

And so for the second straight year, the game has been revolutionized by a second-year quarterback. Hopefully, they’re on a collision course in the postseason.

The other candidates for MVP were Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson. Both had special seasons. Again, however, this was Lamar Jackson’s award in a landslide, the easiest of the various awards that we have handed out today.