The second half of the 2019 NFL season is right around the corner, but with two quarters of the regular season in the books, it's time to assess which players and coaches are most deserving of our praise.
And unlike 2018, when Kansas City Chiefs breakout Patrick Mahomes was a near-unanimous choice among NFL on CBS analysts as the midseason MVP, this season has produced something like a half-dozen legitimate candidates for the league's top honor.
With most teams having played eight games and the end-of-season playoff picture beginning to take shape, experts from "NFL on CBS," "NFL Today" and "TOPS" offered their opinions on the player and coach MVPs of 2019 thus far, and while Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers got the most love, he was far from the only name to draw consideration. As for the coaches, the analysts were even more divided, with Bill Belichick, Kyle Shanahan and Sean Payton splitting top recognition as Coach of the Year.
Midseason MVP votes
Adam Archuleta: Seahawks QB Russell Wilson
"Started the season with questionable offensive line, no-name wide receivers -- no Doug Baldwin. Defense is suspect right now. All this and he's having his best season ever. That's what a quarterback is supposed to do, lift up everybody around them."
Tiki Barber: Packers QB Aaron Rodgers
"He's always been the most skilled quarterback. Now, he's playing with a renewed energy and focus in Matt LaFleur's offense and making every piece around him better."
Nate Burleson: Packers QB Aaron Rodgers
"As it stands right now I'm going to give it to Aaron Rodgers in a slight edge over Russell Wilson. The fact that he didn't have a preseason makes it so much more understandable why he's catching a rhythm right now. The kinks are worked out now and he's going to be on fire for the rest of the year, so I expect him to separate himself from the pack."
Melanie Collins: Packers QB Aaron Rodgers
"This is the hardest category to pick, but this week I will say Aaron Rodgers. My pick has switched between Christian McCaffrey, Russell Wilson, Deshaun Watson and Aaron Rodgers multiple times. Rodgers is playing at an MVP level with receivers who the average Packers fan probably couldn't name. He's 4-0 without his favorite target in Davante Adams."
Bill Cowher: Ravens QB Lamar Jackson
Boomer Esiason: Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes
Jay Feely: Ravens QB Lamar Jackson
"What would the Ravens look like without Lamar Jackson? He literally has put this team on his back and running them into playoff contention."
London Fletcher: Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey
Dan Fouts: Packers QB Aaron Rodgers
"He's in a new system with a rookie coach and looks better than ever."
Rich Gannon: Packers QB Aaron Rodgers
"It's way too early to tell at this point, but I'm going with Aaron Rodgers, who has the Packers at 7-1 with a first-year head coach. He has already thrown 16 touchdowns with just two interceptions despite injuries at the wide receiver position."
Trent Green: Packers QB Aaron Rodgers
"He's playing as well as he's ever played. The team around him is better as well."
James Lofton: Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes
"Even injured, no one moves the NFL needle the way he does. Not Tom Brady or Rodgers, let youth be served!"
Tony Romo: Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey
"The reason is his total yards from scrimmage and how many touches he is getting."
Phil Simms: Ravens QB Lamar Jackson
"Lamar Jackson is my MVP pick because it's so surprising what he's doing. The running is, of course, extraordinary, but the passing game for him has been very solid to really good. Just the improvement over last year, and the fact that the Baltimore Ravens are where they are, leading their division. It's a big surprise. That's why I'd vote him right now as the MVP."
Brandon Tierney: Seahawks QB Russell Wilson
"But fully expect Aaron Rodgers to eventually catch and ultimately pass him for the award. Rodgers continues to grow in the new system and has dodged some bullets with injuries to his top receiving targets. Green Bay is easily on their way to 13 or so wins and that, coupled with the requisite stats Rodgers will have at year's end, will propel him to league MVP."
Amy Trask: Patriots coach Bill Belichick
"The word 'player' is defined as both 'a person taking part in a sport or a game' and 'a person that is involved and influential in an area or activity.' Given those definitions rather than the more conventional one, the answer seems to me easy: Bill Belichick. I do not believe there is a player (in the more traditional sense of that word) or a coach who is more valuable to his team than Bill is to the Patriots and I don't believe there is a better player or coach in the entire league."
Tracy Wolfson: Packers QB Aaron Rodgers
"Did you see what he did against the Raiders, without Davante Adams and a banged-up receiving core? And even when he's not putting up the numbers, he's making plays all over the field and has the Packers atop NFC North."
Midseason MVP final tally
Here's the final tally of player candidates from all the analysts:
- Rodgers (7)
- Jackson (3)
- Mahomes (2)
- McCaffrey (2)
- Wilson (2)
For reference, Mahomes received all but three of the midseason MVP votes by NFL on CBS analysts in 2018. The only other player to warrant votes that season? Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley.
Coach of the Year votes
Adam Archuleta: Frank Reich (Colts)
"The obvious is dealing with the sudden retirement of Andrew Luck and getting Jacoby Brissett ready to play. But when you look deeper, he is one of the best offensive tacticians in the game. He has instilled a culture that no matter what happens to his team, these players believe they always have a chance to win."
Tiki Barber: Kyle Shanahan (49ers)
"The 49ers are playing at a high level on both sides of the ball, in particular their rush offense, which is about scheme and want-to. His team is motivated and playing with a high level of confidence."
Nate Burleson: Kyle Shanahan (49ers)
"He has reignited a flame in San Francisco that hasn't been lit for quite some time. Jimmy G protects the ball, the running backs have been dominating the ground game and that defense is relentless on opposing quarterbacks. They have gone from obscurity to relevancy."
Melanie Collins: Sean Payton (Saints)
"After Drew Brees went down with a thumb injury in Week 2, he adjusted to Teddy Bridgewater's strengths and weathered the storm without Brees, going 5-0 in his absence. He's also been without starting running back Alvin Kamara and tight end Jared Cooks for stints and hasn't batted an eye."
Bill Cowher: Sean Payton (Saints)
"New Orleans is the most complete team and have been playing with an edge. Despite the losses of Brees and Kamara for a time, he has had his team more focused and playing at the highest levels now more than ever."
Boomer Esiason: Sean Payton (Saints)
Jay Feely: Bill Belichick (Patriots)
"The Patriots defense is (screaming in fear emoji)."
London Fletcher: Matt LaFleur (Packers)
Dan Fouts: Kyle Shanahan (49ers)
"He has his team doing it on both sides of the ball in dominating fashion."
Rich Gannon: Bill Belichick (Patriots)
"Got his 300th career win and is undefeated despite numerous injuries along the offensive line and multiple changes at receiver. Best defense in football. No team in professional sports has handled success better over the last 20 years than Bill Belichick and the Patriots."
Trent Green: Mike Zimmer (Vikings)
"Has the Vikings playing great defense. He kept the team from imploding when Kirk Cousins struggled and the wide receivers were disgruntled. They now have four wins in a row after starting 2-2."
James Lofton: Kyle Shanahan (49ers)
Tony Romo: Bill Belichick (Patriots)
"They have the best defense in the modern era."
Phil Simms: Matt LaFleur (Packers)
"Nobody had any faith he would be able to work with Aaron Rodgers and do what they have been doing in Green Bay. He was a coordinator for one year and no one thought he could become a head coach and offensive coordinator at the same time, work with Aaron Rodgers and win in his first year."
Brandon Tierney: Matt LaFleur (Packers)
Amy Trask: Bill Belichick (Patriots)
Tracy Wolfson: Sean Payton (Saints)
"He has had to navigate losing his starting quarterback in Drew Brees and plugging in Teddy Bridgewater, as well as losing Alvin Kamara for two games, and his team has not missed a beat."
Coach of the Year final tally
Here's the final tally of coach candidates from all the analysts:
- Belichick (4)
- Payton (4)
- Shanahan (4)
- LaFleur (3)
- Zimmer (1)
- Reich (1)