You don't win NFL MVP by playing just half a season.
But you certainly put yourself into the MVP conversation by playing great football for half a season, and plenty of big names have done just that in 2018, from gaudy-number quarterbacks like the Kansas City Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes and Los Angeles Rams' Jared Goff to all-purpose stars like Rams running back Todd Gurley and record-setting wideouts like the Minnesota Vikings' Adam Thielen.
Only two of those names have garnered MVP consideration from the NFL on CBS crew midway through the season, however, and one of them is an almost-unanimous favorite. You can probably guess who it is, and there is a good chance he wins it when the season ends.
"To think he's going to maintain the pace that he's on now would be crazy. You're talking over 5,000 yards passing and 50 touchdowns and those things," NFL on CBS analyst Trent Green told CBS Sports Will Brinsonrecently. "To think he's going to maintain that pace, I don't think so, but I didn't necessarily think he would do the first half of the season the way he has. I think he'll be able to do it -- if you look at his schedule coming up, the one that jumps out to me is the game against the Rams in Mexico City.
"But yeah, I do pick Patrick Mahomes. If he stays healthy and the guys around him stay healthy, I wouldn't be surprised if he [wins the award at the end of the year]."
Green picked Mahomes at midseason, of course, and he's not alone. From Tony Romo to Boomer Esiason, here's who everyone on the NFL on CBS team likes as this year's mid-season NFL MVP.
Tony Romo: Patrick Mahomes
"Nobody has played better week-in and week-out during the first half of the season. And I don't think it's changing in the second half of the season. Even as defenses get tape on him, I expect him to adjust and keep playing at a high level."
Boomer Esiason: Patrick Mahomes
"Patrick Mahomes is the most explosive player in the NFL right now. He is playing in the midst of a circus that when it comes to town, everyone has to see it. He is clear and away the MVP of the NFL at the halfway point."
Phil Simms: Patrick Mahomes
"I thought Dan Marino was the best-throwing quarterback I'd ever seen. Then I saw Brett Favre and thought he might be better. Then Aaron Rodgers followed and I thought he might be better than Brett Favre. I know it's early in his career, but right now Patrick Mahomes is throwing the ball like I've never seen anyone throw the ball in NFL history. It's just incredible."
Bill Cowher: Patrick Mahomes
"He is orchestrating the most dynamic offense in the NFL right now and is in total command. His decision-making is impeccable."
Nate Burleson: Todd Gurley
"It's not just that he is great, he is the most versatile player in the NFL. And he will break LaDainian Tomlinson's single-season touchdown record."
Dan Fouts: Patrick Mahomes
"Patrick Mahomes is the most dynamic player in the NFL on the most entertaining offense in the league right now."
Bruce Arians: Patrick Mahomes
"He is breaking every record there is. I don't think the Chiefs are where they are as a team without him."
Trent Green: Patrick Mahomes
"The only other quarterbacks that have done what he's done earned the MVP, and they weren't 23. Yes, he has plenty of weapons, but he is finding those weapons and connecting. Part of being a leader is getting others to believe, and Patrick Mahomes has the entire Chiefs locker room believing."
Rich Gannon: Patrick Mahomes
"Not even close right now. What he's already accomplished through the first eight games of his career is astonishing."
James Lofton: Patrick Mahomes
"He is so good, you can't take your eyes off him."
Steve Beuerlein: Todd Gurley
"He is the best player on the best team."
Amy Trask: Patrick Mahomes
"Patrick Mahomes is playing tremendously, maximizing the (many) offensive weapons available to him (league-leading 36.3 PPG), limiting mistakes (26 TDs, 6 INTs) and, when needed, pulling a proverbial rabbit out of his hat and from a business standpoint (which I know is not a traditional factor), he is generating excitement and enthusiasm for the game (and not just among Chiefs fans) by generating offense, which is the both the desire and goal of many league executives and owners."
London Fletcher: Todd Gurley
"He's the most valuable player on the best team in the NFL."