Looking at how the NFL season has unfolded so far this season, there is no doubt Carolina Panthers' quarterback Cam Newton is the front-runner for the MVP award, as he has led his team to a 13-0 record so far this season.
Tom Brady, Carson Palmer, and Russell Wilson are other names in the hat for the award as well, but one other name that should be included is New England Patriots' tight end Rob Gronkowski.
The tight end has once again been one of the most important players for the current Super Bowl champions this season and is making a strong case for being one of the league's most important players that won't win the MVP award.
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Take a look at Brady's passer rating from the games against the Denver Broncos and Philadelphia Eagles (83.4), then compare it to the rest of the season (109.9). Notice how it dropped during the two games which the team were affected by Gronkowski's injury?
It shows how much of a key part of the Patriots Gronkowski is, especially for Brady as well. The games he wasn't able to complete or take part in, the team lost. Defenses didn't have to send a ton his way in an attempt to stop him from catching the ball. They could play with ease as the Patriots didn't have any real aerial threats, as wide receiver Julian Edelman was out too.
Then, after a week on the sidelines, he comes back and catches four passes for 87 yards and a touchdown, putting him on the season so far after 12 games with 10 touchdowns and 1,018 yards.
In his fifth season in the league, Gronk is already probably the best tight end the league has ever seen. He is likely to beat his own personal season statistics this season while playing one game less and help take the Patriots far in the playoffs. Last season was the first time the tight end was healthy throughout the playoffs, and it got the team a Super Bowl win.
Newton is the obvious front-runner for the MVP award, but in my eyes, Gronkowski should be up there as well.