Lamar Jackson is the NFL’s MVP.
Barring something wild happening, that’s going to be the case at the end of the season. Lamar has been the NFL’s most exciting player this year, and it hasn’t been very close. In Week 14 against the Bills, he passed yet another test, keeping the Ravens atop the AFC and becoming the second quarterback next to Michael Vick to rush for over 1,000 yards in a season.
The way we’ve talked about him has evolved as the season has gone along. After his five passing touchdowns in a 59-10 win against the Dolphins in Week 1, the excuse was, “Well, it’s the Dolphins.” The same happened the following the week against the Cardinals. But after consecutive losses to the Chiefs and Browns, it’s only been up from there (with no asterisks next to his performances).
Now the first thing that comes to mind isn’t the defensive “see, he can play quarterback,” but rather, “WOW, did you see what he did this week?” Because anybody still questioning his ability to play quarterback isn’t worth wasting time or oxygen on.
Lamar and the plays he makes week in and week out are often compared to a video game. That’s typically the highest compliment that you could give to an athlete, but it actually doesn’t do him justice. He does things that you can’t do in a video game.
He’s deleting ankles off of bodies in a way that — with all due respect to EA Sports — a video game can’t replicate:
Sure, that one was in the rain. Here’s another on a fine day in Buffalo.
And here’s an entire defense getting the business.
Aaaand another one.
That same game gave us Lamar’s now-iconic look with the shades, because these NFL defenses are just going to have to deal with this player that we’ve never seen before.
You also can’t discuss Lamar without talking about the throws he’s making on a regular basis. He’s out here slinging the football and making the kind of throws that some people swore he should move to wide receiver over.
Hurst bursts for the 61-yard TD catch from @lj_era8! #RavensFlock @HaydenrHurst— NFL (@NFL) December 8, 2019
: #BALvsBUF on CBS
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He’s making every play in ways that most of us couldn’t imagine.
There aren’t many quarterbacks making a Monday Night Football debut with five touchdown passes the way that Lamar did, either. He went 9-of-9 passing in the first half with three touchdowns, finishing the game 15-of-20 for 169 yards and five touchdown passes. He also had eight rushes for 95 yards. There’s no such thing as a “complete game” by a quarterback in football like there is in baseball, but that seems like the closest thing to it.
And perhaps one of his biggest accomplishments of the year: beating the Patriots in style.
He’s out there destroying entire fields and defenses in a way that keeps you glued to your screen. The Ravens, typically known for their defense that will beat the snot out of your favorite team, now have an offense you have to plan your trips to the bathroom around.
Lamar Jackson is now appointment viewing. There’s only a handful of athletes or teams across sports that have reached such a level. Serena Williams and Tiger Woods are a couple that come to mind. Now whenever Lamar is going to be on TV, you’d be mistaken to not gather your closest friends and family around to see what he’ll do next.
And you know he’s great when we refer to him as simply “Lamar.” That’s how it is for all the greats no matter their profession, be it sports, music, art, whatever. We should also try to enjoy every second of it that we can, because the violent nature of football doesn’t promise anything when it comes to the human body.
Lamar has been discussed and viewed as many different things by many different people, but it feels like we’re finally nearing a point where nobody can say anything other than, “Shit, he’s good.”
And that’s just perfect.