On Wednesday night, Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen took part in the latest iteration of Capital One's The Match. He and Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes took on fellow signal-callers Tom Brady of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers in a match play-style golf event to benefit charity.
It was a competition where Allen stood out in a couple of respects—neither of which had anything to do with his golf game. All three of the other players involved have been named the NFL's Most Valuable Player, with Rodgers winning the award four times (including each of the past two seasons). The other three competitors have all also lifted the Lombardi Trophy as champions of the NFL, with Brady accomplishing the feat a staggering seven times.
It was quite the metaphor for Allen's goals for the season to come. For what he needs to do on the playing field in 2022. For all that Allen has accomplished in his first four seasons, if he truly wants to be considered among the game's greats under center, he needs to do one of two things this year.
He needs to win the league's MVP or take the Bills to the Super Bowl.
For what it's worth, when asked in a pre-match chat who would be the next to win MVP honors, Mahomes singled out his golf partner.
It's not like he was going out on a limb with his statement. At DraftKings Sportsbook, Allen is +700 (bet $100 to win $700) to be named MVP in 2022. No player has better odds. Not Brady. Not Mahomes. Not the two-time reigning winner of the honor.
His numbers the past two years back up those odds. In 2020, Allen completed 69.2 percent of his passes for 4,544 yards with 37 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He added 421 rushing yards and eight scores on the ground, made his first Pro Bowl and finished as the runner-up to Rodgers in MVP voting.
Last year's passing numbers were down relative to 2020, but they were still outstanding. He completed 63.3 percent of his passes for 4,407 yards and 36 scores against 15 interceptions. However, he picked it up on the ground, setting a career high with 763 yards (while averaging a robust 6.3 yards per carry) with six touchdowns and 12 broken tackles.
When we last saw Allen on the playing field, he and Mahomes were engaged in one of the best duels we have ever seen. Allen's Bills came up short on the scoreboard, but it certainly wasn't his fault, as he threw for 300-plus yards in both of Buffalo's playoff games last year with nine touchdowns and no interceptions.
Those last two seasons from Allen are the two best single-season passing years in the history of the Buffalo Bills—a history that includes a Hall of Fame quarterback in Jim Kelly. Per Nick Fierro of Bills Central, Allen is the only player in NFL history with 100 passing touchdowns and 20 rushing touchdowns over his first four seasons. Only one quarterback had more total touchdowns over the first four seasons.