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Mountaineers in the Pros

Asti: Geno Smith Has a Legitimate Case for NFL MVP



It won’t happen. Some of you will even dismiss the thought of it. And that won’t be done necessarily as a disrespect to Geno Smith, but that a quarterback who is in the midst of starting after being a career backup for most of the last decade doesn’t beat out bigger names who are also having great seasons.

With all that said, Geno Smith has a legitimate case at being the NFL MVP. Hear me out.

Everyone realizes Smith is having a really solid renaissance type of season. Everyone also appears to be extremely happy for the West Virginia product. After leading the Seahawks to a Monday Night Football win to open the season, Smith got emotional and made it known that he was well aware most people had counted him out at being able to be a successful starter in the NFL.

“They wrote me off. I ain’t write back though,” Smith proclaimed while being interviewed on the field following his Week 1 moment. What everyone didn’t realize then was that it wouldn’t just be a one-night feel good story, and that Smith’s magical comeback story would continue on throughout the entire season.

But the 2022 NFL Geno Smith story has now fully transitioned from a feel good story to one that is is historic and needing recognized at the level it truly is. Historic? That’s right. Historic. Smith has been so efficient that it has reached being historic. Through his first 4 games this season, Smith’s completion percentage of 77.3% was better than what any other quarterback has ever posted off a minimum of 125 pass attempts in the history of the National Football League. Better than Brady. Better than (Peyton) Manning. Better than Montana. Better than Unitas. Better than Marino. Better than Rodgers. Better than any other quarterback you can name, all-time legend or otherwise.

Geno Smith Achieves NFL History for Efficiency

And Smith’s fantastic season did not stop there. Smith still leads the league in completion percentage at 72.7% in terms of compared to other quarterbacks who have started every game this season. He also finds himself with a 107.2 rating, which is only behind Patrick Mahomes, Jalen Hurts and the leader among starters Tua Tagovailoa, but the Dolphins young QB did miss games after suffering a concussion that got the NFL into controversy.

It also needs said that Smith has not just been all about being efficient thanks to short passes. While completion percentage is not the end all be all and can be misleading on how well a quarterback is playing based on difficulty of throws he is actually trying, Smith has 1,924 passing yards and 13 touchdown passes (he also has 1 on the ground) place him in the top 10 of both of those categories as well.

Smith has done all of this as the new leader of a franchise that had been floundering under Russell Wilson, a quarterback who once delivered the Seahawks their greatest success and is likely headed for Canton, but became the butt of jokes upon his Seattle exit. Point is Smith took over the reigns in a situation that included controversy, uncertainty and tons of pressure due to replacing a man who will probably have his jersey number retired by the franchise someday. This was a rare chance so many years later for someone who did not make it after being drafted in the first round out of WVU by the New York Jets way back in 2013. It can be argued Smith has not been blessed with the talent around him that many of the other quarterbacks ahead of him in any of the passer categories have.

Smith responded with the best year of his pro career, achieving NFL history and guiding the Seahawks to the lead in the NFC West, a spot not many thought they had a chance at ever being. His recent string of games even earned him the honor of being named the NFC Offensive Player of the Month for October.

Geno Smith Named WVU’s First NFC Offensive Player of the Month

Debunking any dismissal of my bias as a WVU alum who covers the Mountaineers professionally, I am not the only member of media who has been shouting about Smith’s 2022 greatness. Former NFL quarterback and current ESPN analyst Dan Orlovsky waxed poetic during a segment for NFL Live. Fox Sports’ Peter Schrager went as far as to make a case for Smith as NFL MVP on his own.

Is Geno Smith destined for the Pro Football Hall of Fame? Of course not, although he was inducted into the WVU Sports Hall of Fame. Is he a face of the league and pegged to carry the NFL for the next decade? No. But does that mean Geno Smith should not be taken seriously as a candidate for NFL MVP based his actual production this season? Also no.

The statistic used in this story are through Week 8 of the 2022 NFL season.

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