It's been over a decade since Peyton Manning became the NFL's last back-to-back Most Valuable Player, winning the award for the third and fourth time in 2008 and 2009, respectively.
Since then, Manning has won his record fifth NFL MVP Award. Both Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers have won the award multiple times as well, but no one has won it in consecutive years.
In many ways, the NFL MVP is a narrative-based award. Sure, it helps to simply be the most dominant quarterback in the league in a given year, but your odds of winning said award increase dramatically if you're the best player in the league during a breakout season or one where you bounce back from an injury.
Brady, arguably the most accomplished player in the history of the sports, has three NFL MVPs, but has never won the award in back-to-back years. Rodgers, perhaps the most talented quarterback in NFL history, has won the award twice, but not in consecutive years.
There's a good chance that Patrick Mahomes, the 2018 NFL MVP, will eventually win the award in consecutive seasons, though the second half of which, obviously, can't be in 2020 because he didn't win the award a season ago.
In all likelihood, 2020 will not put a halt to the streak of years without a repeat winner as NFL MVP. Because while Lamar Jackson is on the bubble of this discussion, it would take quite a bit of work for him to climb back to the top and win the award for a second consecutive year:
1.) Russell Wilson - Seattle Seahawks
You're almost certainly fatigued of hearing how Wilson has never received a first-place vote for NFL MVP, even as he's put together a career that's almost certainly destined for Canton. Well, that nugget is likely to be outdated by the end of this year. After finishing runner-up in NFL MVP voting last year, Wilson has gotten off to a scorching-hot start in 2020. By this point, you're probably also sick of hearing about how the Seahawks have finally let Russ, well, cook. Through the first quarter of the 2020 NFL season, Wilson leads the NFL with 16 touchdown passes, while also sitting atop the league in completion percentage, touchdown percentage, yards gained per pass attempt and quarterback rating. The 31-year-old is at the height of his powers, and he's the heavy favorite to win the award.
2.) Josh Allen - Buffalo Bills
While there is a narrative surrounding Wilson, Allen's ascension into superstardom just years after some were uncertain he could be a successful starting quarterback is a pretty incredible story in its own right. After only scoring 30 or more points twice in the 2019 season, the Bills have scored 30 or more points in three of their first four contests in 2020, with Allen at the forefront of a 4-0 start. After just one-quarter of the 2020 season, Allen, the No. 7 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft has tossed 12 touchdowns and racked up 1,326 passing yards. The rocket-armed 24-year-old also has three rushing touchdowns on his 2020 resume. If there's any slip-up from Wilson, Allen could be in position to win the award.
3.) Aaron Rodgers - Green Bay Packers
It's perhaps been a bit more under the radar than the successes of Wilson and Allen, but the Aaron Rodgers revenge tour has been pretty incredible to watch. After the Packers traded up to select Jordan Love - his likely successor - in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft, Rodgers has the Packers off to a 4-0 start, one where they have an NFL-best +51 point differential. Already a two-time recipient of the award, Rodgers has tossed 13 touchdowns and been picked off zero times so far in 2020. Unfortunately for Rodgers' MVP chances, the Packers don't play the Seahawks during the regular season. However, if they are able to top Seattle as the No. 1 seed in the NFC, that could go a long way in improving his chances.
4.) Patrick Mahomes - Kansas City Chiefs
Mahomes has set the standard so high for himself that he's tossed 11 touchdowns, zero interceptions and his team has been No. 1 in the RADIO.COM Sports NFL Power Rankings the entire season...and he's only an honorable mention in this discussion. The thing that Mahomes has going for him is that the Chiefs will probably be the No. 1 seed in the AFC, which could push him towards the top of this discussion if the others above him don't have as much team success. Should the Chiefs go 16-0 - which isn't likely, but not impossible - there may be no choice other than to give Mahomes the award. But if the team goes 15-1, well, Mahomes may not even finish in the top two for the award.
5.) Lamar Jackson - Baltimore Ravens
Jackson could repeat as the NFL MVP, but he'll need some help. Given that the Chiefs looked head and shoulders better than the Ravens in the Week 3 matchup between the teams, the Chiefs will need to slip up, which would likely take some notable injuries. For Jackson to then usurp Wilson, Allen and Rodgers, his team will likely need to have multiple come-from-behind statement victories, something that has alluded them over the past couple seasons.