Sports Reference Blog

AP Award Voting Breakdowns and Award Shares Now on PFR

Posted by Alex Bonilla on July 15, 2021

One important piece to interpreting a sport's history is looking at who the media of the time selected as the top players to award, but you can also get some important context by looking at the other players who were in serious consideration for those awards. With that in mind, we're happy to announce the addition of voting breakdown data for the Associated Press' Most Valuable Player, Offensive and Defensive Player of the Year, Offensive and Defensive Rookie of the Year and Coach of the Year awards. You can find this information in the Football Award Voting Summaries section of our Awards index. Just taking a random example of 1982, you can see Mark Moseley's narrow win over Dan Fouts in the MVP race, as well as Marcus Allen's unanimous OROY win and the runners-up to Lawrence Taylor in the DPOY race.

Having this data also allows us to calculate career Award Shares. For those unfamiliar with the concept, this is the sum of the percentage of maximum votes they received over the course of their career. For example, a unanimous MVP like Lamar Jackson in 2019 gets 1.0 Award Share for that award, while 2016 Matt Ryan got 25 out of the possible 50 votes, so that's 0.5 Award Shares for that win. We have links to the career MVP, OPOY and DPOY award shares leaderboards on our Leaders index. Award shares and rank for each season they received votes will also be available in the Awards and Honors table on player pages, so you can more quickly see that in addition to Aaron Donald's 3 DPOY awards so far, he's also received at least a vote in every DPOY ballot since his sophomore season.

Some coverage notes:

  • MVP voting breakdowns available since 1957. 100% complete back to 1986. 1961 and 1975 MVP vote totals still missing. AP did not give out awards in 1960.
  • OPOY voting breakdowns available since 1972. 100% complete back to 1986. 1975 and 1985 OPOY vote totals still missing.
  • DPOY voting breakdowns available since 1971. 100% complete back to 1988. 1985 DPOY vote totals still missing.

We want to give a big thanks to John Turney who compiled this historical voting data. Turney was also a contributor on the pre-1982 sacks data we announced recently.

If you have any questions, suggestions or even a lead on some of the still-waiting-to-be-discovered vote totals, feel free to contact us via our feedback form.

3 Responses to “AP Award Voting Breakdowns and Award Shares Now on PFR”

  1. Mark Growcott Says:

    Great work as always. 2020 is missing both OROY and DROY voting.

  2. Alex Bonilla Says:

    Thanks, we'll take a look at fixing that.

  3. James Richards Says:

    The awards breakdown between MVP and OPOY is fascinating. Drew Brees is #44 in MVP award shares but #2 in OPOY awards shares. He is behind Theisman, McNair, and Stabler in MVP voting but somehow he is ahead of everyone in history except Manning in OPOY.

    The OPOY seems to be an award for the best offensive player who didn't win an MVP, usually a non-QB. 5 out of the top 10 OPOY is non-QB's compared to 1 out of 10 in MVP. 14 out of the top 25 in OPOY is non-QB's compared to 7 out of 25 for MVP.