Kyle Shanahan makes MVP case for Brock Purdy, Christian McCaffrey

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Thursday, December 14, 2023

Coach Kyle Shanahan says he has two legitimate candidates for NFL MVP on the San Francisco 49ers.

Just don't ask him to pick one.

Shanahan agreed that Brock Purdy should be in the MVP conversation when asked Wednesday about the second-year quarterback, but also said 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey deserves consideration for the award.

Before making a case for his star players, however, Shanahan proactively avoided backing one of them for MVP.

"Are you trying to get me in trouble with those two guys?" Shanahan said. "That's the only reason I wouldn't overly comment on either one of them because I don't want them to cancel each other out."

Purdy is among the consensus betting favorites for MVP and was +175 to win the award Thursday morning at ESPN BET, behind only Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (+160). But Shanahan said Wednesday that MVP voters should not forget about McCaffrey, who is a +5,000 long shot at ESPN BET.

"If any non-quarterback's going to get a MVP, I don't get how Christian McCaffrey can't," Shanahan said. "I mean, he's amazing in what he has done all year."

McCaffrey, in his first full season with the Niners, is the NFL's leading rusher with 1,177 yards and is second in the league with 17 touchdowns this season behind Dolphins running back Raheem Mostert (18). The two-time All-Pro also has 52 receptions for 437 yards.

Purdy has been equally prolific, ranking among the league leaders in every major passing category in his first full season as a starter for the 49ers (10-3), who enter this weekend as the No. 1 seed in the NFC.

Purdy is third in the NFL in passing yards (3,553), tied for second in passing touchdowns (25) and second in completion percentage (70.2%), and he leads the league in yards per attempt (9.9), quarterback rating (116.9) and QBR (74.7).

"If [the MVP] is going to a quarterback, then I don't have to talk about Christian -- I can talk about our quarterback," Shanahan said. "If his numbers is all you see, then I think that solves it up. But if you watch the film, then it makes it even stronger, which to me is the most important thing."

The last time the MVP went to a player other than a quarterback was 2012, when Vikings running back Adrian Peterson won the award.

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