Micah Parsons unanimously won the NFL’s defensive rookie of the year award last season. The Cowboys linebacker finished second to Steelers edge rusher T.J. Watt for defensive player of the year, and he earned first-team All-Pro.
Parsons, though, isn’t satisfied with that and expects to have an even better season than in 2021 when he made 84 tackles, 13 sacks, 30 quarterback hits, three forced fumbles and three pass breakups.
“Last year, I was trying to find myself,” Parsons said, via Jon Machota of TheAthletic.com. “This year, I know exactly who I need to be: The best player in the league. . . . I’m not talking about the best defensive player. I want to be like, the greatest. That’s the type of mindset I have and the confidence that I have.”
A quarterback has won the league MVP award the past nine years, and only two defensive players have ever won the award. Vikings defensive tackle Alan Page was the NFL MVP in 1971 and Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor won it in 1986.
So, the odds are against Parsons for the MVP award.
He has the third-best odds for defensive player of the year, though, trailing only Aaron Donald and Myles Garrett, after arguably the best rookie season in NFL history for a defensive player.
“Being the best player doesn’t mean I am going to have a sack a game,” Parsons said. “It doesn’t mean I am going to have 10 tackles a game. It’s just making my team better. That’s what comes with being the best player. That’s the thing, it’s not all individual stat accolades. That’s what I had to learn.
“Being the best player in the league doesn’t mean you are going to have 20 sacks. Being the best player in the league means leading your team to a championship and having the best defense. . . . I have to make everyone around me better. I have to be one of those guys that we can lean on in big moments. That’s what that means.”
For what it’s worth, the league MVP has not won the Super Bowl in the same season since 1999 when Rams quarterback Kurt Warner accomplished both.