ESPN Analyst Makes MVP Case for Broncos Backup QB

Broncos, Brett Rypien

Getty Denver Broncos QB Brett Rypien drops back.

On July 14, an ESPN analyst made an MVP case for a Denver Broncos quarterback not named Russell Wilson.

ESPN’s Bill Barnwell published an article making MVP cases for current players based on previous MVP winners. During the article, one surprising name was mentioned: Broncos backup quarterback Brett Rypien.

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Broncos: Rypien Was Compared to Kurt Warner

Rypien’s MVP comparison was Kurt Warner. To be fair, it is difficult to find a direct comparison for Warner, as his MVP season was so unforeseen.

“An unknown backup was forced into action by injury and produced one of the greatest seasons in league history,” Barnwell wrote. “Kurt Warner might be the most unlikely MVP in modern sports history. An NFL Europe product who had a total of 11 career pass attempts entering his age-28 season, he wasn’t even a lock to take over as his team’s starter once Trent Green tore the ACL in his left knee in 1999. Playing ahead of rookie fourth-round pick Joe Germaine, Warner thrived for what had been the league’s 24th-ranked scoring offense the year prior. Marshall Faulk, Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce all produced huge seasons, and Warner took home an MVP and a Super Bowl ring.”

Barnwell picked Rypien based on his limited NFL experience and his lack of draft pedigree.

“Picking the next Warner is a shot in the dark, but let’s play along. We need someone who has several exciting weapons but whose offense wasn’t good a year ago,” Barnwell wrote. “The pick needs to be older than the typical projectable backup, but he can’t have much pro experience. Warner was undrafted, so we can’t pick anyone with a significant draft pedigree. If we can find someone who has experience stocking supermarket shelves, all the better. I’m not sure Rypien has worked at a grocery story, but the former Boise State quarterback has been on and off the Broncos roster the last three seasons.”

Broncos: Rypien’s MVP Case Is a Longshot

For Rypien to enter this conversation, several dominoes have to fall in his favor. First of all, Wilson has to miss significant time. Secondly, he has to beat veteran Josh Johnson for the backup quarterback job.

Even if those two events do take place, Rypien still has to play at an MVP level and make stronger cases than elite quarterbacks such as Aaron Rodgers, Patrick Mahomes II, Lamar Jackson, and Josh Allen. For his career, Rypien has thrown for 295 yards, two touchdowns, and four interceptions. The odds of him suddenly launching to an elite level are slim.

Barnwell acknowledges the improbable path for Rypien.

“Now, I know what you’re saying: It’s preposterous to suggest Rypien could win MVP,” Barnwell wrote. “So many things would have to happen (and not happen) to clear a path for a guy who looks like he probably isn’t an NFL-caliber starting quarterback. And yet, Warner was older, less experienced at the NFL level and had stiffer competition for the would-be starting job in terms of a midround pick. Put that in context and you understand just how remarkable his 1999 season was in the moment.”

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