A wise man once said "kickers are not football players, until they prove otherwise." Many have failed. Few have barely succeeded. One has put together arguably the greatest season in NFL history. Through hard work, David Akers has overcome years of adversity and become the NFL's Most Valuable Player.
In order to be the NFL MVP, one has to put up a phenomenal statistical season. Despite being on the field for only 180 plays this year (that's 11.25 plays per game), David Akers has scored 166 points this season (that's 10.4 points per game). That's almost one point every time he steps onto the football field, and a little under half of their total points for the season. His 44 field goals made this year, including 7 50+ yard field goals, was a new NFL record. To put that in perspective, his 2.75 3-pointers per game is about equal to Ray Allen, Dwayne Wade, and Shaquille O'Neal's 3-point field goals made per game last year COMBINED. Not to mention that he connected on 85% of them. Throw in the fact that he connected on all 34 of his extra point attempts, and it is clear that David Akers was the most efficient and effective scorer of this NFL season. His ability to score from close range and from distance is simply sensational.
In addition, David Akers proved to be the most versatile players in the NFL. Not only was he the best special teams player in the NFL, he also found a way to contribute on offense and defense. Offensively, David Akers had statistically one of the greatest passing years of all time. His 100% completion percentage, 158.3 passer rating, and 1.00 Touchdowns per attempt all set NFL records. His ability to read the defense was Peyton Manning-esque. Defensively, David Akers put together two of the most bone-crushing tackles* in NFL history.
The second criteria for being an NFL MVP is being critical to your team's success. After watching the game film of Alex Smith for the past 7 years, Jim Harbaugh decided that instead of letting Alex Smith try to throw TDs in the red zone, they would simply kick field goals. This strategy made San Francisco the most improved team in the NFL and David Akers turned out to be the foundation of their run to a second seed.
Thirdly, an NFL MVP must be irreplaceable. Some may say that you could find another kicker that could get similar results, but couldn't you say that about players at every position? Aren't there players in the NFL that could replace Aaron Rodgers without them skipping a beat? Couldn't you switch Calvin Johnson with any other top receiver and get similar results?
Finally, there is the "what would their record be if you took that player away" argument. Aaron Rodgers would be replaced by Matt Flynn. Drew Brees would be Chase Daniels. Tom Brady would be replaced by Brian Hoyer or Ryan Mallett. Tim Tebow would be replaced by Mike Alstott. But who would replace David Akers? David Akers doesn't even have a backup! Without him, the 49ers would have to use another player on the roster to kick or go for it on every 4th down. Alex Smith would have to be more aggressive, leading to countless interceptions. And the 49ers would single-handily kill millions of fantasy teams with all of their missed extra points**. Basically, the 49ers would still the be the 49ers of yesteryear.
Alas, the defense rests. David Akers has my vote for NFL MVP.
*For some reason, there is no video evidence of David Akers 2 tackles this year. We'll just assume that they were bone-crushing.
**Assuming a team loses 50 points for ever missed extra point in your fantasy league.