A few weeks ago, Clay Travis took some much-needed ribbing for saying that Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson was ninth on his NFL MVP rankings. People seemed to glom onto the obviously abhorrent idea that eight players have been more valuable than Jackson to this point. To me, a person compensated to pay close attention to these types of things, the more alarming element to the statement was the idea a man in his forties would be walking around with a mental list this deep.
The self-doubt creeped in. Am I doing this wrong? Should I be prepared to rattle off a completely subjective top-10 list for content at all time? Is that where the Great Guiding Hand of the Content God pointed us all toward?
I took some solace knowing that, surely, this was doable. Ten is a lot but not too overwhelming. That's why David Letterman's writing room was able to put together so many. But even that bit has now been taken from me as Magic Johnson, in a triumphant return to Twitter, blasted out his TOP 16 NBA MVP CANDIDATES IN ORDER:
Even more incredible? There are actually 17 players on this list. We're not even 17 games into the season for most teams. Is this ranking system going to slowly grow until it reaches an inevitable 82-name conclusion?
I'm sincerely looking for answers here, folks. Is this phenomenon of largely pointless but extremely detailed real-time award legislation a new thing, or did I miss it?
More importantly: Is this what people like now? Like, where would these lists hypothetically rank on a content desirability scale? Sixth, behind soldiers reunited with their families at sporting events? Twelfth, behind split-screen photographs of shot-chaser tweets? First, just ahead of the names of 1990s baseball players one might remember?
In all serious, the creep of MVP debate into the regular season feels like the natural outgrowth of re-legislating the NBA Finals MVP after each game, which began in earnest somewhere around the beginning of this decade. Probably should have seen it coming.