The Associated Press awards voting process has many flaws, aside from the whole Hub Arkush situation. A major flaw continues to be the group’s refusal to allow more than one vote per voter per prize.
With awards like MVP, the lack of a vote for first, second, and third place limits the number of players who are mentioned in the larger discussion of consideration for the crown jewel of AP awards. It also makes links more likely; this happened twice, in 2003 (Peyton Manning and Steve McNair) and in 1995 (Barry Sanders and Brett Favre).
For the All-Pro team, limiting votes to one per spot with no second-place ballot creates the possibility of no second-team All-Pros. It happened this year, with Colts running back Jonathan Taylor getting all 50 votes from running backs. This resulted no second-team All-Pro running back.
What if one of the other top running backs had a seven-figure incentive based on being named second-team All-Pro? What if that running back would have been named a second-team All-Pro if the voting wasn’t so narrow and limited?
The possibility of not having a second All-Pro team is greater when there is only one player for a given position, whether it is a running back or a quarterback- back or a tight end or a left tackle. For the receiver, with two votes per voter, it is much less likely that the same two receivers will appear on all 50 ballots.
But it could still happen. And that wouldn’t happen if the process consisted of votes for first and second place.
As Peter King recently mentioned in the context of MVP voting, the AP is concerned that with a larger voting system, the eventual winner won’t get the most votes for first place.
It’s not a realistic fear. They could add weight to the first place votes in a way that would make it much harder for the player who gets the most first place votes not to win. Or they can count only the first-place votes to determine the first-team All-Pros, then count the remaining first-place votes and the second-place votes (omitting the first-team All-Pros) to determine the second team. .
Whatever they are doing, what they are doing right now is not good enough. And it wouldn’t be so difficult to improve it.