Mason Espinosa wins the 2021 NAL Most Valuable Player Award
Mason Espinosa, the veteran quarterback who returned to the Lions this season, has been named the 2021 NAL MVP. Espinosa has led the Lions to a 7-2 record, their fourth straight playoff appearance and their third NAL Championship appearance.
Espinosa’s impact on the Lions shows up not only in the win column but on the stat sheets with Espinosa having a prolific season passing the football. Espinosa leads the league in completions (217), attempts (312), yards (2230) and touchdowns (56). He has the second-highest completion percentage among eligible quarterbacks, completing 69.6% of his passes, just behind Tommy Grady.
This season saw a two-person race for MVP between Grady and Espinosa which started in the season opener when the quarterbacks combined for 17 touchdowns. The pair were the clear front runners, leading the two best teams in the league and putting up impressive numbers in every game.
Espinosa got the edge down the stretch when Grady threw 21 touchdowns and six interceptions in the final five games, while Espinosa threw for 30 touchdowns and no interceptions over that same stretch.
One of the areas that Espinosa excelled in this season was protecting the football. In nine games, with the most pass attempts in the league by a wide margin, Espinosa threw only two interceptions. Out of every quarterback with at least 30 passing attempts, Espinosa had the fewest interceptions.
Mason Espinosa has won NAL accolades before, winning the NAL Offensive Player of the Year Award in 2018 with the Lions. During his preseason interview, Espinosa revealed that his true goal this season was a championship.
“The biggest personal goal number one, is to bring a title back to Columbus,” Espinosa said. The full interview can be read here.
With the Lions heading back to the championship game for the third time in four seasons, Espinosa is close to achieving the goal that he set before the season. He will be facing off with familiar foe Tommy Grady and the Albany Empire for the third time this season.
The Lions have come up short in the previous matchups, but Espinosa has found success, throwing for a combined 15 touchdowns and over 700 yards in the previous meetings. The 2021 NAL MVP will be looking for more of the same this Saturday when the Lions travel to Albany.
Kickoff for 2021 NAL Championship game is set for 7 p.m EST on August 14. The game can be watched live with CTV Beam, at https://www.nationalarenaleague.com/home or on the NAL’s official Youtube channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSzSD8STXiEVPVtUDO9juhA.
ABOUT THE COLUMBUS LIONS
The Columbus Lions are members of the National Arena League (NAL). Founded in 2007, the Columbus Lions are starting their 15th season in 2021. The Lions are a 3x league champion and 13 playoff appearances in their rich history. The Lions play their home games at Hughston Field in the Columbus Civic Center. Lions Season Ticket Memberships are on sale now call (706) 322-3336 or visit columbuslions.com. Follow the Lions on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Lionsfootball/, twitter @columbuslions and instagram.com/Columbuslions.
ABOUT NATIONAL ARENA LEAGUE
The National Arena League was founded in 2016 and hosted its inaugural season in 2017 as the premier league in arena football. The National Arena League will kick off its fifth season in 2021. For more information regarding expansion opportunities or partnerships, contact Commissioner Chris Siegfried at firstname.lastname@example.org For more information about the NAL visit www.nationalarenaleague.com, facebook.com/nationalarenaleauge, twitter.com/NALfootball, Instagram.com/nationalarenaleague.