Through most of the 2011 NFL season, the Green Bay Packers’ QB Aaron Rodgers was the run-away favorite for the NFL Most Valuable Player Award. It wasn’t until the New Orleans Saints’ QB Drew Brees’ started shattering long-time passing records and a Packers loss to the Chiefs that it became a close race.
In the fifty three year history of the AP MVP Award, the award has been shared only twice, in 1997 (Brett Favre and Barry Sanders) and 2003 (Peyton Manning and Steve McNair).
With Brees’ hot finish to the season and Rodgers’ safe ending, here’s why I think the award should be split for the third time in history.
From a statistics standpoint, both Rodgers and Brees were great. Brees set the all-time single season passing mark with 5,476 passing yards (demolishing Dan Marino’s 27 year old record) and completed an amazing 71.6 percent of his passes, another NFL record. Rodgers broke the record for passer rating with a 122.46 mark and threw for 45 touchdowns compared to only six interceptions, much better than Brees’ ratio of 46 to 14.
If we want to be technical, I think Brees’ probably had the more impressive stats, but in a season where we saw three QB’s throw over 5,000 yards (Matthew Stafford and Tom Brady as well), statistics shouldn’t be the deciding factor in giving out the award. Not only does New Orleans play in a dome where passing stats seem to fare a little better, but Brees also attempted 155 more passes than Rodgers.
Week 17 was the link that really hurt Rodgers in his quest for his first MVP award. Not only did he not play, but we also saw his back-up Matt Flynn set franchise records in touchdowns and passing yards in a single game.
While I’m all about crediting Rodgers for his season and how valuable it was for him to lock up the number one seed and have the ability to rest, it doesn’t change that Flynn had a better performance against a Lions team who Rodgers faced on Thanksgiving.
Yes, it was an entirely different situation, but don’t tell me the Lions weren’t trying to stop Flynn. Flynn deserves a ton of credit himself, but the Packers offensive scheme should also be considered in the analysis of Rodgers success.
The most important factor in determining the award should be the success of the team because in reality, you can’t really be that valuable if you’re not winning, am I right?
Both the Saints and Packers have emerged as the two favorites to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl (not many are ready to buy the 49ers). They appear to be destined for a clash in the NFC Championship Game which would probably draw some of the best ratings in NFL History.
However, the Packers have yet to be proven as the worse team. They come in as the reigning Super Bowl Champions and have dropped only one game over the last calender year. Meanwhile, most people have somehow forgotten the games the Saints dropped to the woeful St. Louis Rams and Tampa Bay Bucs. On a team standpoint, the Packers have been much more successful than the Saints.
To avoid post-season influence, the voting for the MVP was completed by last week. The winner won’t be revealed until the night before the Super Bowl on a special awards show.
Many think Rodgers will ultimately prevail as the winner and if that is the case, many also feel Brees will be snubbed for his truly historical season.
That’s why I can only hope that the voters made the right choice and split the award for these two extraordinary signal-callers.
Who do you think should win the award? Would you be upset if it was split? Please let me know by commenting below!
Nick Grays is a senior writer at the Sports Bank where he covers the Wisconsin Badgers, Green Bay Packers, and Milwaukee Brewers. He also enjoys to share Fantasy Advice from time-to-time. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here or visit his blog Nick Knows Best.Powered by Sidelines Follow paulmbanks