We interrupt the ongoing coverage of Randy Moss claiming he’s the best receiver of all time to address the contention of Aaron Rodger that he should have twice the number of league MVP awards he currently owns.
The comments came within the context of his recognition that winning a third MVP award would “definitely mean a lot.” Rodgers suggested that, in 2012, the late charge toward the single-season rushing record by Adrian Peterson kept Rodgers from winning the award, and that Rodgers should have also won it in 2016.
Rodgers is partially right about 2012. Peterson’s incredible Week 17 game against the Packers disrupted the MVP prize’s quarterback presumption. However, it wasn’t Rodgers who lost the MVP because of it; but for Peterson’s 199-yard game against the Packers, Peyton Manning would have become the MVP. Indeed, Peterson ended up with 30.5 of 50 votes. The other 19.5 went to Manning. Rodgers got none.
In multiple respects, Rodgers had a better year than Manning. Rodgers had 39 touchdown passes, and Manning had 37. Rodgers had a passer rating of 108.0, and Manning’s was 105.8. But Peyton had 4,659 passing yards, and Rodgers had 4,295. Also, Manning’s team finished 13-3 and earned the No. 1 seed in the AFC. The Packers went 11-5 and didn’t even secure one of the two NFC first-round byes.
Manning likewise benefited from the fact that he was returning from a lost season, one that included multiple neck surgeries and real concern that Manning may not play again, or that he’d never be the same player that he was. His performance became amplified given the broader context. We expected greatness from Rodgers, since he’d been the 2011 MVP. We didn’t know what to expect from Peyton.
For 2016, Rodgers’ claim also is misplaced. He finished fourth in passer rating, fourth in total yards, thirteenth in yards per attempt, and ninth in completion percentage. Yes, he led the league with 40 touchdown passes, but that wasn’t nearly enough to overcome Matt Ryan‘s special season, which culminated in a 117.1 passer rating.
Also, the Packers finished with the No. 4 seed that year in the NFC.
The voting reflected the reality that Ryan deserved the award that year. He received 25 of 50 votes, Tom Brady got 10, Ezekiel Elliot received six, Derek Carr (Derek Carr!) received six, Rodgers got two, and Dak Prescott received one.
So, to summarize, in one of the years Rodgers thinks he could have been MVP, he finished in a 1,694-way tie for third with zero votes. In the other year he thinks he should have been MVP he finished fifth with two votes, 33 percent of the amount received by Derek Carr.
Rodgers can’t claim the voters have a bias against him or something like that, since he has won a pair of MVP awards. He just hasn’t won as many as he thinks he should have won. Even though the duo has seemed to have mended fences and resolved differences, it could be that Rodgers is keenly aware of the reality that he has won one fewer MVP than Brett Favre.
Maybe this is the year Rodgers gets to No. 3. Maybe he should. Packers fans surely would prefer that he win his second Super Bowl MVP award instead. Since Kurt Warner in 1999, the regular-season MVP hasn’t won the far more meaningful (in a team sport) MVP trophy.
Aaron Rodgers thinks he should have been MVP in 2012 and 2016 originally appeared on Pro Football Talk