On Super Bowl Sunday, a time when NFL headlines are at their peak, seeing Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers named NFL MVP is one of the last headlines fans expected to see. However, in the words of Rodgers himself, fans need to “relax” if they think the Packers QB “stole” the award from other top candidates including J.J. Watt. Though the Associated Press can at times play favorites, Rodgers’ stats warrant the award.
Rodgers was named AP MVP because reporters from the news service felt he meant the most to his team in terms of contributing to wins and losses. Before fans point at the Packers’ epic collapse at the end of the NFC Championship game, keep in mind that those errors were largely defensive. Rodgers, though he did throw a critical interception, was naturally off the field during the Seahawks’ comeback win.
Sentiment among many NFL observers was that the NFL MVP Award would go to Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt. Watt anchored the Texans defense while touted rookie Jadeveon Clowney sat out much of the season due to injury. However, Watt also participated on the Houston offense, lining up as a tight end on several occasions and even catching a touchdown pass.
Because he had such an impact on both sides of the ball, Watt was predicted to be the favorite going into the MVP voting. Yet when all was said and done, Rodgers got the nod for his outstanding season.
Rodgers finished the regular season with 4,381 yards and 38 touchdowns, a great offensive showing considering he had just five interceptions on the year. He was also efficient in the process, earning a total QBR of 112.2, second in the league.
The players who comprised the AP’s top six in NFL MVP voting were Rodgers, Watt, Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray, New England Patriots QB Tom Brady, and Seattle Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner.