With a 38:5 touchdown to interception ration, Aaron Rodgers led the Green Bay Packers to a first round bye and a playoff win. Dominant at home in Lambeau Field, Rodgers engineered back-to-back 50 point games after their week 9 bye, outscoring Chicago and Philadelphia 108-34. Green Bay had win streaks of five and four, winning seven of the last eight to capture the 2nd seed at 12-4.They actually tied the Seahawks with the same record, but the opening game of 2014 featured those two teams, where Seattle was victorious 36-16 on the 12th Man. The rematch looked like the Cheese Heads were going to get revenge, if only they played a full 60 minutes in regulation. Once the Seahawks won the coin toss in overtime, it was doubtful that the Packers were going to stop them from scoring. A field goal would have kept the game alive to give Rodgers a possession in overtime, but the NFC Championship was snatched away in the clutch.
The MVP Award is based on the regular season. Yes, Rodgers is an elite quarterback, just named MVP for the 2nd time of his career, both in the past four years. The man that was drafted with the 24th pick by the Packers, with future Hall of Famer Brett Favre at the helm, learned from the legend on the practice field and film room for three seasons. You can say it all worked out for the only community-owned franchise in American sports, as Rodgers now has a pair of MVPs to go with the Lombardi Trophy from 2010.
I’ve been a big fan of his, I’m just not so sure that he deserved this award more than everybody else in the running. It’s easy to favor quarterbacks to win MVP, and with it being a passing league, this award isn’t surprising. I just don’t know what J.J. Watt has to do, who just won his 2nd Defensive Player of the Year Award in three years, to actually win MVP as a defensive standout. I mean, come on, Watt steered the Houston Texans to nine wins, missing the postseason by a tiebreaker. His impact was greater than any one player this season, which is why he was the first unanimous DPOY to demand every single vote. Not only did he notch 20.5 sacks, the man lined up on offense and caught three goal line touchdowns as well. By the way, he deflected 10 passes, forced four fumbles, recovered five and took one to the endzone, got an interception and returned it to the house, and recorded a safety. These weren’t just garbage-time stats, he made impact plays in critical situations every single week. The defensive touchdowns bring his total to five, plus that safety, so that’s six scoring plays by a defensive lineman.
Rodgers is the man, previously, currently, and still has a long future ahead. Last season he broke his collarbone and the team struggled, but they did just enough to backslide into the playoff picture in the second half of 2013. Without question, he’s the biggest reason they ranked 1st in scoring and 6th in yards. Watt’s team scored a touchdown less per game, ranking 17th on offense and 16th on defense, yet they were a Baltimore Ravens’ loss away from playing in the playoffs themselves. I didn’t see Rodgers, or any other player in the MVP picture, play offense and defense. I’d like to take this time to give kudos to Julian Edelman for playing both ways when asked, wide receiver and cornerback. Even the Arizona Cardinals reduced Patrick Peterson’s receiver contributions this season, after earning a contract extension as an elite cornerback.
I was happy to see voters get it right when Adrian Peterson ran for 2,097 yards, but that was too obvious. Apparently, the fine line for a player that doesn’t play quarterback, is breaking 2,000 yards rushing or receiving. I don’t even want to dwell on how Tom Brady continues to do more with less. If you recall how Watt’s award was voted unanimously, well, Brady was the unanimous MVP back in 2007. He certainly doesn’t have the weapons that Rodgers or Peyton Manning have at their disposal, so I guess a 6th Super Bowl appearance will have to do for the Brady Bunch. Offensive Player of the Year, DeMarco Murray broke out in a big way (in a contract year but that is irrelevant here), but the hype of his offensive line hurt his chances. Plus, his 2,261 yards were rushing and receiving, he didn’t compile 2K on the ground like A.P. did in 2012. The Pittsburgh Steelers had a couple of playmakers torching defenses in 2014, receiver Antonio Brown and running back Le’Veon Bell. Obviously, having two studs on the same team will basically cancel each other out, especially with a top 5-7 quarterback like Ben Roethlisberger playing at a high level too.
That’s why I pose the question, does Aaron Rodgers really deserve the Most Valuable Player Award over J.J. Watt? It’s the sexier pick, that’s for damn sure, but I don’t have to like it. It’s easier, and it’s hard to disagree with I will admit that. Why not take it back to 2003, where Peyton Manning and Steve McNair were voted co-MVPs? They were even in the same division, both going 12-4, just like Rodgers and Brady this year. Brady wasn’t too far behind in numbers either, but again, I’ll let the future Hall of Famer continue to make his statement on game days. To me, it should have been Rodger and Brady, like in 2003, or just Watt. I would love to see what Brady can do with Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, and Eddie Lacy. That sounds better than 12-4 doesn’t it? It also sounds better than Rodgers’ 40 touchdowns (2 rushing). Both QBs kept the interceptions down to single digits. So, if you can’t substantially differentiate the greatness from two players at the same position, it pretty much means that the Most Valuable Player would be someone that absolutely stands out from the pact with his dominant impact, which brings everything back to Watt.