The Green Bay Packers had the NFL’s Most Valuable Player captaining their huddle last season. Nearly a year has gone by and nothing has changed, except perception.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers has proven week in and week out that he is the best player in the league again this season, but it appears the reigning MVP could get railroaded out of the honor due to forces existing outside the lines of play.
FanDuel’s MVP odds have the Green Bay QB listed as +650 to win the award, which is good enough for only third place. Rodgers is slotted behind Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills at +420, and Tom Brady of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at +300. The only problem? Rodgers has been better than both of them.
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Rodgers has posted a record of 9-2, missing one game due to virus protocols, which the Packers lost to the Kansas City Chiefs. That’s a better record than both Brady and Allen.
Over the other 11 contests, the Green Bay quarterback has completed 66.2% of his passes for nearly 2,900 yards, complemented by 23 TDs to only 4 interceptions, per Pro Football Reference.
Brady’s statistics are beefier, with more yards and more TDs, but he’s also turned the ball over a lot more and plays on a relatively healthy team (save for the defensive backfield) that is packed with high-profile weapons all over the roster. Josh Allen, too, has been less efficient and achieved less success on the field than has Rodgers, doing so with an offense marred by fewer injuries and a team subject to fewer off-field disruptions.
“The Packers have had all kinds of injuries, they’ve persevered. They’ve had this crazy Rodgers situation really since before the season, and I think they have to be taken seriously,” NFL analyst Bill Simmons, of The Ringer, said on the December 2 edition of his podcast.
Simmons Says Politics Will Keep Rodgers From MVP
The scandal to which Simmons referred involved Rodgers’ public desire to part ways with the Packers this offseason. A separate problem arose in early November when the quarterback was ruled out against the Chiefs due to league protocol and it became clear he had misled the media and the public as to his vaccination status.
However, that has nothing to do with Rodgers’ performance on the field, or whether he is deserving of the MVP. But Simmons said what should matter won’t when it comes to the prestigious award. The Vegas odds, he added, are evidence of that.
“The actual MVP through 11 games, Aaron Rodgers is +650, so there’s some weird off-the-field stuff drifting into this,” Simmons alleged. “It’s like, ‘You were a d*** in the offseason, you were a diva,’ and then the COVID and he misses a week and now it’s like so … are we saying Aaron Rodgers isn’t allowed to win the MVP this year? Because if we’re doing the odds correctly, he is the odds-on favorite and it’s probably not close.”
“[The Packers are] 9-3. They’ve had injuries every week, including [Rodgers, who has] missed a week. We saw what happened when the backup went in — it was a catastrophe,” Simmons continued. “It’s like how is anyone more valuable to their team than Aaron Rodgers has been to the Packers this year? But now you bring in all the baggage and that’s why he’s +650. And that’s why Tom Brady is 3-to-1.”
NFL Analyst Says Rodgers Clear MVP Thus Far
Peter Schrager, NFL analyst for Fox Sports and regular Thursday guest on the Bill Simmons podcast, agreed that Rodgers should be the MVP, but drew parallels between the Packers quarterback and other polarizing sports figures of the recent past.
“There’s been no one as good as Rodgers when he’s on the field. Objectively, he’s the winner of the MVP right now,” Schrager said. “If this was an objective award that was given out by looking at a piece of paper and statisticians pump out some robotic answer, sure. If this was done by a process where FanDuel selects the MVP based on wins over whatever it is, fine.”
“But there’s a reason [Terrell Owens] waited five years to get into the Hall of Fame. There’s a reason why Roger Clemens is not in the Hall of Fame. Human beings vote on these things, and the sportswriter community might not be inclined to say, ‘Let’s wrap our arms around Rodgers after what went down,’ … with that whole thing with the vaccine,” Schrager continued. “I’m curious to see if sportswriters can block it all out and say, ‘Is he the best teammate? Is he the best leader? Is he the best player in the NFL?'”
“I think the answer might be yes, but they might be looking for a different answer and a different player to wrap their arms around … and see this award go to someone else this season.”