Cooper Kupp, Jonathan Taylor and T.J. Watt had terrific seasons, but here's the truth about their 2021 NFL Most Valuable Player award cases: They never had a chance.
At this point, The Associated Press' NFL MVP club should have a "QBs only" sign hanging above the front door. A non-quarterback has captured the award just once in the last 14 seasons. Former Vikings running back Adrian Peterson is the lone player who was able to interrupt the quarterback streak, and he had to pull off one of the greatest rushing seasons in league history in order to take home the hardware.
This year's NFL MVP race came down to — shocker! — a couple of quarterbacks: Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady. Both stars have strong MVP cases, but there isn't much suspense here. The guy in the Packers jersey is going to receive the trophy.
How do we know Rodgers is already a lock to be the MVP? And why is there still some controversy surrounding the award? Let's dive into the Most Valuable Player discussion.
Aaron Rodgers vs. Tom Brady stats
In terms of yardage, nobody had a better passing season than Brady. The Buccaneers quarterback threw for a league-leading 5,316 yards, the third-highest single-season total in NFL history. He also had the highest number of completions (485), attempts (719) and passing touchdowns (43).
However, Rodgers has been more efficient with his passes. He was third among qualified quarterbacks in completion percentage (68.9) behind only Joe Burrow (70.4) and Kyler Murray (69.2). He also led the NFL in passing touchdown percentage (7.0) and interception percentage (0.8 percent).
Individual numbers: Check. Team success: Check. Importance to the franchise: Check.
No wonder these are the top two MVP candidates.
|68.9 (366-531)||Completion %||67.5 (486-719)|
|7.7||Yards per attempt||7.4|
|257.2||Yards per game||312.7|
Why Aaron Rodgers will win MVP over Tom Brady
The NFL All-Pro Team voting results are a massive spoiler before the end of the MVP race.
Rodgers earned 34 of the 50 possible votes for the All-Pro quarterback spot, and Brady received the remaining 16 votes. The 50 AP voters who select the All-Pro team are also the voters for the MVP award, meaning Rodgers should be No. 1 on the MVP list when it is officially revealed.
It's possible some MVP voters chose to go the non-quarterback route, but as previously mentioned, it doesn't seem as though Kupp, Taylor, Watt and others did enough to jump Rodgers or Brady. It also wouldn't make much sense for several voters to place Rodgers above Brady on the All-Pro ballot, then drop him below Brady on the MVP ballot.
All signs point to Rodgers being the 2021 NFL MVP.
The Hub Arkush-Aaron Rodgers MVP controversy, explained
Veteran NFL writer and AP voter Hub Arkush declared in early January that he would not cast his MVP vote for Rodgers because he is "the biggest jerk in the league."
"I just think that the way he's carried himself is inappropriate," Arkush said on 670 The Score. "I think he's a bad guy, and I don't think a bad guy can be the most valuable guy at the same time."
Rodgers fired back at Arkush, calling him an "absolute bum" and telling reporters Arkush only has a problem with him because he is unvaccinated.
"His problem isn't with me being a bad guy or being the biggest jerk in the league because he doesn't know me and doesn't know anything about me," Rodgers said. "His problem is I'm not vaccinated. So, if he wants to go on a crusade and collude and come up with an extra letter to put on the award just for this season and make it the Most Valuable Vaccinated Player, then he should do that."
Arkush later admitted he made a "big mistake" and shouldn't have publicly discussed his voting plans. Unfortunately for Arkush, the damage was already done, and it led to plenty of speculation about other voters possibly penalizing Rodgers for off-the-field matters.
Now that the All-Pro voting results have been released, though, it appears Arkush was only speaking for himself or, at most, a very small portion of the voting body.
Where do Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady stand on NFL's all-time MVP list?
Rodgers could separate himself from Brady, Brett Favre, Jim Brown and Johnny Unitas with a fourth MVP trophy. Only former Colts and Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning would have more NFL MVP awards than Rodgers if the voting plays out as expected.
|Peyton Manning||5||2003, 2004, 2008, 2009, 2013|
|Aaron Rodgers||3||2011, 2014, 2020|
|Tom Brady||3||2007, 2010, 2017|
|Brett Favre||3||1995, 1996, 1997|
|Jim Brown||3||1957, 1958, 1965|
|Johnny Unitas||3||1959, 1964, 1967|
|Kurt Warner||2||1999, 2001|
|Steve Young||2||1992, 1994|
|Joe Montana||2||1989, 1990|