Aaron Rodgers: Comparing the 2016 Season to the 2011 and 2014 MVP Years

aaron-vs-the-eagles

There is absolutely no doubt that quarterback Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers has placed himself in the discussion about who will be the NFL MVP in 2016.

If Rodgers did indeed win the award, it would be his third MVP honor, which would tie him with former Packer Brett Favre, who won the award in three consecutive years from 1995 through 1997.

Over the past six games, no player in the NFL has performed at a higher level than Rodgers has. In those six games, Rodgers has thrown 14 touchdown passes without throwing a pick for 1,718 yards.

That adds up to a cumulative passer rating of 119.2 over those six games.

The other players who are being talked about for the 2016 NFL MVP award include Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott of the Dallas Cowboys, who are both rookies, Tom Brady of the New England Patriots, Matt Ryan of the Atlanta Falcons, Derek Carr of the Oakland Raiders and David Johnson of the Arizona Cardinals.

Elliott has rushed 1,613 yards and 15 touchdowns in 2016 so far for the Cowboys. Elliott has also caught 32 passes for 363 yards and another score.

Prescott has thrown 23 touchdown passes versus just four interceptions for 3,360 yards. That adds up to a passer rating of 105.6. Prescott has also rushed for 273 yards and six touchdowns.

Brady has thrown 25 touchdown passes versus just two picks for 3,278 yards. That adds up to a passer rating of 110.7.

Ryan has thrown 34 touchdown passes versus seven interceptions for 4,613 yards. That adds up to a NFL-leading passer rating of 115.5.

Carr broke his fibula in Week 16 against the Indianapolis Colts, but up until that point was having a great year. Carr had thrown 28 touchdown passes versus six picks for 3,937 yards. That adds up to a passer rating of 96.7.

Johnson has rushed for 1,233 yards and 16 touchdowns, plus has caught 77 passes for 841 yards and four more scores.

Pete Dougherty of USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin wrote an article last week about the MVP chances of Rodgers.

This piece by Dougherty was written before the game against the Minnesota Vikings at Lambeau Field, when No. 12 threw four touchdown passes without throwing an interception for 347 yards. That added up to a passer rating of 136.6.

But before the game, Dougherty wrote that Mike Freeman, NFL national lead writer for Bleacher Report, consulted five unnamed general managers in the league for their MVP choice.

Guess what? All five chose Rodgers. I certainly don’t think that their votes would change after the performance of Rodgers versus the Vikings, that’s for sure.

In the story, Dougherty also talked to a NFL scout who has been watching tape of Rodgers over the past several weeks.

“He’s awakened,” the scout said. “He’s a dangerous (expletive). I’m watching going, Okaaaaaay, big boy, that’s what he’s supposed to be doing. And he’s doing it without a run offense. ‘Holy (expletive), look at that.’ All the guys in the room watching it, you can hear them go, ‘Holy (expletive).’”

If Rodgers has another big game against the Lions this Sunday night on national television, and history tells us that he probably will, then Rodgers will most definitely help his cause with the Associated Press’ 50-person panel of local and national media members votes for the NFL’s official MVP.

If one compares the 2016 season thus far for Rodgers against his two MVP years of 2011 and 2014, the statistics are very similar.

In 2011, Rodgers threw 45 touchdown passes versus just six interceptions for 4,643 yards. That added up to the best single-season passer rating of all time, 122.5.

Rodgers also ran for 257 yards and three touchdowns.

In 2014, Rodgers threw 38 touchdown passes versus five picks for 4,381 yards. That added up to a passer rating of 112.2.

No. 12 also rushed for 269 yards and two scores.

So far this season, Rodgers has thrown 36 touchdown passes versus seven interceptions for 4,128 yards. No. 12’s passer rating is currently 102.7.

Rodgers has already surpassed his rushing totals and touchdown numbers in his MVP years so far, as he has run for 327 yards and four scores in 2016.

Now let’s say Rodgers throws four more touchdown passes without a pick on Sunday night for over 300 yards. And this is not out of the question, as the secondary of the Lions was torched on Monday night by Prescott of the Cowboys, as he threw three touchdown passes.

The secondary of the Lions really missed Darius Slay (hamstring) in the game against the Cowboys. Slay is certainly the best cornerback on the Lions and perhaps the best CB in the NFC North. Slay has had hamstring issues throughout the 2016 season and was a limited participant in Thursday’s practice for the Lions.

If Rodgers performs as I believe he might, that would put Rodgers at 40 touchdown passes versus seven picks for over 4,400 yards. The passer rating of Rodgers would probably be in the 106 range.

Those numbers would be very comparable to the MVP years Rodgers had in both 2011 and 2014.

Would this late surge get Rodgers his third MVP? That’s hard to say. It wouldn’t hurt, that’s for sure.

Plus, Rodgers has already done something that no other quarterback in NFL history has ever done.

rodgers-vs-the-seahawks

It’s something I wrote about earlier this month. Rodgers is the only quarterback in NFL history to have a four to one ratio in terms of throwing touchdown passes versus interceptions.

Rodgers is currently at a 4.07 ratio, as he has thrown 293 career touchdown passes versus just 72 picks.

In fact, no quarterback in NFL history is even at a three to one ratio, although Brady is the closest at 2.98, as Brady has thrown 453 career touchdown passes versus 152 interceptions.

So while it’s still up in the air (pun intended) as to whether Rodgers can win his third NFL MVP award, his recent play in a stretch of six games is without question the best performance by any player in the NFL this season.

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