Monday, January 2, 2012
Matt Flynn, Aaron Rodgers and the MVP
By Kevin Seifert
Has it come to this?
Can't we credit Green Bay Packers quarterback Matt Flynn for his historic performance Sunday without debiting Aaron Rodgers for it?
That's one of the issues our friends over at SportsNation are considering Monday morning after the Packers' backup quarterback threw for 480 yards and six touchdowns in a 45-41 victory over the Detroit Lions. As the theory goes, torn MVP voters might swing toward New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees -- partly because of the statistical distance Brees created by playing Sunday against the Carolina Panthers and partly because Flynn's performance ostensibly diminished Rodgers' 15-game performance.
(Yes! We finally figured it out! Rodgers is a systems quarterback! Your Aunt Lucy could start for the Packers and throw for 300 yards!)
Brees admittedly closed the MVP gap in the final six weeks of the regular season. And I suppose we shouldn't hold it against Brees that the Packers held Rodgers out of Sunday's game. Brees finished the season with an NFL-record 5,476 yards — 833 more than Rodgers — and 46 touchdown passes after playing against the Panthers. Rodgers threw for 4,643 yards and 45 touchdowns via 152 less attempts than Brees, meaning Rodgers had better production from a yardage and touchdown standpoint on a percentage basis. Still, it's quite possible MVP voters will ogle Brees' eye-popping gross statistics.
If that's their choice, then so be it. You can make your choice by participating in the embedded poll.
But please, I hope no one with a brain voters or anyone else questions Rodgers' season based on Flynn's performance. Rodgers set an NFL record by finishing with a 122.5 passer rating and is the only quarterback ever to throw for at least 4,000 yards and throw six or less interceptions in a season. MVP or not, let's not manufacture reasons to diminish what will still go down as one of the best seasons for a quarterback in NFL history.