AP PhotoQuarterbacks Drew Brees, left, and Aaron Rodgers have been at the forefront of the NFL MVP conversation for the majority of the season.Aaron Rodgers did not lead the NFL in passing yards, touchdown passes or completion percentage. What he did do was lead the Green Bay Packers to a 15-1 record while posting a ridiculous 45-6 ratio of touchdowns to interceptions.
Rodgers was the slam-dunk MVP choice all season until New Orleans' Drew Brees closed with a flourish and Rodgers, having earned a rest in Week 17, watched Packers backup Matt Flynn toss six touchdown passes to beat Detroit.
The debate was on.
A challenge issued via Twitter invited strong responses backing each man.
A sampling from the Rodgers crowd, paraphrased for grammatical and content reasons:
- @colbydub11: Rodgers was offensive player of the month for September, October and November, while "all Brees has done is break Marino's record" for passing yards. Rodgers also won the award in December 2010, making him the first player to win it four months in a row.
- @RamsHerd: "I would go with Rodgers, if only because he didn't let his team nap vs the Rams like Brees did."
- @SoCalMindset: Rodgers had no games with more than one interception. He had one touchdown, no picks and four sacks in his lone defeat. Brees had five touchdowns, five picks and nine sacks in three defeats.
- @49ers_21: Rodgers for NFL MVP, Brees for Arena League MVP after the Saints played 11 games indoors this season.
- @SeahawkSammy: Rodgers was far superior in yards per attempt and more consistent over the season. Unlike Brees, he didn't lose to teams that finished 2-14 or 4-12.
- @caseyrichey: Rodgers would top 6,000 yards if he had to throw as frequently as Brees did this season.
From the pro-Brees contingent:
- @adamweber3: Why couldn't Rodgers set records his backup set?
- @nmunoz52: "Numbers aren't the issue. It's value. This knocks off Rodgers and makes Brees a no-brainer: Matt Flynn."
- @johnallender: "You have to go Brees for MVP. He carried that team and broke Dan's record. Packers insert Flynn and they look like same team."
- @booverschmidt: Rodgers might be the best quarterback, but after watching the Packers excel against the Lions, Brees' value was clear.
It's interesting to see the cases "for" one player take aim at the other. Rodgers was deserving because Brees lost to the Rams, or because Brees played 11 games indoors, or because it's not his fault Brees had to throw all those passes. Brees was deserving because the Packers set records when Rodgers missed a game.
What happened in Week 17 wasn't going to steer me away from Rodgers. If a backup such as Flynn could throw six scoring passes against the Lions, imagine how many Rodgers might have thrown. Does anyone think Flynn would sail through the regular season with 45 touchdowns and six picks?
"Rodgers, off a Super Bowl win, clinically took apart every team they played until it did not matter," @lhillberg wrote.
That was good enough for me.