Green Bay Packers

What Will It Take For Aaron Rodgers To Win A Fifth MVP Award?

Photo credit: Samantha Madar (USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin)

The off-season is the prime time for hype around your NFL team, no matter how successful — or terrible — they were last year. That’s still true for a consistently successful team like the Green Bay Packers.

Despite questions about the pass-catchers, the offensive line depth, special teams, and whether the talented defense can take a big leap forward, there is much to be optimistic about in 2022.

Because when you’ve got Aaron Rodgers at quarterback, you’re in a pretty good spot.

Despite speculation he’d ask for a trade or call it a career, the back-to-back MVP is under center again in Green Bay. Rodgers is destined to finish his career in Wisconsin. While he doesn’t have much left to prove, the future Hall of Famer will be chasing that elusive second Super Bowl ring — and probably having some fun and breaking a few more records along the way.

Since Matt LaFleur took over as head coach in 2019, Rodgers has been playing some of his best football. That should continue in 2022. But after consecutive MVP seasons, what kind of year will Rodgers need to win the illustrious award again?

Only Peyton Manning has won the award five times. And only Brett Favre, who Packers fans may be familiar with, won the award three times in a row. Winning MVP in 2022 would be a massive career milestone for Rodgers, but it won’t be easy.

Let’s look at Rodgers’ first four MVP seasons:

  • 2011: 343/502 passes, 68.3% completion, 4,643 passing yards, 45 passing TDs, six INTs, 122.5 passer rating (the current NFL record)
  • 2014: 341/520 passes, 65.6% completion, 4,381 passing yards, 38 passing TDs, five INTs, 112.2 passer rating
  • 2020: 372/526 passes, 70.7% completion, 4,299 passing yards, 48 passing TDs, five INTs, 121.5 passer rating
  • 2021: 336/531 passes, 68.9% completion, 4,115 passing yards, 37 passing TDs, four INTs, 111.9 passer rating

An unmatched TD/INT ratio and high-volume passing stats are the keys to Rodgers’ game, and voters value those tenets. Despite the league being filled with some truly elite and exciting young passers, the 2021 award came down to Rodgers and Tom Brady. Hence, the voters clearly value their experience and leadership.

Of the four seasons, 2021 was the weakest by Rodgers’ standards. Therefore, he will need to beat that stat line at a minimum. Throwing for 4,000 yards and 40 TDs would be a great start, and there’s no reason to believe the most accurate passer in NFL history will start throwing interceptions. Rodgers also proved in 2021 that his legs are still to be feared, as he had 101 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns.

Those numbers will be slightly harder to achieve in 2022, thanks to the loss of Davante Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantling. Missing the league’s best receiver and a top-tier deep threat will make for a challenge, but Rodgers has always been gifted at elevating unknown receivers. LaFleur and Rodgers may run on the run game a bit more this season, but Rodgers is still gonna sling the ball.

If Rodgers can still put up big numbers with this receiving core, it should boost his MVP chances and overall legacy. Without Adams as a safety blanket, the pressure is on Rodgers, who traditionally takes time to warm up to new receivers. Building chemistry quickly and putting up big numbers with one of the league’s most maligned receiver corps will give Rodgers the edge over his competition.

And there should be a lot of competition this season. Young quarterbacks are finding success early and taking the league by storm. Justin Herbert, Lamar Jackson, Joe Burrow, and Kyler Murray are still on rookie deals. Meanwhile, you’ve got Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes playing some of the most exciting football out there. Plus, Tom Brady exists. There are a lot of generational passers fighting for the award.

And while unlikely, it’s not impossible a non-QB could win the award, or at least still votes. Cooper Kupp received a vote, and Jonathan Taylor and Derrick Henry are always in the conversation. And I don’t think it would be remotely unfair to call Aaron Donald the best player in the league, even if he doesn’t show it against the Packers.

Rodgers also has to compete with himself. After winning the award two seasons in a row, will voters get fatigued on Rodgers? That’s why outperforming his 2021 season is the first goal.

For what it’s worth, according to Vegas Insider, Rodgers is the third betting favorite to win the award (at +900) behind only Josh Allen (+700) and Patrick Mahomes (+800).

Of course, Rodgers almost certainly cares more about the Super Bowl than individual awards. His legendary career has plenty of individual awards, but leading the Packers to another championship title after years of coming up short would be the sweetest accomplishment. That albatross is heavy around the neck of Rodgers and the Packers, and we’ve seen that regular-season dominance come up short in the playoffs many heartbreaking times.

But an MVP-worthy season and a playoff berth is the first step to getting there, and a fifth MVP award is a legendary accomplishment. Outperforming his other MVP seasons and staving off the other elite QBs in the league will be vital to fighting voter fatigue. A fifth MVP on the road to a Super Bowl victory would be the beginning of a storybook ending for Rodgers’ football career.

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