Everyone in Green Bay and Detroit last week watched in awe as Matt Flynn orchestrated maybe the greatest quarterback performance of the 2011 season. People across the league knew Flynn had some talent and was a good back up, but no one could have imagined him playing like an elite starting quarterback in his only start this year.
His game has actually caused quite a bit of discussion, and when I say that I mean discussion over things other than his actual performance and potential. Many writers have brought up the possibility that the Packers' starting quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, is a "system quarterback" and so is Matt Flynn.
My favorite is this: people are writing that Aaron Rodgers should not be the MVP of the NFL because of Flynn's performance last Sunday.
That could not be more false.
In my opinion, Matt Flynn's phenomenal game shows the voters that Aaron Rodgers is the league's MVP and not Drew Brees.
Drew Brees had an unbelievable year, and if it weren't for Rodgers and the fact that numerous quarterbacks seemed to be on numbers steroids this season, then Brees' year would most certainly garner unanimous MVP accolades. Unfortunately, Rodgers' season is here to stay, and he simply had a better year.
Rodgers led to his team to a better record, which is looked very highly upon by voters, and he played more consistently throughout the season. Brees did have one more touchdown pass, but Rodgers played in one less game and most likely would have finished the season with more touchdowns than Brees if he played in Week 17.
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Also, Rodgers had eight less interceptions than Brees, and only had one game with a passer rating of under 100. Brees, on the other hand, had three games with an under 100 passer rating.
Now, whatever your opinions are on the passer rating statistic, it is still designed to rate a quarterback's performance based on efficiency and takes most quarterback statistics into account. Rodgers broke the NFL single season record for passer rating, which shows how dominant he was overall as a quarterback this season.
Brees has the gross stats and the yards record, but Rodgers has done more with a lot fewer pass attempts and a lot higher TD:INT ratio. Also, the Packers have the last ranked defense in the NFL, and yet Rodgers has found a way to only let his team lose one game all year. If that doesn't define most valuable, I don't know what does.
But what about Matt Flynn? What did he do to show Rodgers deserves the award?
He got coached up.
If you didn't know already, Aaron Rodgers called the offensive plays in the first half of the Lions game last Sunday. This was Coach Mike McCarthy's way of letting Aaron Rodgers play without risking him to injury. I say that's a pretty genius move right there, but I am biased and hindsight is 20/20.
So Rodgers was able to talk to Flynn pre-snap and give him tips during the first half. He could have said "watch out for so and so" or "the hot route will be open on this play". He could have said anything that helped himself throughout the season, working the same playbook to Flynn to make him successful.
Am I saying that Flynn only had a good game because Rodgers called the plays and gave him pre-snap reads? No. Flynn is very talented and will make a good starting quarterback next year for whatever team he ends up with. But I am saying that Flynn was so confident, knowledgeable, and extraordinary last week because Rodgers was his mentor and guide.
A player that can beat a team with his arm, legs, talent, play on the field, and his mind is most certainly the MVP of the league.
Not that Brees or Brady can't use their mind, but Rodgers did it on the sidelines. That's cold-blooded right there. He won a game without playing in the game.
Looking back to last year, Flynn was shoved into a game against Detroit after Rodgers left the game with a concussion. Since Rodgers just suffered a head injury, he was in no position to help Flynn or give him any advice throughout the second half of that game. There was a reason Flynn played poorly, threw a costly red zone interception, and lost the game 7-3.
Next week against New England, Flynn played a lot better and had a quarterback rating over 100. Granted, Rodgers missed the game because of that same concussion, but I'd bet you anything Rodgers gave Flynn a bunch of advice before the game and on the sidelines in New England. That sure didn't hurt Flynn's performance.
The point here is that Flynn did not hurt Rodgers' resume as this years MVP. Rodgers got the chance to sit because of how well he played in the first 15 games of the season. He also turned into the offensive coordinator of one of the best performances by a quarterback this season.
Rodgers' impact can and will continue to be felt all around the league. The Packers better hope he's not rusty in the Divisional round of the playoffs because there's no one more valuable than Aaron Rodgers.