Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Only four players have won the NFL MVP trophy in consecutive seasons, and three of them are quarterbacks.
The Associated Press began using the term "MVP" in 1957, according to Pro-Football-Reference. Jim Brown won the award in its first two seasons. Since then, only Joe Montana, Brett Favre (who won a third year in a row as co-MVP) and Peyton Manning (twice) have won it on consecutive seasons.
In truth, the MVP award has become something that relies as much on hype and momentum within the media as it does play on the field, and it has become almost exclusively given to quarterbacks. In the past 13 seasons, it has been given to passers 10 times, and the other three times to running backs.
In a league that is becoming ever more pass-oriented and steering away from workhorse runners, we can essentially limit our search to signal-callers for 2012.
Aaron Rodgers has elevated his play into that realm of the coolly spectacular. He makes plays with an effortless efficiency, looking permanently in control of what is happening on the field. He gives off the body language of Joe Montana, who rarely, if ever, looked flustered and just made plays when needed.
Last season, Rodgers was so efficient with the ball that he blew Drew Brees out of the water for the MVP award. That's impressive when you look at the list of records that Brees set last season, and Rodgers was comfortably seen by the voters as more valuable.
That sets him up to be the man to beat in 2012. This award is Rodgers' to take home unless somebody can make the case that he shouldn't get it. If he can have another excellent season and the Packers contend for the postseason (both of which should happen), he'll become the fifth player to take home consecutive MVP awards.
Other Candidates: Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints; Tom Brady, New England Patriots; Eli Manning, New York Giants