Upon receiving the news, Manning accepted the award with his trademark humility. "I'm very humbled and grateful to be honored with this award, and I really feel like it is a reflection of our team," said Manning, who went on to thank the coaches and the fans. Ultimately he concluded, "There were a number of other extremely deserving candidates."
No doubt Manning was referring to the other MVP vote getters—Drew Brees (seven-and-a-half votes), Philip Rivers (two votes), and Brett Favre (one vote).
One could certainly make a case for each of these four players—all had great statistical years, all led their teams to the playoffs, and all four made the Pro Bowl.
So if that's the the criteria for consideration as 2009's Most Valuable Player, then I ask you, why is Aaron Rodgers not on this list?
The Case for Rodgers
Aaron Rodgers threw for 4,434 yards this year, compiling a 103.2 passer rating while tossing 30 touchdowns against only seven interceptions. Rodgers added another five touchdowns on the ground, leading all NFL quarterbacks with 316 yards rushing. Rodgers was named to the Pro Bowl and led the Packers to a 7-1 record over their final eight games to finish the season with an 11-5 record and a wild-card playoff berth.
So just how good was Rodgers this year, compared to the other MVP candidates?
Good enough to have...
- A higher passer rating, more combined yards and touchdowns, and nine fewer interceptions than Manning
- More yards and total touchdowns than Favre
- More yards and touchdowns and two fewer interceptions than Rivers
- More yards and four fewer interceptions than Brees
Since AP voters are supposed to be determining who the "Most Valuable Player" is, it should be noted that Rodgers accomplished all of this without help from a single Pro Bowler on Green Bay's offense.
Manning and Favre each played with three offensive Pro Bowlers, while Brees and Rivers played with two each on their offensive squads.
Rodgers had so little help, in fact, that he was sacked a league-high 50 times compared to 10 for Manning, 20 for Brees, 25 for Rivers, and 34 for Favre.
Aaron Rodgers doesn't have the benefit of playing in a dome like Manning, Brees, or Favre. He doesn't play in a warm weather climate like Rivers.
He doesn't have a Pro Bowl tight end like Manning or Rivers. He doesn't have the NFC's best running back like Favre. He doesn't have two Pro Bowl offensive linemen like Brees.
No, all Aaron Rodgers has is the shadow of Brett Favre, the NFL's smallest television market ...and a very impressive case for being the NFL's Most Valuable Player.