Why Drew Brees, Not Aaron Rodgers, Should Be the 2011 NFL MVP
The NFL's Most Valuable Player award is highly coveted and earned by the player that is considered the most valuable in the league. The word valuable is defined as, "of considerable importance or quality." In 2011, it would seem as if Green Bay Packers' quarterback Aaron Rodgers has earned that title.
As of Week 12 of the 2011 season, Rodgers has completed 70.6 percent of his passes for 3,844 yards with 37 touchdowns and only five interceptions. All of this adds up to an unbelievable 125.3 quarterback rating.
He surpasses Brees in almost every statistical category. Brees has thrown for 4,031 yards and completed 70.4 percent of his passes along the way. He has also thrown 30 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Brees currently has a very good 105.5 quarterback rating. Passing yards is the only category in which Brees leads Rodgers.
Rodgers' Packers are also 12-0 and have already beaten Brees' Saints, who are currently 9-3. So, how then, does Brees deserve the 2011 NFL MVP more than Rodgers?
Most Valuable Player, Not Most Impressive
The answer is quite simple. The award does not always go to the player with the best statistics. It is not the Most Impressive Award, or the Who-Put-Up-the-Best-Numbers Trophy. This award is meant for the most valuable player in the National Football League.
If you don't believe me, then just ask Drew Brees about the 2008 and 2009 NFL MVP award. Both of those years the award went to Colts' quarterback Peyton Manning, even though Brees statistically outperformed Manning.
In 2008, Manning threw for 4,002 yards and completed 66.8 percent of passes. He tossed 27 touchdowns and 12 interceptions to create a 95.0 quarterback rating. However, Brees threw for 5,069 yards, 34 touchdowns, 17 interceptions and completed 65 percent of his passes. Brees also posted a 96.2 quarterback rating in 2008. Many say that Brees did not win the award because his team finished 8-8 and did not make the playoffs. Then what about the 2009 season?
In 2009, Brees threw for 4,388 yards and set an NFL record for completion percentage, completing 70.6 percent of his passes. Brees threw 34 touchdowns and only 11 interceptions to finish the season with a 109.6 quarterback rating. Manning threw for more yards at 4,500, but was lower in every other statistical category. He completed 68.8 percent of his passes and threw 33 touchdowns and 16 interceptions to post a 99.9 quarterback rating.
The reason that Brees did not win the MVP award in either of those seasons, despite outperforming Manning, is because he was not the most valuable player in the NFL. Brees and Manning both had very good statistical years, but Manning meant more to his team in 2008 and 2009. Without Manning the Colts would not have been near as good as they were in those two years. That is value.
This creates the question: Which player means more to their team? If both of these quarterbacks went down, then what team would suffer more?
Brees has been more valuable to the Saints than Rodgers has been to the Packers in the 2011 season.
If Brees were to go down with an injury, then the Saints season would be lost. The Packers would probably struggle without Rodgers, but they would not be as worse off as the Saints.
It begins at the backup quarterback position for each team. The Packers have Matt Flynn as their current backup to Rodgers. Flynn has shown great promise playing in the preseason and last year whenever he filled in for Rodgers.
He lost the one game that he started last year, but Flynn posted a 100.2 quarterback rating against a Patriots' team that finished the 2010 regular season at 14-2. People already believe that Flynn will be the most sought after free agent quarterback in the offseason. If Rodgers goes down with an injury, Flynn will be able to step in and keep the Packers relevant.
The Saints' current backup quarterback is Chase Daniel. He is a talented young player, but is not ready to take over a team as the starting quarterback. If the Saints' lose Brees, then they will be entrusting the team to a player that has no experience and nowhere near the amount of skill as Brees.
The Packers would be able to handle the loss of Rodgers better than the Saints could handle losing Brees. This is the epitome of being valuable to your football team.
If you were to take a glance at the Packers' and Saints' defense, then you might think that they are relatively even.
The Packers are ranked 31st in overall defense and the Saints come in at 27th. The Saints rushing defense is 16th and the Packers is 13th. Both passing defenses are horrendous with the Packers ranking 31st and the Saints at 30th. So where is the difference in the Saints' and Packers' defense? It begins, and ends, with turnovers.
The Packers lead the league in interceptions with 23 and have recovered four fumbles. The Saints have only 12 takeaways all year. The Packers also have four defensive touchdowns, where as the Saints have two.
Both defenses are lackluster in stats because the opposing team is always playing catch-up, but the Packers defense has been able to cause an abundant amount of turnovers compared to the Saints.
If Rodgers were to go down, then the Packers' defense would help keep their team more relevant than the Saints' defense would theirs.
This, again, shows that Brees is more valuable to the Saints than Rodgers is to the Packers.
Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees are very good leaders. The title field general fits both quarterbacks greatly. We have seen showcase after showcase from each player this year. Both quarterbacks command their huddle and demand excellence from the players.
However, the Saints feed off of Brees and his leadership. Not to say Rodgers is not a great leader, but Brees is one of a kind.
Brees is the primary leader for the Saints. There are many leaders on the Saints, but Brees is obviously in control of his team at all times. He is also the emotional leader for the Saints. Brees has led the Saints' pre-game huddle for years now, and he sets the attitude of the team before each game. How many quarterbacks do you see yelling and pumping up their team before games?
Brees sets the tempo for the Saints, both offensively and defensively. Brees gets onto his defense just as much as his offense and keeps those guys in line when the game is close. He is constantly controlling the game on the field, and when on the sideline, Brees is improving his game on anything and everything that he can. If the Saints lost Brees, then they would lose not only a great player, but the unquestioned leader of the entire team.
The Packers definitely depend on Rodgers, but still have a roster filled with leaders. Guys like Charles Woodson, Clay Matthews, Donald Driver, A.J. Hawk and Gregg Jennings play a huge role in leading the Packers. Rodgers commands the huddle just as Brees does, but he does not emit the type of passion and emotional leadership that drives Brees and the Saints.
The difference here is that Brees is in a league of his own as far as leadership goes, and that is not a stab at Rodgers. Rodgers is a great leader, but Brees is more valuable to the Saints in this category when compared to Rodgers and the Packers.
The 2011 MVP Should Be Drew Brees
Aaron Rodgers is redefining how the position of quarterback should be played this year. I am not taking anything away from Rodgers and his great year, but he has not been the most valuable player in 2011.
Statistically speaking, Drew Brees has been great in 2011 as well. He is playing great football and is not too far behind Rodgers in passing statistics. It is very possible that Brees will break Marino's record for passing yards in a season this year, and that is not something that Rodgers can claim.
The NFL Most Valuable Player award depends highly on statistics, but it is not the only factor. These other factors in the National Football League determine how valuable a quarterback truly is to his team. While no backup is expected to play as well as a starter and no defense is expected to carry a team like the Packers or Saints, it does effect their value greatly. Leadership by itself may never win an NFL MVP award, but it scales a player's effectiveness and overall value to their team like nothing else.
If the MVP award was just for a statistical performance, then Rodgers would win easily. However, since the award encompasses more than just stats, Brees has played well enough to earn his first NFL MVP.