Aaron Rodgers isn’t just in the NFL MVP race. Let’s face it, he’s leading the way.
Of course, many will push back and tell you how this is Patrick Mahomes’ NFL, he’s the best quarterback in the league and that the MVP is basically Mahomes’ to lose.
For sure, that’s a narrative that won’t go away anytime soon.
But in 2020, Rodgers, who turned 37 on Wednesday, has simply played better than Mahomes.
Sunday was another one of those days it was hard to ignore what Rodgers has done with the Green Bay Packers. In their 30-16 victory over the Eagles, Rodgers had three touchdowns, no picks and 295 yards.
Rodgers now has 36 touchdowns, the most in the NFL this season. And he has the best QB rating in the league at 118.5. Mahomes is second. In touchdowns, Mahomes is third.
Rodgers’ performance on Sunday included reaching a milestone. His three touchdowns gave him 400 in his career and the distinction of being the fastest player in NFL history to reach that plateau.
Six QBs have gotten to that magical number. But Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Dan Marino, Brett Favre and Phillip Rivers all needed more games to get there.
Rodgers needed just 193 regular-season games. That’s 12 fewer games than Brees, who was previously the fastest to 400.
And while we are at it, Rodgers also accomplished another feat no other quarterback has done.
His 36 TDs on the season now means that he has had five seasons of 35-or-more touchdowns — a new record in the league. Rodgers had been tied with Brady, Brees, and Manning.
“Those are fun milestones for sure,” Rodgers said to the media after the game. “I’m not sure how long I’ll be able to hold onto the second one. There are some really good young quarterbacks I’m guessing are amassing some numbers in that vicinity. But it does speak to the consistency over a long period of time that I’m very proud of.”
For sure, Rodgers shouldn’t get the 2020 MVP as some lifetime achievement award. For sure, he’s had a tremendous career. Rodgers owns a number of NFL records, including lowest single-season and career interception rate.
The MVP is about the season. The Packers are 9-3 and now just one-game behind the Saints for the top spot in the NFC. The Pack own the tiebreaker, having beaten the Saints in New Orleans earlier this season.
In fact, it’s the last game the Saints lost. They have now won nine in a row. For sure, that’s Rodgers’ signature win of the season, and it could be huge if the two teams wind up in a tie for best record in the conference.
And the other part of Rodgers’ season that is amazing is that he’s been able to put up his numbers despite missing some of his best weapons. WR Devante Adams missed three games and RB Aaron Jones also missed three games through the first 12.
Also what makes Rodgers’ 2020 campaign impressive is that many wrote him off. So many analysts threw stones at Rodgers, painting a Doom’s Day scenario especially after the Packers didn’t draft a wide receiver to help him. Instead, the Packers moved up in the draft and selected quarterback Jordan Love out of Utah State.
NFL.com analyst Bucky Brooks went out on the limb when he proclaimed Rodgers was both overrated and not a Top 5 QB. In April, Brooks said time was running out on Rodgers and that he should finish up his career in Chicago.
Man, hard to be as wrong as Brooks was in the case of Rodgers. His bounceback from a year ago has been historic, and a beautiful thing to watch. And not just on the scale of an aging quarterback. Rodgers has performed at a high level from Week 1.
Going into last season, many couldn’t envision anyone beating Mahomes for MVP. After all, Mahomes won it throwing 50 TDs in his first season as a starter.
But Lamar Jackson, the Baltimore Ravens’ QB, was clearly the MVP, winning the award unanimously.
This year, Mahomes could end up losing to the old dog, Rodgers. And not because he hasn’t played well, it’s just that Rodgers has played better.