I know at Deadspin we have taken Aaron Rodgers to task, and rightfully so might I add. His stance on COVID-19 as a public figure is dangerous, and his opinions on “wokeness” and “cancel culture” are laughable.
However, he has been the most valuable player in the NFL this season. The Green Bay Packers have lost offensive linemen, a tight end, wide receivers, and an outstanding pass rusher to injury. They even had to endure a game without stud running back Aaron Jones. This is all atop an acrimonious offseason in which it wasn’t certain Rodgers would play for the Packers in 2021.
Last night, the Packers clinched the No. 1 overall seed in the NFC for the second consecutive season with their Sunday Night Football victory against their division rival Minnesota Vikings.
The Vikings have been dealing with health issues as well, yet were able to hold the Packers at bay through the halfway point of the second quarter. Rodgers then led the Green Bay down the field for two touchdowns to take a 20-0 lead before the Vikings ended the quarter with a field goal. The Packers won 37-10 with Rodgers completing 76 percent of his passes for 288 yards and two touchdowns.
This season is not Rodgers’ best. He’s had many with more than 4,000 yards passing and 40-plus touchdowns, single-digit interceptions, and averaged more than eight yards per attempt. In 2021, he has only four interceptions, but also only 3,977 passing yards, and 35 touchdowns at 7.8 yards per attempt through 16 games.
It’s about more than simply stats for Rodgers this season. Even though all of the controversy surrounding him was of his own creation in 2021, he navigated that along with all of the Packers’ injuries to lead them back to the top of the conference. That’s value, and as far as NFL players go, I guess that makes him the most valuable.