Former Cal star and current Green Bay Packer quarterback Aaron Rodgers was named the winner of the 2020 MVP award, which was announced during the NFL awards show on Saturday.
Rodgers also made a surprise announcement that he got engaged in 2020. More about that in the video below.
Rodgers, 37, also was named MVP in 2011 and 2014 and joins Brett Favre, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady as the only players to win the award more than twice. Manning is the only one who has won it more than three times, having been named MVP five times. (Jim Brown and Johnny Unitas also were three-time winners of the top Associated Press player award, although it was not called the MVP award in two of the seasons Brown won it and one of the seasons that Unitas won it.)
Rodgers received 44 votes from the 50-member Associated Press panel. Bills quarterback Josh Allen was second with four votes, and Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes received the remaining two votes. Each AP voter made just one selection, with no second choices.
“It is really special to have won it in my fourth year as a starter and now to win it in my 13th year as a starter in a new offense is pretty amazing and something I am very proud of,” Rodgers told the Associated Press, “To have sustained success and be able to play your best football at 37 in my 16th season is something I take a lot of pride in.”
Earlier Saturday, Titans running back Derrick Henry was named the Offensive Player of the Year, which has become a very different category from MVP. Henry rushed for 2,027 yards in 2020.
But the winner of the top individual prize was Rodgers, as announced by Kevin Hart:
Wait a minute. Listen to Rodgers' response in the twitter video above. Did he say he got engaged in 2020? There have been recent stories linking Rodgers to actress Shailene Woodley. Later in that speech he thanks his fiancee, but does not name her.
Anyway, that's a story for a different section of the newspaper or in a magazine, as noted here..
On with Saturday's MVP story.
Rodgers, who was 37 years, 25 days when the Packers played their final regular-season game this season, becomes the third-oldest player to win the MVP award.
Tom Brady was the oldest MVP winner, being 40 years old when he won his third MVP in 2017. Peyton Manning was 37 years, 270 days on the final game of the 2013 regular-season season, when he won his fifth and final MVP, making him the second-oldest.
Rodgers is a few days older than Rich Gannon was when Gannon won the MVP in 2002. Gannon was was just eight days past his 37th birthday on the final regular-season game in 2002.
Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, Bills quarterback Josh Allen and Titans running back Derrick Henry were considered the other contenders for the MVP, although Rodgers has been the heavy favorite since the regular season ended.
Voting for the MVP concluded before the playoffs began, so postseason results were not a factor in the award.
Rodgers was also named the MVP by the Pro Football Writers of America last month, although the AP award is the de facto official MVP award.
Rodgers is the only former Cal player to win the NFL's MVP award. One other ex-Golden Bears player, Craig Morton, was named AFC MVP by the Sporting News in 1977 during a 10-year period when the Sporting News named an MVP from each conference.
Here is sampling of Rodgers' 2020 work:
What makes Rodgers' third MVP award impressive is that a number of observers believed his career was in decline after three seasons that were mediocre by Rodgers' standards.
In 2017, when he played just seven games, he ranked eighth in the NFL in passer rating with 16 touchdown passes and six interceptions.
Rodgers was 13th in passer rating in 2018, when he had 25 TD passes and two picks.
He ranked 12th in passer rating in 2019, when he had 26 scoring passes and four interceptions.
The Packers even moved up in the 2020 NFL draft to take a quarterback, Jordan Love, in the first round.
Then, Rodgers exploded for a league-leading 121.5 passer rating in 2020, the second-best single-season passer rating in NFL history. He had a league-leading 48 touchdown passes and just five interceptions while leading the Packers to an NFC-best 13-3 record. Love did not take a single snap.
Rodgers became the third player in NFL history to lead the league in passing touchdowns while throwing the fewest interceptions, according to Elias, joining Brady (36/4 in 2010) and Johnny Unitas (19/7 in 1958).
This is the eighth straight year that a quarterback was named MVP, and the 13th time in the past 14 seasons that a quarterback claimed the award. The only exception in that stretch was Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, who won in 2012.
Rodgers regular-season stats: 372-of-526 (league-leading 70.7%), 4,299 yards, league-leading 48 TDs, league-best 5 interceptions, 8.2 yards per attempt, league-leading 121.5 passer rating, 20 sacks, 149 rushing yards, 3 rushing TDs.
Cover photo of Aaron Rodgers by Tim Fuller, USA TODAY Sports
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