We think Aaron Rodgers should be the MVP. Shocking, I know. Drew Brees is having an incredible season. We like Drew Brees a lot. We like Drew Brees’s baby a lot (did you know Drew Brees now has 2 cute babies?). We think Drew Brees would probably win the MVP award in any other NFL season. But Aaron Rodgers loves playing spoiler, and this is why he’s spoiling things for Drew Brees and his baby:
Rodgers has thrown more touchdowns. Rodgers 45. Brees 41.
Rodgers has won more games. Rodgers 14. Brees 12.
Rodgers has thrown fewer interceptions. Rodgers 6. Brees 13. Six interceptions is a record low for a QB with more than 4,000 passing yards. Brees has thrown multiple INTs in 5 games. Rodgers has thrown multiple INTs in 0 games. Rodgers 0. Brees 5.
Rodgers is more efficient.
A letter to Peter King posted in his Tuesday column from Josh of Milwaukee:
“…If you adjust for the number of attempts Brees has versus Rodgers, Aaron’s numbers through 583 attempts (Brees through game 14) would look like this: 5392 yards, 52 touchdowns, seven interceptions. By the end of the season, Brees will have played, by attempts, the equivalent of three-plus games over Rodgers, which speaks to the remarkable efficiency of the Green Bay offense, specifically Rodgers, when looking at scoring offense. Last note, Marino set the record in 564 attempts.” [Brees broke the record in 622 attempts. Rodgers has 502 attempts this season.]
Rodgers averages the most yards per attempt at 9.2. Brees is tied for 5th at 8.2. Rodgers 1. Brees 5.
We couldn’t agree with you more, Josh. Should Brees be docked for throwing more passes? No. But neither should Rodgers for getting it done in fewer attempts.
Rodgers is better in the red zone. The Packers score touchdowns in the red zone 65.08% of the time. Second best in the NFL. The Saints score touchdowns 57.97% of the time. Eighth in the NFL. Rodgers 2. Brees 8.
Rodgers has also thrown fewer red zone INTs. Rodgers 1. Brees 2.
Most notably, Brees threw an INT (and not just a fluky tipped INT, but an ugly, ugly floater) against the Bucs in week 6. The Saints were down by 6 with a 4th and 2 on the Tampa 4 yard line with less than 3:30 left in the game. The Saints lost to the Bucs.
Rodgers has 1 loss this season. He threw 0 INTs in that game.
Rodgers has a better passing rater. Please don’t ask me to explain what goes into passer rating, but I do know that maintaining a high passer rating is no easy task. Rodgers is on the verge of breaking Manning’s season single passer rating of 121.1 with a current rating of 122.5. The next best rating? Drew Brees at 108.4. Rodgers 122.5. Brees 108.4.
Rodgers beat Brees. Not a huge factor, but not a complete non-factor either. Rodgers 42. Brees 34.
And here is the only reason why it’s even considered a “close” race:
Brees has thrown for more yards. We love our records, and this is certainly not a meaningless one, but judging a QB based on yards is a little like assessing a parent’s skill based on the number of kids they have. An accomplishment, yes. An overall indication of value, not necessarily.
We also have to be careful that we’re not celebrating the fact that Brees has had to throw a lot more passes to get similar yardage and touchdown totals as a Rodgers or Brady.
Brees hasn’t lost since week 8. I didn’t hear a single whisper of a close MVP race until the Packers lost in week 15. The same week Brees happened to throw 5 TDs in a win over the Vikings. [Rodgers threw 4 TDs against the Vikings in week 10]. Had Brees’s worst game of the season (Arguably week 6 in a 1 TD, 3 INT game against the Bucs. A game, by the way, in which Brees threw for 383 yards, another indication that yards is not everything.) come later in the season, I don’t think we’d even be having this conversation.