The Associated Press began awarding its Most Valuable Player award for the 1957 NFL season. In the 63 seasons through 2019, five players have earned the distinction of being three-time winners of the award: Tom Brady, Jim Brown, Brett Fare, Johnny Unitas, and Peyton Manning, the latter of whom won it five times.
Now it’s time to add another name to that list: Aaron Rodgers.
The Green Bay Packers quarterback joined that exceptional club on Saturday evening when he was announced as the NFL MVP for the 2020 season. The award was presented at the NFL Honors, the league’s annual celebration of its best accomplishments on the eve of the Super Bowl.
Although he did not throw for the most passing yards in the NFL in 2020, Rodgers led the league in touchdown passes (with 48) and virtually every efficiency statistic. He was first in QBR, passing DVOA, passer rating, completion rate, touchdown percentage, interception percentage, and adjusted yards per attempt, and adjusted net yards per attempt. Rodgers’ 121.5 passer rating is second all-time in NFL history behind only his own record of 122.5 set in 2011, and his 48 touchdown passes rank as the fifth-highest single-season mark in NFL history.
Rodgers took command of the race for MVP in the final month of the regular season. During the five regular season games in December or January, he rattled off a stat line as follows: 111 completions on 145 pass attempts (76.55% completion rate), 1,199 yards (8.27 yards/attempt), 15 touchdowns, and just one interception. Rodgers’ passer rating in those final five games was 131.9 and he also ran for a pair of touchdowns during that stretch.
Like he did in his other MVP seasons in 2011 and 2014, Rodgers earned first-team All-Pro recognition from the AP in 2020 as well. The 2020 campaign saw him set a few career-high marks for a single season as well, as his completion percentage, touchdown pass total and rage, and QBR all exceeded the previous highs he set in 2011.
Of the group of players with three or more MVPs, Rodgers joins Brady and Manning as the only ones to also earn a Super Bowl MVP award. Rodgers’ came in Super Bowl XLV following the 2010 campaign, while Manning earned his for the Colts’ victory in Super Bowl XLI after the 2006 season; Tom Brady has four such awards over his career.