Aaron Rodgers, the star quarterback of the Green Bay Packers, was announced as the NFL’s most valuable player on Feb. 4 in a vote that was conducted by the Associated Press. Rodgers was by far the clear favorite with the national voting panel as he garnered 48 votes out of a possible 50, for a total of 96 per cent. The other two votes went to another quarterback, Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints, who was named the top offensive player in the league this season.
Rodgers had an excellent season in 2011 when he set a new single-season mark for passer rating with 122.5 and also set club records for touchdown passes with 45 as well as 4,643 passing yards, a 68.3 per cent completion record, 9.25 yards per attempt, and a 7.5 touchdown to interception ratio. Rodgers also had eight games of 300-yards or more. Rodgers led Green Bay to the NFC North championship this season as they finished it with a near perfect record of 15-1.
Rodgers is now the fifth Green Bay player to win the NFL’s MVP award. Brett Favre won it from 1995 to 97, Paul Hornung was named the MVP in 1961 while Jim Taylor took the award in 1962 and Bart Starr won it in 1966. Quarterback Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers was named the league’s offensive rookie of the year and linebacker Von Miller of the Denver Broncos was names as the top defensive rookie. Miller was named on 39 of the 50 ballots while linebacker Aldon Smith of the San Francisco 49ers was named on the remaining 11.
Miller is now the second Bronco to be named the Defensive Rookie of the Year. Linebacker Mike Croel won it back in 1991. Miller was drafted by Denver from Texas A&M with the second overall draft pick. He finished the season with 11.5 sacks and 64 tackles even though he played the last month of the season with a cast on his hand to protect his injured right thumb, which required surgery to repair.
Newton was taken number one overall in the draft by Carolina last year and threw for 21 touchdowns and 4,051 yards this season. He also threw for 17 interceptions. Newton became the first quarterback in NFL history to rush for more than 500 yards and pass for more than 4,000 during the same season. Newton rushed for a total of 706 yards which included 14 touchdowns, which broke the single-season record that Steve Grogan had held for the past 35 years.
Newton’s name appeared on 47 of the 50 ballots with quarterback Andy Dalton of the Cincinnati Bengals receiving the three other votes. Newton’s the first Carolina player to win the award. However, the Panther’s Julius Peppers, a defensive end, won the Defensive Rookie of the Year award back in 2002. Peppers now plays with the Chicago Bears.