What does the term valuable mean? Miriam Webster defines the word valuable as “having desirable or esteemed characteristics or qualities.” In all fairness, the forward pass wasn’t even invented when the eponymous founders of the dictionary decided to create the most pedantic book to ever grace the shelves, a decision that continues to haunt bad-behaving kids stuck in detention. It stands to reason, then, that the term valuable has a completely different meaning when applied to the gridiron. In the NFL, the word valuable just means that you are really really good at football and – more often than not – play in the Quarterback position.
Let’s take a look at three of the frontrunners to pick up the award this year.
Aaron Rodgers, QB – Green Bay Packers
The reigning MVP appears to be the favorite once again to take home the award. Over the course of the season, I’ve written more about Rodgers than just about any other player and for good reason. Rodgers entered the season in the midst of a feud with Packers management and later misled the media about his vaccination status, a decision which will most likely tarr his public image for the rest of his career. Having said all of that, there was clearly no better player in football this season.
Rodgers plays the quarterback position with as much precision as any quarterback before him. His touchdown/interception ratio is the best in the history of the NFL. This year was no different as he passed for 37 touchdowns while throwing a measly four interceptions. In the modern NFL where defense is played at a significant handicap, gaudy passing numbers don’t mean what they once did. It’s feasible for even the most limited of QBs to reach double-figures in touchdowns. It is utterly inconceivable for anyone other than the elite to throw just four interceptions. That is Rodgers’ value.
According to Next Gen Stats, he has the sixth highest time to throw (2.63 seconds) and the third highest completion percentage in the league this season (68.9).
Tom Brady, QB – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
In his 22nd year in the NFL, Brady led the league in both yards and touchdowns, passing for 43 touchdowns and a career-best 5,316 yards. He has been indefatigable this season. His 2.5 seconds are the second-highest in the league in time to throw. He threw just 12 interceptions this season, with a completion percentage of 67.5.
In Brady’s final ever game, he overturned a 24-point deficit to tie the divisional round game with the Rams. Even though they lost, it was a typically Brady-esque game for him to go out on.
BRADY TO EVANS FOR A 55 YARD TD. WOW.
📺: #LARvsTB on NBC
📱: https://t.co/6Hz1DjFj3t pic.twitter.com/MUMJ2EQYBH
— NFL (@NFL) January 23, 2022
We now know that Brady won’t be playing in the NFL next season, following the announcement of his retirement. Does another NFL MVP award really do much to bolster the resume of the most-accomplished player in NFL History? The answer is not really. If voters decide that Rodgers’ off-field issues are too problematic to overcome, he may end up with the award anyway.
Joe Burrow, QB – Cincinnati Bengals
In college, Joe Burrow once had to transfer from Ohio State to LSU because he was unable to win the starting job. I don’t think Burrow will ever have to worry again about being the best QB on the team. In only his second season in the NFL, Burrow has become one of the top quarterbacks in the league. In the last two games of the regular season – games that were crucial to the Bengals’ playoff chances, Burrow threw for over 900 yards and a whopping eight touchdowns.
He has bounced back from an ACL injury that kept him out for most of last season with incredible numbers. He passed for 4,611 yards, threw 34 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. His passing completion is the highest in the NFL, at 70.4%. What’s more, his xComp (expected completed passes) according to Next Gen Stats was 64.4 – providing a difference of 6% – the highest completion-over-expected percentage in the NFL.
He helped lead the Bengals to their first playoff victory in over 31 years. Sleeky Joe; Joe Cool; Joey Brr; Joe Franchise: whichever moniker you give him, Burrow is sure to be a future winner of this award for years to come.
Rodgers is the clear favorite, and it’s hard to look beyond him picking up his fourth MVP award: the second-most in NFL history behind Peyton Manning’s five. Having said that, it’s not impossible that some favorable sentimentality sends the award in the direction of the soon-to-be retired Tom Brady.