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Aaron Rodgers named NFL MVP for fourth time after tumultuous season | NFL


Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers capped off his 2021 season by becoming the fifth player in NFL history to repeat as the league’s Most Valuable Player.

“It is kind of surreal sitting here,” Rodgers said. “Being a four-time MVP is crazy. They’re all different. They’ve all unique in their own ways and this one feels the sweetest.”

Despite the turmoil of training camp and the headlines created by the Green Bay quarterback when he misled the public on his Covid-19 vaccination, Rodgers’ play on the field was superb. So much so that he earned 39 votes from a nationwide panel of 50 media members who regularly cover the NFL. Not even one of Tom Brady’s best performances, in what turned out to be his final season, came close in the MVP race. The Buccaneers quarterback received 10 votes. Only Peyton Manning with five MVP awards is ahead of Rodgers, who said no announcement on his future in the NFL is imminent.

“There was something to how I felt walking off the field,” he said. “I had great conversations with the Packers before I left town. There have been changes to the staff. Just comes down to weighing where I am at mentally and what the commitment is.

“I don’t fear retirement and moving on. I’m very proud of what I have accomplished over being in Green Bay for 17 years. Also still highly competitive and bitter taste from the NFC game. I was frustrated about things during the offseason and I feel like there’s so much growth. There were some things voiced privately, and I am thankful for the response. There were things done to make me feel special and important.”

Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp got one vote for MVP, but he easily took top offensive player honors. Kupp and Cincinnati quarterback Joe Burrow (comeback player) and wideout Ja’Marr Chase (offensive rookie) will face off in Sunday’s Super Bowl.

Kupp led the NFL with 138 receptions, 1,829 yards receiving and 15 touchdown catches while leading Los Angeles to the NFC West title. A unanimous All-Pro, he received 35 votes, far in front of Colts running back Jonathan Taylor (10).

Steelers edge rusher TJ Watt, a unanimous All-Pro like Kupp, led the NFL in sacks with a record-tying 22.5 and was named defensive player of the year. He joined his brother JJ, a three-time winner of the award.

“I’m not huge on individual awards,” said Pittsburgh’s Watt, “but it’s tough not to want that when I saw my brother at the height of his career win that award three times. And I always just thought to myself why can’t I do that?”

Dallas linebacker Micah Parsons, who came in second to Watt for top defensive player was a unanimous choice for defensive rookie of the year. Parsons not only helped the Cowboys turn around their defensive performance this season, but he was so dynamic he helped coordinator Dan Quinn win the assistant coach award.

In the Bengals’ worst-to-first AFC North rise, and then deep into the playoffs, Chase was a major contributor. The fifth overall pick in last April’s draft, despite skipping the 2020 season at LSU due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Chase had 81 receptions for 1,455 yards with 13 touchdowns.

His quarterback, of course, was Burrow, two years after the pair helped LSU win the national championship. Burrow’s rookie season was cut short by a knee injury in his 10th game with a 2-7-1 record. The Bengals quarterback made up for that in 2021. He smashed single-season franchise records for passer rating (108.3), yards (4,611), TDs passing and 300-yard games (six). His precision passing ranked first in the league at a 70.4% completion percentage, and despite being sacked a league-high 51 times, Burrow had an 8.9 yards per attempt that also led the NFL.

Mike Vrabel’s work with the Titans earned him coach of the year. Despite using a record for a non-strike season 91 players, and losing his very best, running back Derrick Henry, for half the schedule, Vrabel led Tennessee to the AFC South crown and the conference’s top seed.

“It is a reflection of our football team and staff,” Vrabel explained. “They make a connection with our players. Players will come and go, I played for 14 years. You can still make a connection and care for your guys. I’m excited about it because we have had adversity and been able to persevere through that.”

Rams veteran tackle Andrew Whitworth, who also played for the Bengals, won the league’s Walter Payton Man of the Year award.



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