GREEN BAY – There's now only one player in NFL history with more Associated Press Most Valuable Player awards than quarterback Aaron Rodgers, and no team with more MVP winners than the Packers.
Rodgers was awarded his fourth AP MVP and second in a row at the NFL Honors ceremony Thursday night, as he became just the second player since the award's inception in 1957 to win it more than three times.
It's also the 10th MVP won by a Packers player, most from any single team.
Former Colts and Broncos QB Peyton Manning won five MVPs, including a pair of back-to-backs in 2003-04 and '08-09.
Manning presented Rodgers with the award, and Rodgers noted it was an honor to share the stage with a player who "inspired a generation of quarterbacks, myself included."
Rodgers is the first player to win the MVP in consecutive seasons since Manning and just the fifth overall, also joining former teammate Brett Favre (1995-97), Joe Montana (1989-90) and Jim Brown (1957-58).
Rodgers also expressed a thank you to several people, making special mention of Head Coach Matt LaFleur for "trusting me, supporting me, empowering me and making things easy for me." He also made a special dedication to the late Ted Thompson, the former Packers general manager who drafted Rodgers in the first round in 2005.
In a media session on Zoom after the awards ceremony, Rodgers said he hadn't yet made a decision regarding his future, explaining there's "definitely a lot to weigh" as he ponders continuing his career with the Packers, moving on, or retiring. He mentioned not fearing retirement but at the same time that he remains highly competitive, also noting the bitter taste from walking off Lambeau Field three weeks ago following a difficult loss in the NFC Divisional playoff.
In addition, he pointed out how much he appreciated the improved relationship with the front office and GM Brian Gutekunst after a tumultuous offseason, and the efforts made to reach out to him and improve communication "did not go unnoticed." He reiterated as he did when the season ended that a decision will be coming in the "near future," with the start of free agency just over a month away.
For Rodgers, his four MVPs have come in a span of 11 seasons, with the first one in 2011, followed by 2014 and then the past two years. He becomes just the third player, along with Manning and Tom Brady, to win MVPs 10 or more seasons apart.
"The latest one always feels the sweetest," Rodgers said. "So many great memories from the season and great guys I got to play with."
Rodgers earned 39 of 50 votes from the AP panel to win the award in a runaway. Brady finished second with 10 votes, and Rams WR Cooper Kupp got one vote.
In 2021, Rodgers started 16 of 17 regular-season games and completed 366-of-531 passes (68.9%) for 4,115 yards and 37 touchdowns with just four interceptions for a 111.9 passer rating in leading the Packers to a 13-4 record and the No. 1 seed for the NFC playoffs.
Among his statistical accomplishments in 2021, Rodgers:
- Led the NFL in passer rating for the second straight season and fourth time in his career (also 2011-12).
- Led the league in INT percentage (0.75) for a fourth straight year and sixth time overall, both NFL records.
- Ranked third in the league in completion percentage (68.9), the second-best mark in Packers history behind only his 70.7 from 2020.
- Tied for fourth in the NFL in TD passes (37), his sixth career season with at least 35, which is tied with Brady for the most in league history.
- Posted 13 games on the season with multiple TD passes and no INTs, breaking his own record of 11 (2014, '20) he shared with Brady (2010).
- Became the franchise's all-time leader in TD passes, breaking Favre's mark of 442 on Christmas Day at Lambeau Field. He finished the season with 449.
- Became the first QB in NFL history with 13-plus wins in three consecutive seasons.
"Greatness is the expectation," Rodgers said. "It's not a destination."
A couple of other aspects to this MVP season stand out for Rodgers.
First, he (and the Packers) got off to a terrible start with a blowout loss against the Saints in Week 1, when Rodgers threw for just 133 yards with two interceptions and no touchdowns.
Meaning after the opener, Rodgers threw 37 TD passes and just two picks. His passer rating from Week 2 on was 116.1.
Also, in the aftermath of missing the Packers' Week 9 game at Kansas City due to a positive COVID-19 test, Rodgers fractured his pinky toe.
The injury kept him either out of practice, or limited to one day per week at most, for the next seven games. After the injury, Rodgers did not practice more than once leading up to a game until the final week of the regular season, by which time the Packers already had 13 wins and had clinched the NFC's No. 1 seed for the playoffs.
Rodgers' latest MVP is the 10th earned by a Packers player, most for a single franchise since the award's inception, surpassing the nine earned by the Colts. In addition to the seven that Rodgers and Favre have combined for, QB Bart Starr (1966) and running backs Jim Taylor (1962) and Paul Hornung (1961) each won one.
Take a look back at Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers' most memorable moments from the 2021 NFL season.
- Peyton Manning, 5 (2003, '04, '08, '09, '13)
- Aaron Rodgers, 4 (2011, '14, '20, '21)
- Tom Brady, 3 (2007, '10, '17)
- Brett Favre, 3 (1995, '96, '97)
- Johnny Unitas, 3 (1959, '64, '67)
- Jim Brown, 3 (1957, '58, '65)
- Joe Montana, 2 (1989, '90)
- Steve Young, 2 (1992, '94)
- Kurt Warner, 2 (1999, '01)
Packers MVP winners
- Aaron Rodgers, 4
- Brett Favre, 3
- Bart Starr, 1 (1966)
- Jim Taylor, 1 (1962)
- Paul Hornung, 1 (1961)
Most MVP awards by team
- Packers, 10
- Colts, 9 (Manning 4, Unitas 3, Earl Morrall 1968, Bert Jones 1976)
- 49ers, 5 (Montana 2, Young 2, John Brodie 1970)
- Browns, 4 (Brown 3, Brian Sipe 1980)
NFC North MVPs
- Packers, 10
- Vikings, 3 (Alan Page 1971, Fran Tarkenton 1975, Adrian Peterson 2012)
- Bears, 1 (Walter Payton 1977)
- Lions, 1 (Barry Sanders 1997)