In the aftermath of the Packers' loss to the Kansas City Chiefs yesterday, I'm amazed at how many people are suggesting that Drew Brees, not Aaron Rodgers, should be the MVP of the league. I realize that the Packers lost to a banged up 5-8 Chiefs team, and I realize that the offense struggled while Rodgers completed just 48.6% of his passes and finished with a season low 80.1 passer rating. I also realize that Drew Brees has thrown for over 400 yards more than Rodgers, and is on pace to shatter Dan Marino's all time single season passing yardage record. None of these is a convincing argument for Brees to win MVP. It's easy to look at Brees' yardage advantage (4,780 to 4,360) and proclaim him the better QB. But when you look closer, you see that Brees has thrown 110 more passes than Rodgers. Which brings us to the first of five stats I'd like to look at- Yards Per Attempt.
Brees' 4,780 yards on 583 pass attempts give him a YPA of 8.20, which is excellent. But Rodgers has thrown only 473 passes to accumulate his 4,360 yards, an eye-popping 9.22 YPA, over a full yard better than Brees. This shows us that Rodgers has been far more efficient with his passes than Brees. Advantage- Rodgers.
Another stat to look at is completion percentage. Here Brees holds a significant advantage over Rodgers, 71.5% to 68.1%. I would argue that Brees' percentage is somewhat inflated by the fact that Darren Sproles has been a fantastic checkdown target (79 receptions, almost 20% of Brees' 417 completions) out of the backfield. Nevertheless, we'll give the edge to Brees. Advantage- Brees.
An obvious stat to look at is TD passes. Rodgers leads the league in this stat and holds a 3 TD advantage over Brees, 40 to 37. Rodgers' efficiency is again apparent, with a TD pass every 11.825 pass attempts, compared to 15.756 pass attempts per TD for Brees. Advantage- Rodgers.
On the flip side of passing TDs is interceptions. Rodgers has thrown just 6 interceptions (1 every 78.83 pass attempts) compared to 11 (1 every 53 pass attempts) for Brees. To be fair, Rodgers has also lost 4 fumbles, but still holds a slight edge in the turnover department. Advantage- Rodgers, slightly.
All of these stats add up to an overall passer rating of 120.1 for Rodgers, well within striking distance of Peyton Manning's all-time single season record of 121.1 set in 2004. Brees' passer rating is 109.1. Advantage- Rodgers.
You can draw your own conclusions from these statistics. I believe that Rodgers' cold efficiency while propelling the Green Bay Packers to a 13-1 record with little help from a rushing attack that ranked 25th in the league in yards per game makes him the clearcut MVP.