Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was named 2021 NFL Most valuable Player on Thursday, capturing the coveted honor for the second straight year and a fourth time overall.
Rodgers became just the second player to earn four MVPs in his career, his total putting him one behind five-time winner Peyton Manning.
Rodgers passed for 37 touchdowns with 4,115 passing yards in the NFL regular-season with just four interceptions.
Rodgers was coming off a season in which, at the age of 36, he earned his third MVP award.
However, at odds with the Packers’ front office, he said he contemplated retirement after the 2020 season.
Eventually he reported to training camp and while his season opened with a dud in the Packers’ opening loss to the New Orleans Saints, Rodgers would go on to lead the Packers to the No. 1 seed in the NFC with one week remaining in the campaign.
He was 13-3 in games he started — missing one in Kansas City after testing positive for Covid-19.
When it emerged he was unvaccinated, after implying during training camp that he had been, he found himself at the center of controversy over vaccine mandates.
Rodgers wondered whether the controversy would prevent him from winning another MVP award, but his performance on the field was too convincing, even though his hopes of another Super Bowl title were dashed by a loss to the San Francisco 49ers in the divisional round of the playoffs.
“It’s been an amazing 17 years,” Rodgers said of his time in Green Bay. “So thankful for the memories and the moments over the years.”
He accepted the award at the NFL Honors ceremony at YouTube Theater at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles — where the Cincinnati Bengals will take on the Los Angeles Rams in the Super Bowl on Sunday.
The Bengals were well-represented among Thursday’s honorees.
Cincinnati quarterback Joe Burrow earned Comeback Player of the Year honors after piloting the Bengals to the championship showcase when a year earlier he was rehabbing his left knee after suffering multiple torn ligaments in November 2020.
Burrow, who edged Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott for the award, accepted the award remotely from the team’s Super Bowl headquarters nearby.
Cincinnati wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase was named Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Chase caught 81 passes for 1,455 yards and 13 touchdowns while averaging 18 yards per catch.
Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt was named Defensive Player of the Year after a 2021 campaign in which he tied Michael Strahan’s record for quarterback sacks with 22 1/2.
Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons was named Defensive Rookie of the Year, the first unanimous selection in the history of the award.
Parsons, who had 13 sacks in 16 games with 30 quarterback hits and 20 tackles for a loss of yardage, finished second for Defensive Player of the Year.
Mike Vrabel of the Tennessee Titans was named Coach of the Year.