Jan 24, 2021; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) warms up before playing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

NFL awards: Aaron Rodgers earns 3rd MVP

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was the runaway winner for NFL MVP in the end-of-year Associated Press awards, handed out Saturday night in Tampa at the NFL Honors ceremony.

Rodgers received 44 votes to earn his third career MVP award (2011, 2014) . Rodgers led the league with 48 touchdown passes, a 70.7 percent completion rate and a 121.5 rating.

“It is really special to have won it in my fourth year as a starter and now to win it in my 13th year as a starter in a new offense is pretty amazing and something I am very proud of,” Rodgers said. “To have sustained success and be able to play your best football at 37 in my 16th season is something I take a lot of pride in.”

Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen secured four votes and Kansas City QB Patrick Mahomes had two.

Cleveland Browns rookie coach Kevin Stefanski was named Coach of the Year, Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry was named the Offensive Player of the Year, and Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald earned his third Defensive Player of the Year award.

Donald (2017, 2018) joins Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor and Houston Texans pass rusher J.J. Watt as the only three-time winners.

“You just named two great defensive players,” Donald said, “so any time your name is mentioned with greats, you will be honored — especially there’s only a few that have accomplished that. To be the third to do it that is truly a blessing. It shows the body of work that I have; anytime your hard work is rewarded you are going to be happy about that. It is just a blessing.”

Donald recorded 13 1/2 sacks, 28 quarterback hits and four forced fumbles on the season.

Stefanski led the Browns to an 11-5 record and a spot in the postseason to earn just the second-ever coach of the year in Browns history (Forrest Gregg 1976).

“We never concerned ourselves with the past, we are all about moving forward,” Stefanski said. “This season had its unique challenges and we focused on those each and every day and ultimately tried to put together a group of guys that would fight every single week, and I think we did that.”

Henry rushed for 2,027 yards, becoming the 8th player to pass the mark.

Washington edge rusher Chase Young was named Defensive Rookie of the Year and Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert earned Offensive Rookie of the Year.

Herbert becomes the second Charger to win it (Don Woods 1974), earning 41 votes to easily edge Minnesota WR Justin Jefferson.

Young led all rookies with 7 ½ sacks and received 42 ½ votes.

Young joined teammate Alex Smith, who was named Comeback Player of the Year after 17 surgeries to repair a broken leg culminated with him starting eight games this past season.

“You know obviously that was a big part of my initial part of my rehab when I wasn’t even really thinking about football at that point, way more concerned with everyday life and tasks, and things,” he said. “And obviously fortunate enough it did progress to the point where when I started to think about football, it still seemed distant for a long long time.”

Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll won the NFL Assistant Coach of the Year.

–Field Level Media

Jan 19, 2020; Santa Clara, CA USA;  Green Bay Packers president and chief executive officer Mark Murphy in attendance before the NFC Championship Game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levin's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Packers CEO: ‘We’re not idiots. Aaron Rodgers will be back’

Green Bay Packers CEO Mark Murphy did his best to clear the air surrounding speculation of Aaron Rodgers’ future with the team.

“We’re not idiots,” Murphy told The 5th Quarter Show on WNFL in Green Bay. “Aaron Rodgers will be back. He’s our leader.”

The rumor mill in regard to Rodgers’ future with the team was set in motion mere moments after the Packers dropped a 31-26 decision to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC Championship Game on Sunday. Rodgers, 37, helped fuel conjecture by placing himself in a group of players with “uncertain” futures.

“There’s a lot of unknowns going into this offseason now. I’m going to have to take some time away, for sure, and clear my head and just kind of see what’s going on with everything,” Rodgers said. “But it’s pretty tough right now, especially thinking about the guys that may or may not be here next year. There’s always change. That’s the only constant in this business.”

Rodgers is the favorite to win NFL Most Valuable Player honors for the third time after passing for 4,299 yards and a franchise-record 48 touchdowns. Then again, questions began circling after the Packers traded up to select quarterback Jordan Love with the 26th overall pick of the 2020 NFL Draft.

From a financial standpoint, Rodgers reportedly is interested in a new deal on the heels of a sterling season. The third NFL MVP honor for Rodgers would prevent the second in three seasons for Kansas City Chiefs star quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who received a 10-year, $503 million deal in July.

Rodgers has two seasons left on a four-year, $134 million contract. He would not be an easy player to move via trade.

Andrew Brandt, who is a former agent and worked in the Packers’ front office, noted that the quarterback could have leveraged more in terms adjusting the deal to the marketplace had he waited to sign a contract and not jumped at the deal in 2018.

Rodgers agreed to a then-NFL record $57.5 million signing bonus, with $78.7 million fully guaranteed at the signing.

–Field Level Media

Jan 24, 2021, Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) throws an inccomplete pass against Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end Ndamukong Suh (93) in the final minutes of the game during the NFC championship game Sunday, January 24, 2021, at Lambeau Field Mandatory credit: Dan Powers / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel via USA TODAY NETWORK

Packers’ Aaron Rodgers ponders ‘uncertain’ future after loss to Bucs

Could Sunday’s NFC Championship Game turn out to be Aaron Rodgers’ final appearance in a Green Bay Packers’ uniform?

It seems like a crazy notion after the superb season the 37-year-old Rodgers turned in. He is the favorite to win NFL Most Valuable Player honors for the third time after passing for 4,299 yards and a franchise-record 48 touchdowns.

But there was Rodgers creating the speculation himself after the 31-26 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

“There’s a lot of guys’ futures that are uncertain, myself included,” Rodgers said during his postgame press conference. “That’s what’s sad about it most, getting this far.”

Rodgers fielded another question in which he was asked, “Where do you go from here?” He again sounded unsure of his future with the franchise.

“I don’t know, I really don’t. A lot of unknowns going into this offseason now,” Rodgers said. “I am going to have to take some time away for sure and clear my head and see what is going on with everything, but it is pretty tough right now.”

This marked the second straight season in which the Packers lost in the NFC Championship Game.

After last season’s loss to the San Francisco 49ers, Green Bay selected quarterback Jordan Love of Utah State with the 26th pick of the first round in the 2020 NFL Draft.

Rodgers was highly perturbed at the time but later maneuvered his focus toward displaying he was still one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL.

Packers coach Matt LaFleur was told of Rodgers’ sentiments and made it clear he expected to see the 16-year veteran in a Green Bay uniform again next season.

“I sure as hell hope so,” LaFleur said. “I mean, the guy is the MVP of this league. He’s the heart and soul of our football team. So, hell yeah. He better be back here. He’s our leader.”

Perhaps part of Rodgers’ frustration stemmed with LaFleur’s highly questionable decision to opt to kick a field goal with the Packers trailing by eight and stationed at the Buccaneers’ 8-yard line. Mason Crosby kicked a 26-yard field with 2:05 left and Green Bay never possessed the ball again.

“I didn’t have a decision on that one,” Rodgers said. “It wasn’t my decision, but I understand the thinking.”

The sequence began with the Packers having first-and-goal from the 8-yard line and Rodgers said, “I was thinking we were going to have four chances (of scoring).”

Rodgers has two seasons left on a four-year, $134 million so he won’t be an easy player to move via trade.

Rodgers is a Northern California native — his hometown is Chico — and played college football at Cal. Perhaps he wouldn’t mind finishing his career with the San Francisco 49ers, who might be interested in upgrading the position after Jimmy Garoppolo experienced an injury-ravaged 2020 campaign.

Either way, Rodgers has played in only one Super Bowl with Green Bay and Sunday’s loss dropped him to 1-4 in NFC title games.

He completed 33 of 48 passes for 346 yards, three touchdowns and one interception against the Buccaneers in what was his 218th appearance (counting postseason) for the Packers.

The question now looms: Was it his last?

–Field Level Media

Jan 16, 2021; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) against the Los Angeles Rams during the NFC Divisional Round at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Aaron Rodgers, Aaron Donald, Derrick Henry win PFWA awards

Aaron Rodgers was named Most Valuable Player and Aaron Donald and Derrick Henry were tabbed as the defensive and offensive players of the year by the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) on Wednesday.

Rodgers won MVP honors for the third time (2011, 2014) after leading the Green Bay Packers to the No. 1 NFC playoff seed and throwing a career-high 48 touchdown passes.

Donald won Defensive Player of the Year for the second time in three seasons (2018) after another dominating season for the Los Angeles Rams, the NFL’s No. 1-ranked defense in 2020. He tied for second in the league with 13.5 sacks and forced four fumbles.

Henry led the league in rushing with 2,027 yards and added 17 touchdowns for the Tennessee Titans, earning Offensive Player of the Year. He’s the first Titans player to ever win the award and the first running back since 2017 (Todd Gurley).

The PFWA on Tuesday tabbed Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert and Washington defensive end Chase Young as the offensive and defensive rookies of the year.

Young led all NFL rookies in sacks with 7.5 and Herbert set NFL rookie records for touchdown passes (31) and total touchdowns (36).

–Field Level Media

Dec 13, 2020; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) during halftime against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Upcoming ‘Jeopardy!’ guest host: Who is Aaron Rodgers?

When he is done slinging passes this season, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers will be firing off questions as a guest-host on the television game show “Jeopardy!”

Rodgers announced the gig Tuesday, but “Jeopardy!” representatives declined to confirm the news. The show is planning to use various guest hosts for upcoming episodes after longtime host Alex Trebek died of cancer in November.

“I may have jumped the gun a little bit, so I apologize to ‘Jeopardy!’ if they wanted to announce it,” Rodgers said about revealing his offseason plan during ‘The Pat McAfee Show’ on Sirius XM. “It kind of just went down the last couple of days, us figuring it out. It is very exciting. It’s for the offseason. We’ll be even more excited when that opportunity gets a little closer.”

The NFL MVP favorite was a contestant on “Celebrity Jeopardy!” in 2015, winning the question-answer episode against Kevin O’Leary of “Shark Tank” and former astronaut Mark Kelly. This past November, Kelly was elected to the U.S. Senate in an Arizona special election, taking the seat previously occupied by John McCain.

“The show has been so special to me over the years,” Rodgers said Tuesday. “It’s been a staple at my house here in Green Bay for the last 16 years — 6 o’clock, watching Alex and trying to get as many questions as I can.

“When the opportunity came up in 2015, that was a dream come true. It really was. To be on there, to get to meet Alex was just such a special moment. We’re all obviously sad about his passing.”

First things first for the Packers this weekend. The NFC’s No. 1 seed is set to play host to the Los Angeles Rams in a divisional-round playoff game on Saturday. Rodgers passed for 4,299 yards this season and an NFL-leading 48 touchdowns with five interceptions.

The 37-year-old, who is in his 16th NFL season, all with the Packers, has 412 career TD passes with 89 interceptions in 197 career games (190 starts).

In 18 career playoff starts he is 10-8 with 5,027 yards, 40 TDs and 12 interceptions. Rodgers guided the Packers to a 31-25 victory in Super Bowl XLV against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

–Field Level Media

Dec 19, 2020; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) throws a pass in the second quarter during the game against the Carolina Panthers at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Packers’ Aaron Rodgers puts vice-grip on MVP race

Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers has taken a commanding lead in the race for NFL MVP following his sixth four-touchdown game of the season in the Packers’ 40-14 win over the Tennessee Titans on Sunday night.

The two-time MVP is now the -295 favorite to win a third by PointsBet and is being offered at -150 by BetMGM.

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, the frontrunner last month, has seen his odds lengthen to +250 and +160 by the two sportsbooks. Mahomes has thrown for 4,740 yards and 38 touchdowns against just six interceptions, but three of those came against the Dolphins earlier this month and Mahomes threw another in Sunday’s narrow 17-14 win over the 4-11 Atlanta Falcons.

Meanwhile, Rodgers has the Packers soaring towards the No. 1 seed in the NFC, which they can clinch with a victory in Sunday’s regular-season finale against the Chicago Bears.

Rodgers threw his first pick since Week 11 on Sunday night but more than made up for it with 231 yards and four touchdowns in the route of Tennessee. He has thrown for 4,059 yards and 44 touchdowns against just five interceptions this season and has 15 touchdowns against a lone pick over his past five games.

The 2011 and 2014 NFL MVP has thrown at least three touchdown passes in 11 of 15 games this season.

It has boiled down to a two-horse race, with Josh Allen being offered third at +1400 by PointsBet and +1800 by BetMGM.

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson was the favorite through much of the first half of the season but is now being offered at +15000 by BetMGM and is completely off the board at PointsBet. Wilson has led the Seahawks to the NFC West title while throwing for 4,031 yards and a career-high 38 touchdowns, but has also thrown a career-high 13 interceptions.

–Field Level Media

Nov 15, 2020; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA;  Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams (17) catches a pass against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the first quarter  at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Tork Mason/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin via USA TODAY NETWORK

Packers WR Adams misses practice, plans to play Sunday

Davante Adams didn’t practice on Thursday because of an injured ankle, but the Green Bay Packers’ leading receiver said he plans to play on Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts.

Adams, who has 61 catches for 741 yards and nine touchdowns this year, suffered the injury during this past Sunday’s win against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

After leaving the game temporarily, he returned to catch the game-winning touchdown pass from Aaron Rodgers in the fourth quarter.

Adams, a three-time Pro Bowler who missed two games earlier this season with an injured hamstring, is confident he will be on the field when the Packers (7-2) face the Colts (6-3).

Adams’ 61 catches are at least 33 more than any Packers player, and no teammate has more than 463 yards receiving (Marquez Valdes-Scantling).

“I’m just playing it slow right now and just letting it heal up as much as possible,” Adams, who was limited in what he could do in practice on Wednesday, told reporters. “We’re doing all the right things to make sure I can be on top of the game by Sunday. I’m not even going to go there as far as guaranteeing that if I’m playing or not, but that’s the idea.”

While Adams is questionable for Sunday’s game, so is receiver Allen Lazard, who hasn’t played since injuring a core muscle during a victory over the New Orleans Saints. Lazard has been limited in two practices since being activated on Tuesday.

–Field Level Media