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Postseason awards: It's close, but passer rating makes Rodgers MVP

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Yes, Aaron Rodgers, nobody's disputing the fact that you are No. 1 this season. (US Presswire)  
Yes, Aaron Rodgers, nobody's disputing the fact that you are No. 1 this season. (US Presswire)  

Who's the NFL MVP?

There are those who will make a strong case for New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees. And he's had a phenomenal season. Some might say it's New England quarterback Tom Brady.

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But my pick is Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Why? His team is the top seed in the NFC and he's put up some amazing statistics with a lot fewer passes than Brees and Brady.

Rodgers has 45 touchdown passes, while Brees has 46 and Brady has 39. Rodgers has 4,643 yards to 5,476 for Brees and 5,235 for Brady.

But Rodgers has thrown 502 passes to 657 for Brees and 611 for Brady. That's significant, which is why Rodgers' yards-per-attempt is 9.25 to 8.33 for Brees and 8.57 for Brady. That's a number I put a lot of stock into when I rate passers, even more so than the passer rating.

Rodgers also has the edge in rating. He led the league at 122.5. Brees was second at 110.6 with Brady third at 105.6.

So that's it. Rodgers is my MVP. Now here's the rest of the awards for 2011.

MVP

Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay: I know there has been a late push for Brees, but it has to be Rodgers. He led the Packers to the top seed and that means something.

First runner-up: Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans
Second runner-up: Tom Brady, New England

Offensive Player of the Year

Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans: Rodgers gets the MVP, but it's just too much to overlook what Brees has done, so I'll give him the Offensive Player of the Year Award.

First runner-up: Rodgers
Second runner-up: Maurice Jones-Drew.

Defensive Player of the Year

Jason Pierre-Paul, New York: I know there were guys with more sacks, but he was dominant in the run game as well.

First runner-up: Jason Babin, DE, Philadelphia
Second runner-up: Jared Allen, DE, Minnesota
Third runner-up: Justin Smith, DE, San Francisco

Offensive Rookie of the Year

Cam Newton, Carolina: He put up some record-breaking numbers, which is why he gets the edge over Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton.

First runner-up: Andy Dalton, QB, Cincinnati
Second runner-up: A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati
Third runner-up: Mike Pouncey, C, Miami
Fourth runner-up: Orlando Franklin, T, Denver

Defensive Rookie of the Year

Von Miller, Denver: I picked Miller because he was more of an every-down player than San Francisco's Aldon Smith.

First runner-up: Aldon Smith, DE, San Francisco
Second runner-up: J.J. Watt, DE, Houston
Third runner-up: Patrick Peterson, CB, Arizona

Coach of the Year

Jim Harbaugh, San Francisco: To do what he did in his first season, leading his team to No. 2 seed in the NFC, is impressive.

First runner-up: Mike McCarthy, Packers
Second runner-up: Marvin Lewis, Bengals
Third runner-up: Jim Schwartz, Lions

Assistant Coach of the Year

Wade Phillips, Houston: All you have to do to see the value of Phillips is look at the last couple of games when he was out because of an illness. The Texans were awful last year on defense, and he turned that unit into one of the league's best.

First runner-up: Rob Chudzinski, Panthers offensive coordinator
Second runner-up: Mel Tucker, Jaguars defensive coordinator
Third runner-up: Jay Gruden, Bengals offensive coordinator
Fourth runner-up: Mike Zimmer, Bengals defensive coordinator

Best Free Agent Pickup

Darren Sproles, New Orleans: He not only replaced Reggie Bush, but he has been even better. He runs it, catches it and returns it. What a great addition to an explosive offense.

First runner-up: Babin
Second runner-up: Johnathan Joseph, CB, Houston
Third runner-up: Carlos Rogers, CB, San Francisco
Fourth runner-up: Willis McGahee, RB, Denver
Fifth runner-up: Ray McDonald, DE, San Francisco
Sixth runner-up: Paul Poslusznyy, LB, Jacksonville

Worst Free Agent Pickup

Falcons defensive end Ray Edwards: He has 3 1/2 sacks after getting a huge contract. No bang for the buck there.

First runner-up: Doug Free, T, Dallas
Second runner-up: Quincy Black, LB, Tampa Bay
Third runner-up: Santonio Holmes, WR, Jets
Fourth runner-up: Sidney Rice, WR, Seattle

Comeback Player of the Year

Matthew Stafford, Detroit: He played three games last season because of injuries. This season he bounced back to show he's an elite quarterback.

First runner-up: Elvis Dumervil, DE, Denver
Second runner-up: D'Qwell Jackson, LB, Cleveland

Most Improved Player

Rob Gronkowski, New England: He had a tight end season for the ages. What a weapon.

First runner-up: Victor Cruz, WR, Giants
Second runner-up: Jimmy Graham, TE, New Orleans
Third runner-up: Jeremy Mincey, DE, Jacksonville

Most Surprising Team

San Francisco: The 49ers went from last in their division to the No. 2 seed in the conference.

First runner-up: Bengals
Second runner-up: Broncos

Most Disappointing Team

Philadelphia: Eagles. Dream Team? Yeah, right. They spent all that money and didn't sniff the playoffs.

First runner-up: Jets
Second runner-up: Chargers

Executive of the Year

Martin Mayhew, Detroit: He took a team that was 0-16 three years ago and helped make it a playoff team. He is one of the league's underrated front-office execs.

First runner-up: Rick Smith, Texans general manager
Second runner-up: Mike Brown, Bengals president

Pick I want back

Can I have two? Dolphins in the playoffs and the Lions out?


Pete Prisco has covered the NFL for three decades, including working as a beat reporter in Jacksonville for the Jaguars. He hosted his own radio show for seven years, and is the self-anointed star of CBS Sports' show, Eye on Football. When he's not watching game tape, you can find Pete on Twitter or dreaming of an Arizona State national title in football.
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