Going into the playoffs, there were five consensus candidates for the NFL Most Valuable Player award. All five were still playing last Sunday and three of them were doing so on the same field.
The two hopefuls for the Dallas Cowboys, both rookies, had fine games: Ezekiel Elliott ran for 125 yards and Dak Prescott passed for over 300 yards and three TDs. But two MVP prospects were not enough to overcome the Green Bay Packers and their own candidate, Aaron Rodgers – himself a two-time MVP recipient.
Who are the remaining two candidates? On Sunday, the Packers run smack-dab into Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, who is highly likely to walk off with the award this year.
If Green Bay prevails, they will most likely be rewarded by getting to face the fifth MVP candidate, New England’s Tom Brady, in the Super Bowl. How’s that for a murderer’s row of opponents?
That announcement, by the way, will be made the day before the Super Bowl – though the voting was done immediately after the regular season ended. Fifty selected sportswriters make up the panel of voters.
I’m still trying to get a handle on how last Sunday the Packers faced two MVP candidates, both of whom had fine performances, were unable to prevent another superstar, receiver Dez Bryant, from having a splendid game, were without their own superstar receiver, Jordy Nelson, whose pass defenders played like the 31st ranked NFL unit that they were during the regular season, and who were playing in AT&T Stadium, where the Cowboys went 7-1 on the season – and still won.
Maybe, just maybe, it’s DESTINY!
Does anyone have another answer, other than: Aaron Charles Rodgers? Green Bay fans are watching a player who – though already a legend – keeps adding to that acclaim with every game. Packers fans have been blessed this year.
Going into the playoff game against the Giants, I anticipated the matchup as being “football at its best.” Not quite, the Dallas game was an even better battle of bodies and wills. And who’s to say the Falcons game won’t be as good or better still?