GREEN BAY, Wis. — The MVP debate has ramped up as we head into the last week of the season, and even more so in the past 24 hours, as one of the 50 Associated Press MVP voters made headlines on Tuesday, saying he would not vote for Aaron Rodgers.
A few weeks ago it looked like Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady may be well on his way to taking the NFL MVP award, but in the last couple of weeks, things have shifted toward defending MVP winner Aaron Rodgers.
Oddsmakers are all over Rodgers now as favorite to win the NFL MVP award, with his latest odds over at BetOnline.ag now at a staggering -425 while Brady, in second, is at a distant +500.
The voter making headlines, Chicago sports personality Hub Arkush, said on Chicago's "The Score" radio on Tuesday that Rodgers is the 'biggest jerk in the league.'
Arkush was asked if he would consider voting for Rodgers after criticism over the quarterback's stance on COVID-19 vaccinations and for saying in August that he was “immunized” against COVID-19 when he had not been vaccinated against the virus.
“I don’t think you can be the biggest jerk in the league and punish your team and your organization and your fan base the way he did and be the MVP,” Arkush said. “Has he been the most valuable on the field? Yeah, you could make that argument. But I don’t think he is that much more valuable than Jonathan Taylor or Cooper Kupp or Tom Brady.”
Rodgers missed the Packers’ Nov. 7 game against the Chiefs while he was on the reserve/COVID-19 list.
Rodgers was asked about Arkush's comments in his Wednesday's press conference.
"I think he's an absolute bum. He doesn't know me," Rodgers said. "To say he had his mind made up in the offseason, in the summertime, that I have no chance of winning MVP in my opinion should exclude future votes...If he wants to come up with an extra letter to put on the award just for this season and make it the Most Valuable Vaccinated Player, then he should do that. But he's a bum."
Rodgers called it surprising that he would make those comments public and it is somewhat surprising, considering the exclusive list of 50 voters are not supposed to make it known what their vote is until after it is awarded.
Arkush realized as much on Wednesday. According to the Chicago Sun Times, Arkush said he made a mistake on The Score's “Bernstein & Rahimi” show.
“I made a big mistake last night, and it doesn’t really have much to do with Aaron Rodgers,” Arkush said, according to the Sun Times. “Being one of the 50 selectors in the AP poll is a real honor and a privilege. The only thing that they ask us is not to tell people who we voted for until the award is presented. And what they really mean is don’t talk about it. And the reason in part is because of exactly what’s happened here.
“The thing that I feel really awful about is most of the other 49 [voters] are acquaintances and a lot of them are friends, and I’ve now put them in an unfortunate position where they have to be asked about it. And that’s just wrong, and I feel awful about it and I really wish it hadn’t happened. The only thing I can do going forward is respect what I failed to respect last night and just not talk about it anymore until after the awards have been given.”
It's no done deal that Rodgers will win his second-straight MVP this season. While Arkush made his opinion known prior to the voting, there has been some speculation that the way Rodgers handled his vaccination status could dismay some voters from selecting him with their singular MVP vote.
But, as Locked On Packers podcast host Peter Bukowski has pointed out, Rodgers outmatches Brady on the field this season.
"To me, this is the heart of the Rodgers argument: no one has been more consistent, created more good plays more often or avoided bad plays as effectively," Bukowski wrote. "He doesn’t have the toe-stubbers (some pun intended) Brady has and also didn’t get statistically fat off garbage time."
In addition to the on-field statistics, it looks like the Packers will wrap up the regular season with the NFL's best record, another argument in favor of Rodgers and one the voters typically listen to. They've already claimed the No.1 seed in the NFC.
SUBSCRIBE to the daily Locked On Packers podcast, free and available on all platforms