Aaron Rodgers won NFL MVP honors in 2014.
Upon further review, perhaps he should have shared that prestigious honor with Jordy Nelson.
Nelson’s season-long absence due to a torn ACL doomed the Green Bay Packers’ attack in 2015. With Nelson in 2014, the Packers scored a league-high 486 points. Without Nelson in 2015, the Packers scored a 15th-ranked 368 points. That’s a difference of 7.4 points per game.
Nelson had one of the great receiving seasons in NFL history in 2014, with his 98 receptions for 1,519 yards and 13 touchdowns. According to Pro Football Reference, there have been only 10 other seasons of at least 95 receptions, 1,500 yards and 13 touchdowns. (See chart below.) And what a list it is, highlighted by Hall of Famer Jerry Rice, Hall of Famer-to-be Marvin Harrison, Randy Moss and Calvin Johnson.
At the start of offseason workouts, Nelson said he hadn’t encountered any road blocks on his road to recovery. However, he will turn 31 on May 31. Is he worried about losing a step?
“I don’t (worry) because I think it’s a waste of time if you do,” Nelson said. “Because if I do lose a step, there’s nothing I can do about it. I’ve attacked the rehab the way I wanted to. It’s progressed the way I wanted to. I continue to work out the way the coaches and trainers want me to. We’ll do everything we can to make sure I’m ready to go. For whatever reason, it’s not there, it’s not there. I can’t waste my time worrying about that and the unknown. But I’ve had guys tell me if you can take a year off from football, why not be Year 8 and get a little rest and come back for nine through 12 or so?”
How dominant was Nelson in 2014? He had five touchdown receptions of 59-plus yards — 80 yards vs. the Jets, 73 vs. Chicago, 66 vs. Minnesota, 60 vs. Atlanta and 59 vs. Carolina. Only one other team had five touchdown passes covering that distance. Nelson had twice as many 59-yard touchdown catches as 29 of the other 31 teams.
Can Nelson be even more explosive?
“We’ll find out,” he said. “It’s the unknown. We’re not there yet. We have a long ways to go. The ultimate target date is sometime in September and we’ll find out through those 16 games.”
95 for 1,500 and 13
Here are the 11 seasons of 95-plus receptions for 1,500-plus yards and 13-plus touchdowns, with the players listed in order of yards per reception.