From most perspectives, Aaron Rodgers had a subpar year last season.
His passer rating of 92.7 was down almost 20 points compared to his MVP season of 2014 and 11.4 points less than his NFL-record career standard entering last season. He also stumbled to career-low marks in completion percentage and yards per attempt.
Still, from another perspective, Rodgers was vintage Rodgers.
With 31 touchdown passes and eight interceptions, Rodgers etched his name yet again on another elite passers. In NFL history, there have been 12 seasons of at least 30 touchdown passes and no more than eight interceptions. Rodgers is on that list five times, with his 30 touchdown passes and seven interceptions in 2009, 45 touchdown passes and six interceptions in 2011, 39 touchdown passes and eight interceptions in 2012 and 38 touchdown passes and five interceptions in 2014.
The era’s other king of passing efficiency, New England’s Tom Brady, is on the list four times (2007, 2010, 2012 and 2015). That leaves just three other seasons in NFL history: Seattle’s Russell Wilson (2015), MInnesota’s Brett Favre (2009) and Philadelphia’s Donovan McNabb (2004).
Rodgers’ ability to make big plays but avoid big mistakes is his greatest asset and is going to get him to the Hall of Fame. Rodgers has thrown 257 touchdown passes vs. 65 interceptions for his career, giving him a ratio of 3.95 to 1. That’s the best in NFL history — and No. 2 isn’t even close, with Wilson next at 3.12 to 1. What does that mean? If Rodgers were to throw 16 consecutive interceptions, he’d still rank No. 1 all-time. Brady is third at 2.85 to 1 — a full touchdown behind Rodgers. Nobody else in NFL history has a touchdown-to-interception ratio of even 2.20 to 1. Rodgers owns five of the top 25 single-season touchdown-to-interception ratios, including last year’s 3.88 to 1.
Still, even posting the 25th-best season in NFL history in a key statistical category is not good enough for Rodgers. On paper and barring injuries, Rodgers should bounce back into MVP form this season.
“With him, it’s always a competitive thing,” quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt said. “The expectation that he has of himself being great and statistically — we weren’t last year. And that fire that burns in him is what makes him really special, and he’s going to attack this season with a new vigor to redeem himself from his statistics last year. He played some great football, there’s no question, but there’s definitely areas for improvement for him. He always has that fire to be his best self.”
Seasons of 30 TDs and 8 INTs
In NFL history. Chart from Pro Football Reference and is sorted by passer rating.
Bill Huber is publisher of PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PackerReport.