It’s been a heavenly season for the National Football League’s record-setting Saint, Drew Brees. In addition to breaking a 27-year-old record, New Orleans’ starting quarterback managed to throw for 46 touchdowns in addition to a whopping 5,476 yards.

Brees’ heroics were enough to pilot New Orleans to a 13-3 record and the NFC’s three seed. The precision with which Brees has operated over the past few weeks has properly started some Most Valuable Player debates around local bars everywhere.

But while Brees has been smooth this season, the Green Bay Packers’ Aaron Rodgers has been making his case for most valuable player since he guided the Packers to a Super Bowl trophy last winter. The owner of the top record in the NFL at 14-1, Rodgers didn’t even have to play in the season finale while Green Bay ran their record to an impressive 15-1.

For what Rodgers lacks in passing yards to Brees, he makes up for in touchdowns, having tossed 45 touchdowns to just six interceptions and adding another three scores via the ground. A 48 total touchdown campaign is typically good for the MVP award outright, but Brees didn’t have a typical year for a signal caller. So who’s the most valuable player in the NFL? Perry Green and Stephen D. Riley of the AFRO Sports Desk debate.

Green: Even the great Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino had to sit and pay respects to what Brees did to his long-standing single-season passing record. While he nearly broke it just a few years ago, Brees shattered it this year, leaving no doubt about his place in history. He’s played phenomenal football all year and considering he broke Marino’s record in Week 16 of the season, how can you not crown him the best of the 2011 NFL regular season?

Riley: Easy, consider that Rodgers not only bested him in the season opener in a 42-34 shootout, guiding his team to the top record in the league and setting team records as well as a record of his own. Rodgers finished the year with the highest quarterback rating (122.5) in NFL history. His touchdown-interception ratio (45-6) is ridiculous and again, he outdueled Brees already once this year. Throwing for a lot of yards is a great feat but when it comes to effectiveness, nobody had more of an impact this season than the reigning Super Bowl MVP.

Green: Rodgers’ season was special but the fact that his backup, Matt Flynn, came into the season finale and tossed six touchdowns and put up nearly 500 aerial yards tells me a little bit more about the system and the talent that surrounds Rodgers. Flynn’s efforts (six touchdowns, 480 yards against the Detroit Lions) proves to me that Rodgers isn’t really the MVP of his team but is instead just the architect of that offensive system. Head coach Mike McCarthy obviously has a flawless system in place and Rodgers has run it well but when it comes to Quarterbacking-101, Brees has been writing the book on that subject for the past few years.

Riley: So you want to discredit a guy because his backup had a nice game against one of the worst defenses in the league? Crazy. So I guess we might as well sweep away everything San Francisco 49er Joe Montana did since Steve Young, his successor at quarterback there, became one of the most efficient quarterbacks in league history once he entered the fray? Brees has a lot of things working in his favor as well–great system; great skill guys; great talent–so don’t water down Rodgers’ accomplishments without identifying Brees’ riches. Show me a quarterback who can post nearly an 8-to-1 touchdown/interception ratio, the league’s best record and nearly tie for the lead in touchdown throws– all and still sit out the final game of the year and I’ll show you an MVP caliber season.

Green: Rodgers’ numbers are spectacular, no doubt. But I just think when you wipe away a passing record you deserve something. Whether it’s MVP or a Super Bowl crown, Brees has had a championship season. Flynn stepping in and throwing an NFL-high six touchdowns in a game taints Rodgers’ season. There’s no other way to look at it. Had Brees sat out the last game and seen his backup come in and post better numbers in a game than he did all season, like what happened to Rodgers, then I would have to question Brees as well. Fortunately, or unfortunately, that didn’t happen to Brees so we didn’t have to look at him under a different light. It did however, happen to Rodgers, which makes my selection of Brees for MVP an easy one.

Perry Green and Stephen D. Riley

AFRO Sports Desk