Aaron Rodgers didn't have quite the gaudy numbers he did in his first MVP season. But perhaps it's what the Green Bay Packers quarterback didn't do in 2014 that secured his second NFL Most Valuable Player award.
In winning the MVP award Saturday night in Phoenix, Rodgers was rewarded for a season in which he almost never threw the ball to the other team.
Rodgers, 31, led the NFL in touchdown-to-interception ratio (38 TDs, 5 INTs) during the regular season. He also finished second in passer rating (112.2) and yards per attempt (8.43), and third in touchdown passes.
He was the only quarterback to finish in the top three in all four of those categories.
"I feel so fortunate to live out my dreams, year after year," Rodgers said after accepting the award.
His TD-to-INT ratio was the fifth-best single-season mark in NFL history and was second among quarterbacks with at least 30 touchdown passes, trailing only Tom Brady's 36-touchdown, four-interception 2010 season.
Rodgers played the final game and a half of the regular season plus the playoffs with a torn left calf muscle that significantly limited his mobility. When he returned to the game in the third quarter of the regular-season finale against the Detroit Lions, the Lambeau Field crowd saluted him with chants of "MVP, MVP."
"So much has to come together for this to happen. It was a tough year injury-wise. I had the unathletic hamstring and calf pulls, and just dealing with those," Rodgers said. "My training staff and my acupuncturist and my massage therapist deserve a lot of credit for getting me back on the field. It was a tough grind to get through it, but that's what we do as players."
Rodgers won his first MVP award following the 2011 season. He became just the ninth player in history to win multiple MVP awards, joining former teammate Brett Favre, who was a three-time MVP.
Rodgers received 31 of the 50 votes from a nationwide panel of media members who regularly cover the league.
Defensive player of the year J.J. Watt got 13 votes -- the most for a defensive player since the number of voters for the MVP award was reduced to 50 in 1999.
The rest of the votes went to Cowboys teammates Tony Romo (two) and DeMarco Murray (two), Patriots QB Brady (one) and Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner (one).
"J.J. had an incredible year," Rodgers said. "He scored three offensive touchdowns, two defensive touchdowns, had 20 sacks, and then Tony had an incredible year as well. It was a great year for the NFL, and I'm proud to receive the award."