Aaron Rodgers' MVP season motivation didn't come from Jordan Love draft pick

Written By Billy Heyen
(Getty Images)

It was the easy narrative after the Packers picked quarterback Jordan Love in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft: Aaron Rodgers would be motivated by such a selection. He'd bounce back from an underwhelming 2019 after Green Bay lit a fire under him by taking Love.

Rodgers' top receiver, Davante Adams, doesn't buy that. Adams appeared recently on Cris Collinsworth's podcast, and he was asked how much the drafting of Love had to do with Rodgers' likely MVP season.

"Honestly, I would have to say, one. If we had to go scale from one to 10, I would say one," Adams said. "I think that people disrespect A-Rod, and stuff like that isn't what drives Aaron."

MORE: How Packers star Davante Adams was overlooked in 2014 NFL Draft

In April, Green Bay traded up to select Love out of Utah State. It took the No. 30 and No. 136 overall picks to rise to No. 26 and draft Love. It was a move that immediately raised eyebrows, because it could be viewed through two different negative lenses from a Packers fan standpoint. One, Green Bay was signaling a sooner-than expected move on from Rodgers, or two, the Packers missed out on a chance to draft talent to support Rodgers now to instead pick a developmental quarterback prospect.

Rodgers himself has admitted he "wasn't thrilled" with the selection of Love. But he's also tried to embrace being a good teammate — Rodgers himself sat behind Brett Favre for three seasons before taking over in Green Bay.

“Part of your legacy,” Rodgers said in the preseason, “is how you treat your teammates. I want Jordan to have as great of memories as possible of me being in the QB room and having some great laughs and competing. I want kinship, not animosity. That’s what I’ve always tried to do with all my backups.”

At least for the 2020 season, there wasn't going to be any quarterback controversy. Rodgers came out and had maybe the best year of his career, one that's nearly certain to earn him NFL MVP honors the night before the Super Bowl. It'd be his third such award.

Rodgers led the league in completion percentage (70.7) and touchdown passes (48), both career-highs, while extending a streak of seasons with single-digit interceptions to 10 consecutive years. He also led the NFL both in the old-school quarterback rating and ESPN's new-school QBR.

"I think that (the Love pick) may have made him feel some type of way, but I don't think that's what contributed to his successful season," Adams said. "He's the type of guy who's internally motivated, and he's a beast, and I think like he said a couple times before, his down years are really career years for certain guys."

MORE: Why Aaron Rodgers having 'down years' is a myth

Love has yet to see the field during his NFL career. He's not even Rodgers' backup — that role still falls to Tim Boyle. And while the 37-year old Rodgers is certainly closer to the end of his career than the start of it, he looks like he could keep playing for years to come.

The Packers are one win from the Super Bowl, looking to add a second ring to Rodgers' future Hall of Fame right hand. Love has gotten to learn from an all-time great, just as Rodgers once did with Favre. Rodgers has allowed Adams to show he's one of the NFL's top receivers. Altogether, it's been one of the most dominant seasons in Green Bay history, at least up until this point.

Whatever it took to motivate Rodgers, it worked. Maybe the most superstitious of the bunch will suggest the Packers take another first-round quarterback in 2021.

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