Peter King’s 2021 NFL season MVP and All-Pro picks


Each year, I publish my vote for NFL awards, the ballot I send to the Associated Press. The notable vote each year, usually, is for MVP, and it is this year too. I’ll start with why I chose Aaron Rodgers over Tom Brady, Joe Burrow and Cooper Kupp. That ended up being my 1-2-3-4.

Comparing Rodgers and Brady, this year, is a little like comparing apples and pomegranates. Brady did throw for 1,201 more yards than Rodgers, yes. Brady also threw 11 more passes per game. Brady played 1.5 more games than Rodgers; that includes the Covid game Rodgers didn’t play Nov. 7 at Kansas City, plus Rodgers sitting the second half in Week 18 at Detroit.

Green Bay was 13-3 in games Rodgers started, with one clunker—an opening day debacle at New Orleans. Tampa Bay was 13-4 with Brady starting, with two clunkers—a 9-0 loss to the Saints and a 29-19 loss at Washington. Games of 100-plus passer rating: Rodgers 11 of 16, Brady 10 of 17.

The factors that weighed on my decision:

• Watching the games. The late Paul Zimmerman used to say in Hall of Fame meetings when stat after stat about a candidate was being quoted by voters, “You watched him play. Was he dominant? Was he a Hall of Famer?” (With a few other words of color mixed in.) This season, when I watched Rodgers, I thought he was an absolute virtuoso. The position couldn’t be played better. Brady was tremendous too. And Brady’s comeback at the Meadowlands to beat the Jets in the midst of the Antonio Brown melodrama was an all-time rally by the all-time greatest. I just thought Rodgers played the position at the highest level I’ve seen. Dropping the 25-yard dime to Davante Adams between four Niners in Week 3, on the way to a winning last-second field goal . . . The 59-yard bomb he dropped out of the sky perfectly to Adams at Cincinnati in that OT win . . . Play-action darts, off-schedule throws, back-foot strikes, owning Chicago, completing 75 percent with a 14-0 TD-pick ratio after Dec. 1, with one dome game and temperature/wind speeds of 37/10, 43/12, 35/10 and 11/8 in those four non-dome games, all played with a broken toe. Sublime.

• Efficiency. Rodgers in 16 games: four interceptions, zero lost fumbles. Brady in 17 games: 12 interceptions, three lost fumbles. Brady was highly efficient with the offense relying on him so heavily. Rodgers—37 touchdowns, two turnovers in his last 15 games—was historically efficient.

• The Covid lie. This bothered me a lot. Aaron Rodgers chose not to get vaccinated and ended up missing an important game when he tested positive. Moreso, he misled the public by implying he was vaxxed. A quarterback and team leader should be there every week he’s not hurt badly. Brady was there for 17 full games, and Rodgers missed one—that’s on him.

• The case for Brady. It’s a strong one. Pro Football Focus analyst Steve Palazzolo made it eloquently. When Brady made the perfect throw to Cyril Grayson to beat the Jets in the final seconds, capping a 93-yard drive with no timeouts, it was a wow moment. As Palazzolo writes, four of the Brady picks this year were either drops by his receivers or a Hail Mary, all fluky. Palazzolo makes great points.

When you cast an MVP vote, the first reaction is: What’d you have against Brady? The answer: Nothing. Sometimes the body of work just makes one guy a hair better. And that’s why I picked Rodgers in almost a photo finish over Brady.

The rest of my 2021 all-pro team and awards:

WR: Cooper Kupp, Rams; Davante Adams, Packers; Deebo Samuel, 49ers
TE: Mark Andrews, Ravens
LT: Trent Williams, 49ers
LG: Joel Bitonio, Browns
C: Creed Humphrey, Chiefs
RG: Zack Martin, Cowboys
RT: Tristan Wirfs, Bucs
QB: Aaron Rodgers, Packers
RB: Jonathan Taylor, Colts

Edge: TJ Watt, Steelers; Maxx Crosby, Raiders
Interior: Aaron Donald, Rams; Jonathan Allen, WFT
LB: Micah Parsons, Cowboys; De’Vondre Campbell, Packers; Darius Leonard, Colts
CB: A.J. Terrell, Falcons; Jalen Ramsey, Rams
S: Kevin Byard, Titans; Adrian Phillips, Patriots

Kicker: Nick Folk, Patriots
Punter: Michael Dickson, Seahawks
Kick Returner: Braxton Berrios, Jets
Punt Returner: Devin Duvernay, Ravens
Special Teamer: Ashton Dulin, Colts
Long Snapper: Morgan Cox, Titans

Most Valuable Player: Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers
Coach: Mike Vrabel, Titans
Assistant Coach: Jeff Stoutland, OL, Eagles
Comeback Player: Joe Burrow, QB, Bengals
Defensive Player: T.J. Watt, Steelers
Offensive Player: Cooper Kupp, Rams
Defensive Rookie: Micah Parsons, Cowboys
Offensive Rookie: Creed Humphrey, Chiefs

My thoughts:

• Very tough to leave Justin Jefferson off the team, but I just had to have Deebo Samuel (6.2 yards per rush, 18.2 yards per catch, 14 touchdowns, vital for a needy playoff offense) on the club.

• I don’t recall the last time I felt this good about a pair of tackles—Trent Williams and Tristan Wirfs—as I did this year.

• Never thought I’d leave off Trevon Diggs at corner, but the combination of the excellent year by A.J. Terrell for Atlanta and Diggs giving up an NFL-high 1,016 yards in coverage (Terrell allowed 200 yards) clinched it for me.

• Justin Tucker and Daniel Carlson are both deserving at kicker, to be sure. But Folk was 29 of 29 on kicks inside 50 yards—Tucker was 29 of 31, Carlson 34 of 36 on such kicks—and I can’t forget the 34- and 41-yarders he made with the wind gusting up to 40 mph in Buffalo last month.

• Mike Vrabel over Matt LaFleur was not an easy call, but Vrabel survived with an NFL-high 91 players in uniform, and Derrick Henry missing nine games, and earned home-field in the AFC. That’s quite an accomplishment.

• Jeff Stoutland, the Eagles offensive line coach, helped the Philly offense take a hard pivot to a run-dominant game plan when the Eagles were struggling in midseason; the Eagles led the league in rushing over the last 10 weeks. It took Stoutland’s great performance to surpass the terrific job Dan Quinn did as the Dallas defensive coordinator.

• T.J. Watt (21.5 sacks in 15 games) and Maxx Crosby (NFL-best 101 pressures, per PFF) edged Myles Garrett, but I don’t feel good about leaving off Garrett and his 78 pressures.

• I realize a center for offensive rookie feels odd, especially after Ja’Marr Chase was second in football with an 18.0 yards-per-catch average. But I thought Chiefs center Creed Humphrey—the highest-rated center in football overall, and best run-blocker, per PFF—deserved it.

Read more in Peter King’s full Football Morning in America column

NFL quarterback rankings 2023: Chris Simms’ top 40 QB countdown ahead of upcoming NFL season


While the NFL is a league that is ever-changing, some things are set to stay the same in 2023 — like the revealing of Chris Simms’ top 40 QB countdown.

Last year’s list saw Josh Allen take his place atop the quarterback throne, with Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes and Los Angeles’ Justin Herbert not far behind at No. 2 and No. 3, respectively. It was, however, Mahomes who would ultimately reign over all NFL quarterbacks at the end of the season, as the 27-year-old collected both the NFL MVP honors and his second Lombardi Trophy.

This NFL offseason, however, has brought some intriguing adjustments that are likely to shake up Simms’ rankings.

While some signal-callers such as Jalen Hurts and Lamar Jackson found their prolonged home with massive contract signings, others will be venturing to a new franchise in search of a fresh start. Aaron Rodgers‘ trade to the New York Jets is unquestionably the most staggering shift, but other quarterbacks on the move such as Derek Carr and Jimmy Garoppolo cannot be forgotten.

RELATED: Mike Florio gives an inside look into the Lamar Jackson deal

And with three of the first four picks in the 2023 NFL Draft being spent on a quarterback, emerging talent will likely turn the tides for some franchises this upcoming season.

See below for Chris Simms’ top 40 QB countdown ahead of the upcoming season. Be sure to subscribe to Chris Simms Unbuttoned for more on the 2023 NFL season as well as an unfiltered look at the NFL featuring player access, unabashed opinion, X&O film breakdown and stories from a life in and around football.

RELATED: Peter King’s latest offseason NFL power rankings

Chris Simms’ 2023 Top 40 QB Countdown:

40. Desmond Ridder (ATL)

39. Sam Howell (WAS)

38. Bryce Young (CAR)

37. CJ Stroud (HOU)

36. Anthony Richardson (IND)

35. Mike White (MIA)

34. Gardner Minshew (IND)

33. Taylor Heinicke (ATL)

32. Jarrett Stidham (DEN)

31. Jordan Love (GB)

30. Davis Mills (HOU)

29. Tyler Huntley (BAL)

28. Andy Dalton (CAR)

27. Sam Darnold (SF)

26. Brock Purdy (SF)

25. Kenny Pickett (PIT)

24. Baker Mayfield (TB)

23. Justin Fields (CHI)

22. Jimmy Garoppolo (LV)

21. Tua Tagovailoa (MIA)

20. Mac Jones (NE)

19. Kyler Murray (AZ)

18. Derek Carr (NO)

17. Jared Goff (DET)

16. Ryan Tannehill (TEN)

15. Geno Smith (SEA)

14. Russell Wilson (DEN)

2023 NFL Schedule Release: Start time, how to watch, live stream, channel


With another exciting NFL Draft in the books, teams can now turn their gaze toward the road to Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas. The path to Super Bowl glory, however, is about to become abundantly more clear with the 2023 NFL season schedule release.

This year’s NFL season schedule release is nearly here, with the entirety of the 2023 NFL schedule being unveiled on Thursday, May 11 at 8 p.m. ET on both Peacock and NFL Network. See below for everything you need to know for one of the offseason’s most anticipated events.

RELATED: Click here for full analysis on Rounds 1-7 of the 2023 NFL Draft

When will the 2023 NFL season schedule be released?

While all 272 matchups have been known since the conclusion of the 2022 regular season, the order and dates for these games have remained a mystery. The secret is nearly out, however, with every NFL game on the brink of revelation.

The full 2023 NFL schedule will be released on Thursday, May 11 at 8:00 p.m. ET.

How can I watch the 2023 NFL season schedule release?

The 2023 NFL season schedule release will take place Thursday, May 11 on Peacock, NFL Network, and the NFL app at 8 p.m. ET.

While the entirety of the schedule will be unveiled at that time, select games have already been and will continue to be released prior to the official event. Ahead of the 2023 NFL season schedule release, the following games will be announced:

Who will play in the 2023 NFL Kickoff game?

The first game of the 2023-24 NFL season will see the reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs take the field in Arrowhead Stadium.

The opponent that will meet Patrick Mahomes and company in Kansas City, however, remains to be revealed.

Which NFL teams have international games in 2023?

While the majority of the matchups set to take place next season have yet to be announced, the league has already revealed which teams will head overseas for international showdowns.

Below is the full list of international NFL games for the 2023-24 season, with three in London, U.K., and two in Frankfurt, Germany.

Falcons vs. Jaguars: Week 4, Oct. 1 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Wembley Stadium in London, U.K.

Jaguars vs. Bills: Week 5, Oct. 8 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, U.K.

Ravens vs. Titans: Week 6, Oct. 15 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, U.K.

Dolphins vs. Chiefs: Week 9, Nov. 5 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Frankfurt Stadium in Frankfurt, Germany

Colts vs. Patriots: Week 10, Nov. 12 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Frankfurt Stadium in Frankfurt, Germany

RELATED: NFL’s 2023 international games full of “star power”

When is the Super Bowl and where will it be taking place?

Stars will be shining bright in Las Vegas, Nevada, for Super Bowl LVIII, set to take place on Feb. 11, 2024, at the home of the Raiders in Allegiant Stadium.

This will be the first Super Bowl to ever take place in Las Vegas, which hosted the 2023 Pro Bowl and 2022 NFL Draft.

Be sure to follow ProFootballTalk for the latest news, updates, and storylines about the upcoming NFL season!