In a landslide, Aaron Rodgers has been named the National Football League's Most Valuable Player for 2011.
The award was presented to him in during the NFL's new television award show, the "NFL Honors", broadcast from Indianapolis the night before the big game.
This show was the NFL's attempt to bring its regular-season awards into the Super Bowl marketing machine, with a touch of Hollywood glamour provided by host Alec Baldwin.
The league similarly tried to fold the Pro Bowl into the Super Bowl buildup two years ago by scheduling it in the Super Bowl city during the bye week between league championship games and the Super Bowl. The new location didn't last—the game was returned to its traditional Hawai'i location the following year—but the new date has remained.
Personally, I think this is an inspired move by the NFL. In previous years, the MVP was announced on Super Bowl Sunday, but by incorporating all major awards into a televised special the night before it enhances and elevates what was already a monster TV event.
While this individual award might be scant comfort for Packer fans still smarting from the playoff loss to the Giants, there is still merchandise to be bought.
Within minutes of the trophy presentation, I received this email from the Packers Pro Shop:
They sure don't waste much time. Packer backers hungry for a little postseason glory will have to satisfy themselves with these:
The new trophy design is interesting, but that's a subject for another time. Until then, enjoy your moment in the spotlight, Aaron, and hopefully next year when you travel to the New Orleans for the Super Bowl you'll have to bring your uniform along.