Aaron Rodgers — you know, the guy in that really annoying State Farm commercial — has been named 2011 male athlete of the year by the Associated Press.
OK, so Rodgers did a little more during the past 12 months than just shove that touchdown dance of his down our throats in those ubiquitous ads — like lead the Green Bay Packers to a Super Bowl championship in February and a 13-0 start to this season.
He was also the Super Bowl MVP and is a leading candidate for the league MVP this season.
Rogers received 112 votes out of the 212 ballots submitted from U.S. news organizations, finishing well ahead of runner-up Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers (50 votes). They were followed by world No. 1 tennis player Novak Djokovic, BCS champion and Carolina Panthers rookie sensation Cam Newton and NASCAR champion Tony Stewart.
It is the third time in the past five years that a quarterback has received the honor. New Orleans' Drew Brees won last year and New England's Tom Brady got the nod in 2007.
On Tuesday, U.S. soccer star Abby Wambach was named the AP's female athlete of the year.
For Rodgers, it's a great way to wrap up an amazing calendar year — and perhaps a way to help him forget the Packers' first loss of the season, which came just three days before the announcement of the award.
Now if only it could help us forget about that commercial as well.
— Chuck Schilken
Photo: Aaron Rodgers celebrates with his Green Bay Packers teammates after defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers, 31-25, in Super Bowl XLV. Credit: Kathy Willens / Associated Press