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Wisconsin is the MVP Capital of Professional Sports

Wisconsin houses 5.8 million people, ranking it 20th in the United States. With such a median amount of people, it seems likely that Wisconsin professional sports would fit the theme of being average. That is just the opposite. What the state of Wisconsin lacks in geographical beauty, it makes up for in legendary athletes.

Aaron Rodgers winning his third MVP award adds to the legacy that is Wisconsin professional sports. Within the last three years, Wisconsin sports have taken home four MVP awards. This stat was kicked off with Christian Yelich in 2018, filled in with Giannis Antetokounmpo in 2019 and 2020 and finally topped off with Rodgers in 2020.

Wisconsin Professional Sports aaron rodgers mvp
Credit: Benny Sieu/USA TODAY Sports

Wisconsin Professional Sports

Green Bay Packers

The Green Bay Packers are one of the most well known franchises in professional sports history. Located in northeastern Wisconsin, Green Bay is by far the smallest town in American professional sports. The team that is owned by the fans has seen an incredible amount of talent play in the Green and Gold. Paul Hornung, Bart Starr and Jim Taylor were among the first wave of MVPs. Brett Favre followed in the late 90’s. Finally, finished by Rodgers in the 2010’s.

Milwaukee Bucks

The Milwaukee Bucks entered the NBA in 1968. In 1969, the Bucks won a coin flip for the number one pick. The player that was drafted was Lew Alcindor, now known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Kareem claimed the first three Bucks’ MVPs in 1971, 1972 and 1974. The Bucks finally claimed another MVP in 2019, thanks to Antetokounmpo. He then won another MVP in 2020.

Milwaukee Brewers

The Brewers were founded in 1969, when they came into the MLB as the Seattle Pilots. The Brewers moved to Milwaukee in 1970. The pinnacle of the franchise history came in 1982 when they lost to the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series. This team featured two players who won the MVP with the Brewers — Robin Yount and Rollie Fingers. The Brewers added to their MVP trophy case, with Ryan Braun in 2011 and Christian Yelich in 2018.

Milwaukee Braves

The Milwaukee Braves (now Atlanta Braves) were the home of legendary baseball player Hank Aaron. The 1957 season featured a championship for Milwaukee. Hank Aaron finished this season as the National League MVP.

Giannis Antetokounmpo
Credit: Sergio Estrada/USA TODAY Sports

Wisconsin Professional Sports MVP Seasons

In total, Milwaukee and Green Bay have produced 20 MVP-winning seasons. The 20 MVP seasons also came without a professional hockey team. These seasons have been played by All-Stars and Hall of Famers. Since the Packers won the Super Bowl in 2011, Wisconsin has dominated the MVP race.

PlayerTeamYear
Hank AaronMilwaukee Braves1957
Paul HornungGreen Bay Packers1961
Jim TaylorGreen Bay Packers1962
Bart StarrGreen Bay Packers1966
Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar)Milwaukee Bucks1971
Kareem Abdul-JabbarMilwaukee Bucks1972
Kareem Abdul-JabbarMilwaukee Bucks1974
Rollie FingersMilwaukee Brewers1981
Robin YountMilwaukee Brewers1982
Robin YountMilwaukee Brewers1989
Brett FavreGreen Bay Packers1995
Brett FavreGreen Bay Packers1996
Brett FavreGreen Bay Packers1997
Ryan BraunMilwaukee Brewers2011
Aaron RodgersGreen Bay Packers2011
Aaron RodgersGreen Bay Packers2014
Christian YelichMilwaukee Brewers2018
Giannis AntetokounmpoMilwaukee Bucks2019
Giannis AntetokounmpoMilwaukee Bucks2020
Aaron RodgersGreen Bay Packers2020
Credit: Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

Comparing MVPs Between Teams and Markets

Since 1957, the first time that all four major sports offered MVPs, Milwaukee/Green Bay sits at fifth in total MVP seasons. Only the Bay Area, Boston, Los Angeles and Chicago are ahead. In these five markets, the Wisconsin market is the only one with less than four professional sports teams. Using the five markets, we can average out how many MVP there are per team.

  • Wisconsin: 6.7
  • Boston: 6.5
  • Chicago: 4.6
  • Bay Area: 4.5
  • Los Angeles: 3.3

What puts Wisconsin at fifth in MVPs is the lack of teams that they have compared to other markets. Bigger market teams often have more money to spend on higher profile players. The Bay Area sits at first on the list. Having the San Francisco Giants has greatly impacted the Bay Area’s ranking. Barry Bonds accounts for five MVP seasons alone. This is similar in Chicago. Michael Jordan accounts for five MVP seasons in Chicago.

With less teams and less money, it goes to show that Wisconsin is the capital of MVPs in professional sports. Wisconsin’s MVP seasons are also spread out among 12 athletes. If we were to throw in college sports, we could add another handful of athletes to the Wisconsin MVP list. With Aaron Rodgers, Christian Yelich and Giannis Antetokounmpo in Wisconsin, it doesn’t seem like the MVP seasons are going to slow down anytime soon.


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