Sports

Favre? Rodgers Owns Green Bay

If you have followed the NFL in any way, shape, or form over the past three years you should know all about the Brett Favre saga. Every year we have to go through the painful process during which Favre decides whether or not he’s going to come back and play for another year, which always ends up with him coming back and playing for a team other than the Green Bay Packers — the team that he created a legacy with. Three years ago, when Favre was traded by Green Bay to the New York Jets, many speculated that Green Bay’s string of successful seasons was about to hit a snag.

In 2008, Aaron Rodgers’ first year as the starting quarterback in Green Bay, the critics seemed to be correct about Green Bay’s outlook, as the Packers went 6–10 on the season. The season before that, they made it to the NFC Divisional Round of the playoffs with Favre at the helm, losing to the future Super Bowl Champion New York Giants. Although the Packers had a losing season, Rodgers’ playing was definitely not the reason. Rodgers posted over 4,000 yards, 28 touchdowns, and a quarterback rating of 93.8 that year, easily giving him a season worthy of a top-10 quarterback in the league. However, there were still doubts as to whether or not Rodgers could lead a team to the playoffs and display the leadership skills that it takes to play the most important position in the game.

Moving on to 2009, many of those critics were silenced as Rodgers put up a top-two performance at the position, easily beating the numbers he had just posted a year before. Rodgers reached over 4,400 yards, 30 touchdowns, and only seven interceptions that whole year, leading Green Bay to an impressive 11–5 record and a wild card berth into the National Football Conference playoffs. Unfortunately for Rodgers, Favre joined Green Bay’s hated rival, the Minnesota Vikings, and was having an even better season, with a higher quarterback rating than Rodgers and a better touchdown-to-interception ratio. In addition to this, Favre beat the Packers twice that season with exhilarating performances, outplaying Rodgers and further adding to the belief that the Packers made a huge mistake by letting Favre go. The Packers still made the playoffs, where Rodgers had an excellent performance, although the Packers lost 51–45 to the Arizona Cardinals. What hurt the most was that the deciding play of the game came in overtime. Rodgers fumbled the ball, which was returned for a defensive touchdown to seal the Packers’ fate. Now the critics were quick to point out Rodgers’ next flaw: his inability to win a playoff game.

In the football world where every player is under a microscope, the critics seemed to be terribly unfair to Rodgers. He had no playoff game in which he did not put up four touchdowns, and somehow he has the inability to win a playoff game. How is Rodgers supposed to put up 52 points in a game against a playoff opponent? It already took a valiant effort to even bring the game to overtime, let alone win the game with a flawless performance. Yet, people still put Rodgers under Favre’s shadow, as Favre brought the Vikings one win away from the Super Bowl and didn’t look like he was going to stop playing.

So, we enter 2010, Rodgers’ third year as the starting quarterback, and his second year with Brett Favre leading the Vikings as his main competition. This time around, Rodgers has repeatedly shown why he is one of the best in the league. Also, with Favre posting one of his worst seasons ever, Rodgers has become the best quarterback in the division, and is making a case for being the best quarterback in the league. Just last week, he had one of the greatest playoff performances in NFL history, playing against the highly regarded Atlanta Falcons, who had the best record in the NFC at the time. In a surprising blowout, Rodgers completed almost 90 percent of his passes for over 300 yards, including three touchdowns en route to a 48–21 dismantling of the Falcons. Just the week before, Rodgers beat the Philadelphia Eagles to notch the first playoff victory of his career.

So, what do the critics have to say now? Favre only had one Super Bowl ring, and Rodgers is one game away from making the Super Bowl in just his third year starting. He is already regarded as a top-three quarterback in the league, and has full respect of his teammates in the locker room. Other than winning a Super Bowl, Rodgers’ résumé looks to be filled with impressive stats. The critics will always be looking for something, and just last week Rodgers was criticized for not signing an autograph for a former cancer patient. It was uncovered that Rodgers had already signed plenty of autographs for the patient, and had met with her on multiple occasions. It seems as if Rodgers always has an answer to the pessimists, and that’s just how he likes it.