It only took five years, but Aaron Rodgers has made it. Even without a win in the upcoming Super Bowl, Rodgers has cemented his place among the game’s elite, and it couldn’t be at a better time for Packers fans.
After seeing Rodgers plummet to No. 24 in the 2005 draft, many Packers fans, including myself, were excited at the prospect of finally having a replacement for aging legend Brett Favre. It took three years before we heard from Rodgers again when Favre announced his retirement from the NFL -Â the first time.
The media talked for a week about how Aaron Rodgers would perform, filling in for one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever step on a football field.
The answer? Just fine.
Rodgers has managed to do something very few players can, especially at the quarterback position: take over for a legend having never started an NFL game -Â and be successful at it.
A look a few notable players who tried to do this in the past and failed include Brian Gresie replacing John Elway, Any and every Miami Dolphins quarterback since Dan Marino, and Akili Smith who replaced Boomer Esiason just two seasons after his retirement.
Granted, his first season at the helm could have gone better, the Pack finished just 6-10 that year and failed to reach the playoffs. In 2009, Rodgers overcame an abysmal offensive line to lead the Packers to the playoffs and inserted himself in the discussion among the cream of the crop in the NFL.
However, despite the Wild Card game appearance, Rodgers failed to shake off the legend of Favre, losing twice to the fickle quarterback’s new team and rival, Minnesota Vikings, and watching them continue on to the NFC Championship Game.
But this season Rodgers has Packer fans saying ‘Favre who?’ And it’s not only because of his alliance with one of Green Bay’s biggest rivals.
Rodgers ranked in the top 10 in all of the major categories for quarterbacks, including No. 3 in passer rating. Those stats are further enhanced considering that each opponent the Packers faced every week focused on stopping Aaron Rodgers and the passing game of the Packers.
Rodgers is growing out of the shoes Brett Favre left and leaving bigger tracks with every game he plays.